Some of the best monitors are primarily designed for gaming. They have very fast response times, frame syncing technologies, and display refresh rates. If you’re a hobbyist, they’ll suit you quite well. However, they are not quite up to professional standards. If you plan to buy a monitor that you will use for different paid work, you will most likely want to search for something more specialized for graphic design.
The most important feature for a photo editing monitor is perfect color accuracy. Resolution and size are also very important factors that will make your work that much easier.
We recognize that features aren’t the only buying criteria, however, so you’ll see options for different price categories on this list as well. After reading our recommendations and buying guide, you should be able to choose the option for your needs.
Best Photography Monitor
DELL UP3218K 32" 8K
Our top overall pick is the Dell UP321 with 8K resolution. Its color range and display detail make it the most worthwhile investment for professional photo or video editors.
Our Top Choices
How to Choose the Perfect Photography Monitor for Your Needs?
Here are the most important aspects you’ll want to take a look at when you’re looking for a high-quality photo editing monitor.
The resolution tells you the number of pixels that a monitor can display. You’ve probably come across numbers like 1024 x 768. This means that the number of pixels, or dots, displayed horizontally across the screen is 1024, and vertically 768.
You will get a better picture if you have a high resolution monitor because it can display more information. For example, a MacBook Pro 15” has a resolution of 2880 x 1800. That is almost 5 million pixels more than an average HDTV on a 15-inch screen!
There are three different types of panels currently used on LCD monitors. Those are IPS (in-plane switching), VA (vertical alignment), and TN (twisted nematic). AHVA (advanced hyper-viewing angle) and PLS (plane to line switching) are also considered as good as IPS types.
IPS, AHVA, and PLS are considered to be the best types because they offer the most accurate and consistent performance regarding color. They also have reasonable contrast, respectable responsiveness, and excellent viewing angles.
TN is the most prevalent type at the moment. It offers high responsiveness and decent image performance at an affordable price.
The VA type is usually considered as the slowest type currently, but it’s usually better than TN in color performance and has excellent contrast.
It’s totally up to you what type you want to use. However, it’s good to know and understand the characteristics of these types when you’re buying.
If you want to buy a monitor so that you can view websites, emails, use some basic applications, and talk on Skype with people, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on one that’s made for professional photographers.
On the other side, if you are constantly working with images of high resolution and you’re using Adobe Suite’s tools and switching between programs, you definitely want to find an option with the best picture so that you can achieve a higher performance.
The size is one of the biggest factors that can affect the price. If you get an option a bit smaller in size, you will certainly end up paying less. A larger screen is more convenient, though, so you’ll need to balance screen size and cost.
Color accuracy, also known as the color gamut, is the range of colors that your monitor can display. Usually, monitors have the sRGB color gamut included. The problem with this is that this color gamut can’t cover all of the colors that Adobe RGB color gamut has.
This is not very important for an average user, but if you’re into photography, you will have problems seeing the colors you captured with your camera on your sRGB monitor. You will only be able to see an estimate of the colors, and you won’t get as clear of a picture.
So, if you want to be a professional, you should definitely consider buying one with a wider gamut display. However, do this only if you are very dedicated and professionally oriented and you know how to manage colors in different software programs.
If you want an option that can offer you the full range, make sure you get an NEC, as they are usually designed for displaying photographs.
Obviously, the bigger the better. Large screens are ideal for photographers, digital illustrators, and graphic designers. Usually, monitors can be anywhere between 15 and 30 inches in size. The size is measured diagonally.
If you want to use it for movies and gaming as well, then you should look for something fairly large. You should probably be able to find a 27-inch model at a good price if you look hard enough. Keep in mind the size of your workspace, though, and ensure that you have the room on your desk for such a large monitor before you make any purchase.
Our Top Photography Monitor Review by Purpose
Let's take a look at the different categories of monitors to which one is the best for your needs.
Best for Photo Editing
This LG 32UD99-W has an awesome resolution of 3840 x 2160. As mentioned above, a high resolution results in a more detailed image, and this option gives you exactly that. It features IPS technology, which allows you to have a better viewing angle than most of the other, standard monitors.
It has a fairly good response time of only 5ms. There are definitely options with faster response times, but you don’t have to worry about it for photo editing purposes. Also, it supports 4K technology, which will further increase the quality of the picture you see.
It has a refresh rate of 60Hz. As with the response time, there are others with higher numbers in this regard, but you don’t need those if you’re primarily using it for photo editing.
It comes with a lot of features. Specifically designed as a gaming monitor, it includes the AMD FreeSync technology. If you’re looking for a smoother experience, this technology will tune the refresh rate of your monitor with that of the frame rate of your graphics card. That’s important if you’re making moving picture presentations or editing video media.
You can get in 32 inches for a little over $825.
Best IPS Option
Even if you’re able to spend a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. You are a photographer and you will be using a monitor for image editing purposes. However, the more advanced it is, the better.
This BenQ BL2711U has a decent size of 27 inches. This is more than enough for pleasure and business both. It also has a great resolution of 3840 x 2160. This resolution will provide you with enough detail so that you can edit your images without any trouble.
You can also do some video editing with it. Considering its size, you will be able to fit more timelines on the editing board while still having ample room to see the images.
It has a response time of 4ms. As already mentioned above, this is not that important as you will be dealing mostly with static content in photo editing. However, it will come in handy when you’re playing games or watching videos.
The IPS panel’s viewing angle is 178˚, which is fairly good. It also supports the full sRGB color gamut. The refresh rate is 60Hz, and the panel itself is able to support up to almost 1.1 billion colors.
It’s available for less than $480.
Best 4K Option
The BenQ SW271 features 4K technology. On top of that, it also supports the full sRGB color gamut. Also, it supports 99% of the Adobe RGB color gamut.
If you want to share your pictures on the internet, your pictures will look the same on any social media, forum, or gallery as it looks on your computer.
This is due to the fact that the sRGB color gamut is also present on the internet. Most of the time, if you’re editing in Adobe RGB and uploading in sRGB, the colors won’t look quite right.
Regarding the resolution, it boost with 3840 x 2160. It also includes an IPS panel, which means that you will have a wider display angle than you would have with a TN panel.
The refresh rate is 60Hz, the aspect ratio 16:9, and the contrast ratio 1000:1.
It also includes a USB-C port, which will allow you to use an external calibration tool for accurate color reproduction and sustained true color output. However, you won’t be able to use this port to connect your laptop to it.
It comes in at a little less than $1100.
Best 27 Inch Option
Dell UltraSharp U2717D Infinity Edge 27"
The Dell InfinityEdge has a resolution of 2560 x 1440. As already mentioned, this is less than the 4K resolution that everybody loves, but it is still pretty useful and better than other full HD displays.
The IPS technology is incorporated, as is the anti-glare technology for better contrast and better viewing angle even if you’re using it in a bright room.
It’s able to support up to 16.7 million colors with a contrast ratio of 1000:1.
With the refresh rate of 60Hz, it’s obvious that this is not a gaming monitor, and you shouldn’t buy it if you’re searching for one to double as such.
The disadvantage of this option is that it only has a USB-A port and no USB-C ports. Another strange thing is that it doesn’t have a headphone jack, but you can plug a microphone into the 3.5mm port.
It's price is around $395.
Best 24 Inch Option
Dell UltraSharp U2415 24"
This Ultrasharp Dell has very thin edges and an IPS panel. It’s definitely a good option if you want to use more screens at once. It renders fairly good color reproduction. Its main advantage, however, are its very thin edges and its design.
This is the smallest monitor we’ve covered yet. It is 24 inches in size and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The aspect ratio is 16:9.
It covers the full range of the sRGB color gamut, which is impressive for such a price (about $250). The contrast ratio is 1000:1. It has a display port and two HDMI ports.
Considering its size, design, and very thin edges, this is a nice choice if you want to use multiple screens for your work.
Best Photo Editing Monitor Brands
Now, let’s take a look at the best models in the five most popular brands.
Dell UP3218K 32" 8K Display
This Dell UP321 is definitely one of, if not the best, overall photo editing monitors you will be able to find. It’s an insanely powerful machine that supports 8K resolution.
If you ever had problems with viewing your images in full resolution and full view, this screen will definitely make your life a lot easier. Considering that this is an 8K tool, it’s basically four full HD monitors put into one square of 2 by 2.
It is also one of the greatest out there for processing, mixing, and editing videos. This is because you will be able to enjoy viewing a much wider timeline. That’s something that you won’t experience with low resolution and smaller options.
It has a very high pixel density of 280 and 33.2 million pixel resolution, which is the most you’ll see on any monitor. Also, it covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut and 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut as well. That means that this is definitely the most color-accurate, professional option you can buy. It is able to support up to almost 1.1 billion colors, has a contrast ratio of 1300:1, and a brightness of 400 cd/m2.
The Dell UP321 incorporates an IPS panel, which will allow you to enjoy a wider viewing angle when compared to other panels. To be more specific, it has 178˚. It also has some great technologies included, like flicker-free and ComfortView to eliminate the harmful blue light.
There is also a dual DisplayPort feature included. The other standard inputs are also there. The only thing that it misses is a USB-C port, unfortunately.
This investment will run you around $4,150. This may seem a bit expensive, but if you’re serious with your work, it will pay off in more stunning images.
BenQ 32” PV3200PT
This BenQ PV3200PT model has an awesome resolution of 3840 x 2160 and is a 32” monitor. The contrast ratio is 1000:1 and the brightness is 350 cd/m2.
As it’s the case with the other options that incorporate the IPS panel, you will have an advantage of a better viewing angle of 178˚. The monitor’s response time is 5ms, the refresh rate is 60Hz, and it supports up to almost 1.1 billion colors.
It is able to support 100% of the sRGB color gamut as well as 100% Rec. 709 color gamut. It also provides a much larger color palette compared to other options considering that it comes with a 14-Bit LUT.
A very interesting hardware calibration tool was incorporated into it. It is a system that will allow you to keep the settings in your computer’s graphics card and recalibrate the image processing chip inside of it. This means that your monitor will never be affected by your graphic card’s settings and you will always get consistent results.
The Palette Master Element software program is yet another feature that you will get with this monitor. All you are going to need to do is recalibrate it once in a while so that you can keep it performing perfectly for years.
You will also get an OSD controller included. This remote will allow you to switch between settings of your display when and as needed.
This choice will run you a little less than $1,300.
This ViewSonic VP3268 model has a 32” frameless screen. Its overall size is not intimidating thanks to the ultra-thin bezel. You will also get a very sharp image quality thanks to the 4K resolution.
There are dual HDMI, mDP, and DP inputs on the back, as well as the standard USB 3.0 port. Some of the other similarities with others on this list are the response time of 5ms, 178˚ viewing angle, and 350 cd/m2 brightness rating.
The contrast ratio of the monitor is 1300:1 and there is also an HDR mode function. A small disadvantage of this option is that it doesn’t support 100% of the full Adobe RGB color gamut. According to ViewSonic, it’s able to cover around 77% of the Adobe’s RGB mode.
If you’re using the sRGB preset, the image quality may look a little dull. This, unfortunately, locks out brightness adjustment. The brightness uniformity could be a bit better, the color accuracy is decent, and the lack of the Adobe RGB color gamut could be a bit frustrating. The image quality, however, is very satisfying.
Considering everything said about it, the price is a good deal. It will cost you a little less than $820, which is not much for such a powerful tool that will serve you well despite its shortcomings.
Samsung S32D850T 32"
The Samsung S32D850T has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and is 32” in size. While not a 4K resolution tool, it is much better than full HD.
It has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and it supports the entire range of the sRGB color gamut. Also, you will have a large viewing angle of 178˚, such as with most of the other models on this list. It’s good to have this feature even though you probably won’t be looking at the screen from the side that much.
One of the nicer benefits you will have if you go for it is the picture in picture mode. It can be very useful for some photo editing tasks. You can use this feature when you’re using a photo editing application and watching a tutorial at the same time, or comparing two images.
The Eco light technology is another feature that is going to be very practical for you. This technology automatically adjusts the display of your monitor when the brightness in your room changes. That can be very handy, depending on the lighting conditions in your workspace.
It has Type-A and B ports along with other standard ports. The only thing that it is missing is the USB-C port.
This is an inexpensive option that will cost you a little less than $300.
ASUS Designo MZ27AQ 27"
This ASUS Designo is another model that features 4K technology, comes with the IPS panel, and is 27” in size. All of this combined with a 3840 x 2160 resolution gives you a very good screen for editing photos.
As already mentioned, IPS panels are much better than TN panels as they provide better contrast and wider viewing angles. The bezel is only around 0.1cm in thickness, which gives this model a uniquely designed frame and an awesome appearance.
The ASUS Eye Care technology is incorporated, which will protect your eyes from the blue light. This is definitely an important feature considering that you will probably be editing batches of videos and photos for hours after a shoot.
There are also 34” and 29” versions of this model available, but the 27” version has the highest pixel density. The contrast ratio is 1300:1.
It can display almost 1.1 billion colors and supports the whole sRGB color gamut. This will give you better consistency and color representation across all of your displays, printers, and the web in general. It has a response rate of 5ms.
It has almost all of the connection options, including the most important USB-C port.
It’s also not a very expensive model, making it a great option if you’re on a budget but want to get into the photo editing business. It will cost you a little less than $300.
Photography Monitor Reviews by Price/Budget
Some of you may be on a budget and the more expensive models are something you simply can’t afford at this point. But don’t worry! As we’ve already seen, there’s a wide range of options available, so you’re sure to find something that will give you the high-quality results you need.
ViewSonic VX2478 24"
The Ultrasharp Dell we looked at as the best 24” model is the best option for under $300. So are the Samsung S32D850T and the ASUS Designo. You could, however, drop your price a little more by considering the ViewSonic VX2478. This is a 24” monitor with a decent resolution of 2560 x 1440, which basically 2K resolution.
It has the IPS panel included, allowing you a wide viewing angle. It’s able to support up to almost 17 million colors and the screen has a contrast ratio of 1000:1. On top of that, it’s able to support 100% of the sRGB colors.
The best part: it will cost you around $240.
HP Pavillion 32" QHD
The BenQ BL2711U that we looked at as the best IPS model falls in this price range, as does the Dell InfinityEdge.
The HP Pavillion is another less expensive option at around $375. Its size is 32” with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. The problem with this model is that it doesn’t incorporate 4K resolution, which is unfortunate considering the huge size of it. The 4K resolution would give it a more detailed and sharper picture.
It is, however, an IPS model with 17 million colors. The frequencies of 100kHz and 65kHz are more than enough.
Best Photo Editing Monitor for the Money
There is no doubt in our minds that the option you are looking for if you are serious about editing photos is the Dell UP321 with 8K resolution.
This resolution will allow you to see pictures in very high definition, and you won’t have problems with colors as is the case with some of the other models.
This is only one on our list that accurately renders all color gamuts.
It is also one of the best for editing videos, too, so you can expand your working branch.
A high pixel density of 280 and 33.2 million pixel resolution is really something that you are looking for, and this model can provide you with that. The contrast ratio of 1300:1 and 1.1 billion colors only further increase its quality.
It does cost around $4,150, but if you’re looking for something serious, this will serve well for a long time. You can also set up a payment plan so that you can start making it work for you sooner rather than later.