Best Monitors for Photo Editing - Buying Guide

Varvara May 05 2022

Which is the best monitor for photographers? If you take many photos, you value the best monitor for photo editing. Anyone involved in image processing attaches great importance to color accuracy in image processing, so we will briefly explain what is essential when you are buying a new monitor.

Recommendations: Best monitor for photo editing

There are two ways to make a decision when buying: you can determine what price you're willing to pay, or you can find the best monitor for your eyes and images. Here’s what matters when you are buying the best monitor for photo editing:

Monitor for photo editing should be anti-glare

Of course, the best monitor for image processing is also a matter of taste. One photographer likes the reflective Apple iMac screen, the other a matte EIZO screen or a BenQ monitor. Monitor and notebook manufacturers often produce reflective monitors because they look better first.

Caution: Colors and sharpness look better on the reflective monitor at first glance.

Unfortunately, this trend toward reflective displays for image processing proves to be a big mistake because you often see nothing for all the reflections. There is light in every office, and light causes annoying reflections on a reflective screen. Even wearing a light-colored shirt is enough. 

Unfortunately, these reflections will tire you out very quickly and, in the worst case, unconsciously twist your whole body in front of the screen to see better. Then you need a massage or bad posture in the worst case.

In fact, the best monitor for photographers should be anti-reflective because who wants to sit in front of a bright screen in black clothes in the dark?

Even worse is working on the reflective display of a notebook: In the garden/conservatory or on the train/plane, you cannot control the light, and you go crazy with the reflections. You start tilting your display, rotating the entire notebook, and bending in front of the device until you are completely tense.

If you edit many photos, you usually spend a long time editing the image with Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Elements, Capture One Pro, Luminar, or other image processing software. As a photographer, the health of your eyes should already be worth an anti-glare screen. Anyone who has ever worked on a perfect computer monitor would no longer want to do without the anti-reflective coating, the light protection hood, and the color fidelity.

  • For photographers, an anti-reflective monitor is essential for health.
  • If you are working on a reflective notebook display, connect an external matte monitor.
  • An anti-reflective computer monitor is easy on the eyes and your health.

Best monitors for photo editing at a glance

The best monitor for photo editing should be:

  • Anti-reflective or low-reflection
  • With light protection hood
  • Excellent contrast
  • Wide color gamut sRGB / Adobe RGB
  • Best illumination
  • Energy-saving even in energy-saving mode
  • Multiple connection options
  • Calibrated for LUT
  • 8 bits per channel LUT (EIZO has LUTs with 16 bits per channel)

A light protection hood against glare from above and sidelight is an excellent idea if you are photo editing in a room with windows and lights. When the light comes from the monitor's side, the side covers are a relief for your eyes and your pictures. With these prerequisites, working in the digital darkroom becomes much less tiring. This is important for a healthy workplace.

Which is the best monitor for photo editing? Size and resolution

What size should the best monitor be for photo editing? External screens with a diagonal of less than 50 cm (24 inches) are out of the question. There are three essential sizes for external monitors:

  • 50cm diagonal (24-inch monitor)
  • 68 cm diagonal (27-inch monitor)
  • 80 cm diagonal (32-inch monitor)

If you're spending good money on your camera and lenses, then in the digital age, you don't want to let image processing hardware take a backseat. Adjusting the brightness and color on a calibrated screen is extremely important, especially when working with RAW photos. With an amount between $500 and $2,500, you can make ends meet. You even get a screen from EIZO that calibrates itself.

Regardless of the size of the screen, we are talking about three basic screen resolutions:

  • 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD, 16:9)
  • 2560 x 1440 px (WQHD, 16:9) (2K)
  • from 3840 x 2160 Px (UHD / 4K, 16:9)

Tip: You can also connect a large screen to a notebook and place the notebook next to the screen to use both surfaces (external keyboard). Photographers can also use a measuring device to calibrate the notebook display with this solution.

2K monitor, 4K monitor, 5K, or even 6K monitor for photo editing?

Whether you need a 2K or 4K monitor is a matter of personal opinion. Although you can use a lot more of the palettes in Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Luminar, or Capture One on the monitor at full 4K resolution without scrolling, the resolution and, therefore, the text can appear very small, with all the menus, fonts, and controls. 

After a certain age, it becomes difficult to see – even with glasses. Then you literally crawl into the screen and sit way too close. The disadvantage of this is that you have to move your head to see in the corners.

We can only recommend 4K resolutions from 32 inches. Even on a large 32-inch monitor, the 4K UHD resolution (3840 × 2160 pixels) for the menus of the programs is minimal. 

If you use 4K on a 27-inch or 24-inch device, the font will be much too small, and the Internet photo with a 1200px long edge is so small that it is no longer worth it.

On the other hand, 4K monitors offer twice the number of pixels compared to 2K devices. This means a higher sharpness at a short distance, which is difficult to see. The sharpness is best seen in writing, less so in photo editing.

Our tip: Stick to perfect 2K resolutions (2560 × 1440 pixels) if you want to buy a 24-inch or 27-inch monitor at a reasonable price. If money is not an issue, consider a very good 4K display from 32 inches, but check the menu size, including the font and palette size of the programs, so that it is comfortable for your daily use.