The best photo editing monitors are essential purchases for anyone looking to take their photography to the next level. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, amateur, or professional photographer, getting the best photo editing monitor that your budget can run up can really help.
The best monitors for photo editing are professionally calibrated monitors that specialize in displaying colors as accurately as possible and are purpose-built for photo, video, and graphics work.
While many modern monitors do a good job of displaying images and reproducing colors, they just can’t compete with the best photo editing monitor. In addition to a wider color gamut, such a monitor delivers great color reproduction, bright, vivid screens and plenty of room for multitasking. Typically, newer ‘IPS’ LCD panels have better color reproduction than their older ‘TN’ counterparts – not to mention better viewing angles.
Some of the best photo editing monitors are pricey, and it can be hard to find the best price if you’re on a budget. For your convenience, we’ve listed a variety of choices here, from monitors that may set you back a lot to the more affordable options.
The best photo editing monitor at a glance
- BenQ SW321C PhotoVue
- Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K
- Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q
- BenQ PD3200U
- MSI Prestige PS341WU
- BenQ EX3501R
- BenQ GW2270H
- Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
Pro-level displays are no longer the premium-priced, inaccessible purchase they once were. At least as far as the BenQ SW321C PhotoVue is concerned. This 32-inch 4K photo monitor is a step or two ahead in performance and usability, with an incredibly wide color gamut of 99% of the Adobe RGB color space and 95% of DCI-P3. If you are into cinematography or photography, that’s exactly what you need. And that’s on top of all the other features this monitor offers. This is one of the best photo editing monitors you will find, and the best part is that you will get it cheaper than any other.
Read the full review: BenQ SW321C PhotoVue
The 31-inch ColorEdge CG318-4K is our current pick for the best photo editing monitor. This is mainly due to the color accuracy, which is essential for professional photographers editing their photos. It offers full sRGB coverage, 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum and 98% DCI-P3. It fully supports 10-bit color, taken from a 16-bit lookup table.
The CG318-4K has a resolution of 4096 x 2160, compared to the 3840 x 2160 resolution used in other 4K computer displays.
All these features come together to produce a stunning image that really makes your photos stand out. There is also a built-in calibration tool to keep the colors consistently as accurate as possible.
Dell’s top-of-the-line 31.5-inch 4K display offers many professional features for superior color accuracy. It is a pricey monitor, but then this is a large 4K screen, so you should expect to pay a little more. It comes with support for the DCI-P3 color spectrum. It has a specification that almost rivals Eizo’s monster CG318-4K as it achieves 99% Adobe RGB coverage and 87% DCI-P3, which delivers great image quality.
BenQ has added the PD3200U, which has a huge 32-inch Ultra HD display, to its Designer Monitor range. The PD3200U is best suited for creators. For example, 3D designers will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD / CAM mode, while photographers and photo editors will enjoy the factory-calibrated color accuracy and Rec. 709 compliance.
If you’re looking for a monitor that’s above the 4K standard, then you’ve got the MSI Prestige PS341WU. Displaying a flawless 4K monitor is by no means easy, but this monitor does that with the massive 5K2K native resolution (and 21: 9 ultra-wide aspect ratio) of its luscious 34-inch IPS display. It’s not cheap, but it does have a great feature set to make up for that, including a Nano IPS panel with DCI-P3 color gamut, HDR support, and extensive connectivity. All of that wrapped up in a gorgeous white aesthetic, and you’ve got one of the best photo editing monitors in 2020.
Read the full review: MSI Prestige PS341WU
If you want a lot of space to edit multiple photos at once, then you want an ultrawide monitor and the BenQ EX3501R is the best ultrawide monitor for photo editing in our opinion. It comes with a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, giving you a massive desktop to work on, and the 2,500: 1 contrast leads to clear and vivid images as well as for HDR (High Dynamic Range). Crucially, it also has 100% sRGB support, making this a great choice for photographers looking for the best photo editing monitor, thanks to its excellent color reproduction.
BenQ offers the most affordable full HD monitor with an HDMI connector and it doesn’t look that bad. The company embraced the Bauhaus “less is more” philosophy to provide a “celebration of minimalist” lifestyle. Those are their words, not ours. However, it has a number of standout features; a mode that reduces flicker (PWM technology) and a low blue light mode that can help with headaches and sleep disorders. With ‘only’ 1080p resolution, this isn’t quite as fancy as other monitors in this list, but you can edit your photos without spending a lot on a new screen.
The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is an absolutely great photo editing monitor. It features a massive 32-inch screen and 8K resolution, making it perfect for photographers and video editors, and the amount of screen space that high-resolution provides makes it an excellent productivity tool. The screen has been professionally calibrated which makes it look great right out of the box, but be warned, this is a very expensive monitor. Depending on your needs, this will either be a brilliant purchase or expensive folly.
10 things to look for on a monitor for photo editing
- Screen size is measured diagonally in inches, while resolution measures the number of pixels that make up the screen. But a bigger monitor doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger resolution; the 24 inch Eizo has a higher resolution than, for example, the 27 inch NEC.
- A more useful measure of a screen’s ‘sharpness’ is pixel density, measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The NEC is 82ppi, the Eizo 94ppi, while Samsung and Dell weigh 109ppi.
- Monitors are increasingly offering more than just a simple display for your computer, with built-in speakers, USB hubs, card readers and multiple inputs, such as HDMI, for use with a variety of devices.
- While true-to-life color reproduction is very important when editing images, you may have to compromise to get all the features you want within your budget.
- LED backlighting allows for thinner screens, while IPS (or Samsung’s PLS) allows for wider viewing angles.
- We always recommend using a digital interface such as DVI or HDMI, but it depends on what your computer has. Do you want to connect multiple devices? Make sure your new monitor has the same input as your computer!
- Some of these displays allow you to rotate the monitor back and forth and rotate the screen 90 degrees in portrait mode.
- Most monitors are now capable of Full HD resolution (1920×1080), but more and more monitors are capable of higher resolutions – many here are capable of 2560×1440, for example.
- With so many devices connected to our computers these days, a USB hub is really something that will make you wonder how you lived without it.
- So many monitors – including a few – are just plain ugly. Also check out what people are saying about button operation and the menu system. Make sure it is usable.