6 Professional Monitors for Professional Photographers.

You spend hours in front of your computer — editing, retouching, archiving— so it’s important that you work on a high-quality monitor. It is frustrating for you to receive prints that are too dark, with undesirable color casts. The solution is a great monitor that’s properly calibrated.

What should a good monitor have?

High accuracy, manual options, and an IPS panel. That’s a good start. Oh, and a large monitor helps.  It’s nice to see the detail. A good monitor is just as important as that sharp lens on your fancy DSLR.

We should look for a monitor with an IPS panel, which stands for In-Plane Switching. IPS monitors provide high accuracy, sharp detail, wider color gamut. They are not like standard monitors with small viewing angles and low-quality color reproduction.

Look at your flat panel. Now look at it from each angle. If the color changes, you’ve got a standard monitor not suitable for accurate results. An IPS monitor displays accurate color from all viewing angles. It would be a shame to shoot with high-end-cameras and edit on a standard monitor intended for general viewing. Imagine wearing the wrong pair of glasses and then putting on the right pair. Ah, what a difference! Oh yeah, it also helps to have a larger monitor when working with higher detail images.

Great Monitors

  • Eizo ColorEdge CG275W 27: IPS Panel with 1.7 billion colors. Self calibrating with a built in sensor.  2560 x 1440 resolution. 850:1 Contrast. 270cd/m² Brightness. 178°/178° Viewing Angle.
  • Eizo ColorEdge CG243W 24.1: IPS Panel with 1.7 billion colors. 1920 x 1200 resolution. 850:1 Contrast. 178°/178° viewing angle. Monitor hood is included.
  • LaCie 324i: 1 billion colors, 98% Adobe RGB color gamut, 178 Viewing Angle.
  • Dell UltraSharp U2711 IPS-Panel Black 27: IPS panel with 1.7 billion colors. 2560 x 1440 resolution. 178°(H) / 178°(V) viewing angle with a 80,000:1 (1000:1) contrast ratio.
  • Dell UltraSharp IPS-panel U2410 Black 24: IPS Panel with 1.7 billion colors. 1920 x 1200 resolution. 178°(H) / 178°(V) viewing angle with a contrast ratio of 1000:1. This monitor is fairly affordable.
  • Dell Ultra Sharp U2412M 24inch: IPS panel with a crystal-clear 1920×1200 resolution. Two-million:1 high dynamic contrast ratio. Color consistency across a broad viewing angle. Wide color gamut at 82%. I’ve edited pictures and made  prints with the help of this monitor with favorable results. It is also the most affordable.

Questions & Concerns

Why do many photographers use two monitors?

Because they are super kool, and they like to work on two different projects at one time. Yes, I am joking. I cannot speak for everybody, but I know why I need two monitors. When I worked at Playboy, everybody on my team used dual monitors. One monitor is calibrated and used for serious photo manipulation and color, while the other is used for viewing, basically for the web.

I’d calibrate both monitors with  i1Display Pro. An Apple Cinema Display is a monitor I used to see what my work looked like on the web. This monitor would get a basic calibration run-through, while I’d adjust individual color channels on a Dell monitor, I forgot the model name, which I used for accurate color.

When you calibrate your monitor to our printers at D&M Imaging, your display will be much darker than what you’re generally used to seeing. Therefore, I suggest that you use two monitors with one of them being dedicated to printing only. Monitors that are not calibrated tend to be much brighter. Because of this, some  people will darken their already under-exposed images, as the uncalibrated, or generic, monitor will trick them into thinking an image is too bright. When printed, this results in dark images. I’ll stop here, because this is turning into a topic on monitor calibration which is the most important step in color management.  You can read about it here.

Where can we buy professional monitors?

I’ve bought mine online from such places as B&H Photo (very popular with photographers), NewEgg,  Amazon

What about my HDTV screen?

What about it?  Dont’ even think about it! However, I’d love to see someone calibrating their HDTV screen with a little i1Display Pro. To the best of  my knowledge, it is not wise to use a TV screen to edit images. This idea is as bad as relying on a camera’s LCD for proper exposure, rather than paying attention to a histogram and using the LCD to check for proper composition.

I’m on a budget

If you’re on a budget, then I strongly suggest that you try out Dell Ultra Sharp U2412M 24inch, which I mentioned above. I like to try different monitors, and currently I am trying Dell’s U2412M. I’ve calibrated it and today I made test prints with favorable results. Since the price keeps dropping and going back to around $400, I will not mention what it costs now. Go online and check it out.

I have a great monitor. Now what? 

Calibrate, calibrate, calibrate. The most important step in color management is monitor calibration. You can learn about it here. 

What monitor are you using?

If you’ve been using a monitor that you love, please share with us. Simply leave us a comment below.

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