Best Monitor for Photography

One of the most frequently asked questions from our readers and friends is “What is the best monitor for Photography?”. It seems like the market is over-saturated with all kinds of choices, whether you visit a local store or browse through an online catalog. There are all kinds of monitors for different budgets and some models might leave you wondering why they are so expensive compared to others. Since there is no simple answer to this question, I decided to write a quick article on choosing the best monitor for professional photography needs.

Currently, there are three main types of monitors that are being offered by manufacturers:

  1. CRT – the oldest type of monitor that has been almost completely phased out and replaced by newer LCD/LED technologies.
  2. LCD – currently the most popular and the most widespread monitor type.
  3. LED – future technology that will replace LCD.
Dell U2410

I won’t talk much about the above, since you can find a lot of useful information on the Internet that explains the differences. Basically, CRT monitors are almost dead and we are currently in between LCD and LED technologies. LED (OLED) is a new technology and although it will eventually replace the current LCD technology, it is still in its early stages of development and there are not many good products out there for professional photography needs.

Therefore, I will concentrate on LCD monitors and talk about different technologies used in LCD panels, after which I will provide some suggestions on what you should consider for potential investment.

Most people do not know the fact that there are at least four different types of LCD technologies that differ substantially in the way they reproduce colors and tones. Accurate color reproduction is extremely important for every photographer and one needs to have a thorough understanding of these technologies before investing in a monitor, especially if it will be used for professional work.

1) Four LCD Monitor Technologies

When it comes to monitors, they are primarily manufactured in four distinct panel types:

  1. TN (Twisted Nematic) – the most popular and the cheapest type used today by almost all manufacturers. These monitors are great for watching movies and playing games, because they have fast refresh rates. But they have very limited viewing angles and in most cases, cannot accurately reproduce colors. In addition, these monitors can only represent 6-bits of color (they use dithering to display all colors) and therefore they are only capable of displaying a very limited gamut of colors.
  2. IPS (In-Plane Switching) – compared to TN, IPS monitors are true 8-bit (full color reproduction with no dithering), have much wider viewing angles and are capable of accurately reproducing a much bigger color gamut. Some of the older generation IPS monitors suffered from low response times, but most of the latest models offer reasonably good response times/refresh rates as well. IPS monitors are expensive and they are primarily used for professional photography and design. Many of the high-end Apple screens, including the new iPad use IPS displays.
  3. MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment) – sits between TN and IPS, offering good viewing angles and fast refresh rates, better brightness and color reproduction than TN, but definitely worse than IPS. Similar to IPS, MVA monitors are also 8-bit.
  4. PVA (Patterned Vertical Alignment) – an alternative version of MVA, but with a higher contrast ratio. The latest “S-PVA” offers excellent viewing angles, fast response times, 8-bit color gamut and very good color reproduction.

2) What are you using today?

So, do you know what type of monitor you are currently using? If you bought your monitor for less than $300, you are most likely using a TN panel. It is very easy to find out if you have one of those – just stand up about a foot above the screen and look at your monitor from the top and see how much of the picture is visible. If you can barely see the screen content, you have a TN monitor. If you can still see everything but some of the brightness is gone, you might have an MVA or PVA monitor. Either way, I highly recommend checking your monitor against TFT Central’s monitor database to identify the type of monitor you are using. For example, when I typed “214T” for Samsung SyncMaster 214T that I used as a secondary monitor in a dual monitor setup a while ago (it is now kaput, replaced by the Dell U2410), it returned “21″ Samsung S-PVA (LTM213U6)”, which means that it is a PVA monitor.

Why is this important? Because if you have a TN or a very old MVA/PVA panel, you need to consider replacing it with an 8-bit IPS or S-PVA/P-MVA/S-MVA monitor (depending on your budget). If you are thinking about buying a new monitor for your photography needs, definitely skip all TN monitors and first consider IPS and then PVA/MVA.

3) Does the brand matter?

No, it doesn’t. While there are some brands such as Eizo that specialize on high-end monitors, most other brands that dominate the LCD market such as Samsung, ViewSonic/Sony, Hitachi and NEC offer all kinds of different displays from TN to high-end IPS models. No matter what brand you look at, the first thing you need to do is pay attention to the type of technology that is used on the monitor. If you cannot find it, simply go to the same monitor database link that I provided above and perform a search. Also try searching for the detailed monitor specifications on the manufacturer’s website and try Google as well.

4) What to look for in a monitor

Here are some of the things you should look for in a good monitor for photography:

  1. Minimum 8-bit colors
  2. Preferably IPS for best color accuracy and reproduction
  3. Widescreen instead of square (because most DSLR cameras produce widescreen images)
  4. Large monitor size of 21 inches and above (preferably 24 inches and higher at 1920×1200 resolution and above)
  5. Wide-viewing angles
  6. Good black depth
  7. Extended color gamut
  8. Good uniformity with minimum or nonexistent color tinting and shifting
  9. Minimum of 1 DVI (digital) connector
  10. Fairly good response time (if it will be used for videography as well)

There are many other things that could be important for you, such as additional USB ports or connectors, so feel free to add more to the above list based on your requirements.

4) Recommendations

It is tough to make specific recommendations, because they vary based on your budget and your needs. I decided to divide my recommendations to three groups:

a) High Budget ($1,000 and above) – for those who are looking for the best on the market.
b) Medium Budget ($500 to $1,000) – for those with medium budgets, looking for a solid performer and a good price/performance ratio.
c) Low Budget (under $500) – for low-budget PVA/MVA monitors and sizes lower or equal to 24 inches.

4.1) High Budget

The best monitors in the industry today, without a doubt, are Eizo’s ColorEdge and FlexScan monitors. Eizo’s monitors have the most color gamut, superb color accuracy and top-of-the-line overall performance. Expect to pay more than $1,000 for their smallest monitors and $4,000+ for the large models. Some of Apple’s cinema displays are also worth noting and they are also superb when it comes to color reproduction and accuracy. B&H carries most of the Eizo monitors with accessories. A good 24″ Eizo monitor like the ColorEdge CG243W 24.1 is a little shy of USD $2K.

4.2) Medium Budget

For medium budget monitors, I recommend looking at 24″-27″ monitors by Dell, HP, NEC and Asus. My first choice would be Dell UltraSharp U2711 (product link) – it is the cheapest 27″ professional monitor on the market that costs less than $900. If 27″ is too big for you or you want something a little more affordable, then take a look at Dell U2410 (product link), Dell U2412M, HP ZR2440w and Asus PA246Q have all been getting great reviews from a lot of websites. I personally own two Dell U2410 monitors and I decided to go with the U2410 after doing some extensive research. It is a 24″ IPS monitor with 6 ms response time, superb color reproduction and 102% color gamut with factory-calibrated presets. I bought both from B&H at around $500 when they had a promotion, so it is definitely the cheapest in this category and sits between low and medium budget. Some of the very early models of this monitor were reported to have some tinting issues, but Dell has already taken care of the problem. It works great for my professional photography needs, so I highly recommend it! B&H also carries some of the higher-end medium budget monitors from Dell, NEC and HP. The Dell U2410 is listed at $461 (as of 11/13/2012), but its price sometimes drops down a little during holidays, when Dell has special promotions.

4.3) Low Budget

When it comes to low budget monitors, you will have to compromise size for a good panel type. Therefore, I recommend to look for sizes of 21″ or lower, as long as the panel is good. There are some monitors at this price range that have IPS panels, so definitely look at those first. There are too many to list, but the brands that have some solid performers are: Dell, Samsung, NEC, HP, ViewSonic and Asus. A good 23″ IPS panel that is less than $300 is Asus PB238Q monitor. Other great 23″ IPS alternatives are NEC EA232WMI-BK at $299 and Viewsonic VP2365-LED at $350. All three are good e-IPS monitors (e-IPS stands for “economic IPS”), but I would personally go for the Viewsonic, since it has a good 6ms response time and comes with a very useful 4-port USB hub.

If you are having a difficulty finding a particular monitor for your needs, I recommend checking out TFT Central’s monitor selector tool, which always picks the best monitors based on their extensive research.

5) Monitor Purchase Guide

Ever since I published this article, I received a lot of feedback from our readers, so I decided to create a very easy to use monitor purchase guide. I went through a number of different monitors offered by different manufacturers and picked the best ones based on features, color reproduction and price. Obviously, most of the monitors I recommend are IPS panels that are designed for photography work. I constantly update both this article and my purchase guide whenever something new comes out.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

Last Updated on 11/13/2012.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) wasz

    Here is another link to find a monitor’s panel type: http://www.flatpanelshd.com/panels.php

  2. 3
    ) Avaz Ibragimov

    I still use 19″ CRT monitor, and it definitely displays colors better then LCD ones.

    • Avaz, it depends on what LCD you compare it with. Try comparing your CRT to a quality IPS panel and you will clearly see the difference…

  3. How about laptops?
    I know Fujitsu laptops screens are pretty good, but the laptop itself a bit clunky and old fashioned.

    Would you recommend any laptop brand over another for photography?

    Something for sub-$1K price range and something for $1-2K range.

    I think a separate article with comparisons and suggestions would be a great idea.

    Mukhsim.

    • Mukhsim, that’s a good idea…I should probably write about laptops as well.

      Obviously, the top pick is going to be Apple laptops (Most professional photographers use Apple desktops/laptops for processing photographs), due to their nice screens and optimized Photoshop/Lightroom experience.

      When it comes to PCs, I’ve heard a lot of good things about “HP EliteBook” and some of the Dell Precision laptops that have great monitors. Obviously, the bigger the monitor size, the better, so a 17″ laptop screen with 1920×1200 resolution is optimal. But big monitor size also means large and heavy laptop and I just don’t see the value in those. Many photographers showcase their work on laptops and I think the new Apple iPad is going to replace laptops as showcase instruments very soon…

  4. 7
    ) Len

    When i connect my Sony HDR-CX520E camcorder directly to LG HDTV fullHD to view still photos and videos, the results blew me away. However, when i play them back on my Lenovo T61p, the results are only 30% of what HDTV could achieve in terms of color, sharpness and etc.
    My question is, will any current IPS monitor by Eizo or Apple product beat HDTV?

    • Len, laptop displays are not the best for photography and your TV might be over-saturating colors to make everything look very vivid.

      Without a doubt, a good IPS monitor from Eizo or Apple will give you a much more accurate color than an HDTV would.

  5. A very useful article. You’ve saved us hours of research! Thank you.

  6. 11
    ) Susan

    Changing from PC to Mac for photography. Debating on the MacPro 15 0r 17 or iMac 27. I can also get the 24inch Apple LED Cinema Display with the laptop to dock in. I am writing a book also so that is why I was leaning towards a laptop plus if I need to eventually upload photos on site (not doing that yet). Is the Apple a good monitor for photography or am I better off with the Dell Ultrasharp. Was trying to save some money. Just don’t know which is the best way to go.

    • Susan, Apple monitors (especially the Cinema displays) are superb, much better than the Dell Ultrasharp. If you are converting to Macs, I would stick with the Apple displays – they are worth every penny.

      • 55
        ) Sheila

        I’m finally giving up on my iMac 24″ because what I see on the screen is not what I get when I print on my Epson photo printer. I have done everything I can think of: calibrating, dimming, printer controls color, no color managment, Elements controls color, research on the internet, calling Apple support, Epson support, my old darkroom buddies–but I have spent more time struggling with the #@^%$& computer than producing any photos, while my husband is doing just fine with his workhorse Dell. One of my biggest complaints about the monitor is that it is too bright. I tried dimming it with DarkAdapted, but that made it hard to see color. It seems to me that the iMac is made for producing images that look great on the computer, but not on paper.

        I appreciated your article. There is way too much information out there so I’m grateful to you for figuring some of it out.

        • Sheila, I have heard mixed things about the iMac monitors. Some swear by them and others like you have problems with calibration. I personally use a custom PC that I built and I use two 24″ Dell IPS monitors as shown in this article. I do not have any problems with prints…

          • 74
            ) MikeZ

            Nasim – Great article and website. Very helpful. I am curious as to why you use two monitors? Do you keep one set at sRGB and one set for AdobeRGB? I will be sharing my wide gamut monitor between a work PC and my photo editing PC. My assumption is that I can change the profile to sRGB for work stuff and then switch it back to AdobeRGB for Photoshop and Lightroom. Thoughts?

        • 57
          ) Matt

          what i would recommend is using either a spyder or eyeone printing a colour swatch through your printer (ie 912 colours) using the ink and the type of paper and creating a colour profile specifically for that printer and paper scanning them into your computer and setting your room luminance to 90 (dull lighting, just a note also the colour of your walls also can add a colour cast in your screen giving you false indication 18% grey walls with a matte finish will help thats also) or turn your monitor down to 3 of the 16 squares, that would be a good start also dont forget to apply the colour profile in photoshop for your profiles to be used when printing this may take a wee trail and error first time around :) hope that helps there are also more steps i could mention if you need more help with colour profiling just ask.

  7. 13
    ) rieza

    How about LED display? is it good for photography? how about samsung PX2370?

    • Rieza, there are no true LED screens available. All of them are backlit.

  8. 14
    ) Ron

    I’m debating between the Dell 2410 and HP 2475 for photo editing. I’ve read many negative reviews about the 2410 and few about the 2475… Any suggestions as to which one is better?

    • Ron, I have two 2410 monitors and I love them. I had one of the monitors replaced recently though, since it started fading a little after 2-3 months of heavy use. The second monitor has no problems though.

      The biggest complaint on the Dell 2410 is its QA – some batches are terrific, while others have issues with image fading and other problems. The HP2475 seems to be better in that regard.

      • 75
        ) MikeZ

        What about the PA246Q? The reviewers give it a lot of credit over the Dell, but I am worried about the brightness and warranty from Asus.

  9. 15
    ) Larry Lawrence

    Nasim,
    Thank you for the article and info. It’s very helpful. I need a new monitor for work, (standard business apps.), and I also enjoy photography. I am considering LG E2250T-PN (22″), Samsung BX2440X 24″, and Acer S243HL bmii 24″ Do you have any recommendations between these or any other monitor in the under $300 category? Thanks much!
    Larry

    • Larry, there are too many monitors under $300 category to compare. Both LG and Samsung monitors are great, I would personally go for the latter, since I have been using Samsung for the last 10 years and have always loved using their monitors.

      • 116
        ) Jorge Luis

        Thanks Nasim for your interesting review. Since you wrote this article there have been many changes in monitor technologies. e.g. Samsungs’ Super PLS. You mentioned you have been using Samsung for the last few years. Do you have any recent recommendation for a 27′ monitor of this brand?

  10. 16
    ) Mads Færch

    Hi!

    I just came across this blog looking for an IPS monitor.. Aaaand I couldn’t help but notice that you say that LED-lit monitors is an entirely new category of displays.

    They’re not.

    LED monitors are still LCD panels, and I can’t emphasize this enough(!!!), they are just backlit by Light Emitting Diodes (LED) instead of CCFL as we’re used to.. It’s not a new type of display – nothing’s really different. What’s lighting the monitor is just more efficient, brighter and doesn’t need to warm up. Don’t believe all the marketing BS retail stores are shoving down your throats!

    OLED on the other hand – now THAT’s a new type of display technology… But you can google that yourself.

    Sorry if I came across as some know-it-all-guy.

    • Mads Faerch, I did not say anywhere that LED-lit monitors are entirely new category of displays, I just said “LED”, which is basically “OLED” in today’s terms. LED-backlit monitors are still LCD and they are definitely not OLED, as you have pointed out above.

      Thank you for your feedback, I truly appreciate it and please do not be sorry – this is very important for those who are looking at LED-backlit monitors, thinking they are much different from LCDs.

  11. 21
    ) Andy

    Out of about 50 website reviews I found this one covered many points clearly and concisely. The only problem is that things change in a matter of months :-)
    Anyway, now I know what to look for when I go shopping – thanks.

    • Andy, that’s true – it is hard to keep up with all the new stuff that comes out pretty much on a daily basis :-)

  12. 22
    ) Nitin

    Hello,

    I want to purchases new monitor. I am professional graphic designer, & color is most important for me. you say above that IPS panel is good for about colors. I want to buy 22 inch monitor. I am looking Dell UltraSharp U2211H. Is it good for me or can suggest other monitors in 22 inches. One other thing I want to tell that I also play games. so its also good for games or not ? dell website say its 8ms (Gray to Gray). its good for all game or not ? and i don’t understand properly mean of 8ms. & what is the different between 8ms & 5ms. hi is 8ms or 5ms create major difference. what is (Gray to Gray). some lcd say that ( black to white), what is that ?

    Color is most important because of my profession & then for game. Will you suggest Dell UltraSharp U2211H for my profession & for games.

    PLz help me, I am so confused, can you reply me fast because of I am looking monitor & purchasing with in 2or 3 weeks.

    So plz fast

    Thanks,
    NJ

    • Nitin, yes, an IPS panel is what you want if you want good color reproduction. Look at the monitor database link that I provided in the article and search for the monitor you want to buy. If it says IPS, it should be a safe buy.

  13. 23
    ) winsig

    Excellent article Nasim… I wish I had run across it two weeks earlier, my
    research to replace my 19″ CRT monitor with a quality photographic type
    display would have been so much easier. I too came to the same conclusion as
    you that the Dell U2410 seems to be a very good monitor. I noticed it has great
    specs and some extra features that are unique (Picture-in-Picture and
    Picture-by-Picture Multi-Views ) plus a good price, especially when on sale.

    I would just like to make a couple of comments if I may:

    As far as i know, HP seems to have a very real problem with customer support.
    They make good products but they apparently do not stand behind them.

    Also, Eizo monitors are excellent ( and very pricey) but they seem to have a
    very slow refresh rate. I think they are excellent for stills but I have no idea how they might be for videos.

    And, as # 16 mentioned, OLED is not LED. From what I’ve seen in my recent
    research, if a screen is OLED the retailer is more than happy to say so. The same seems to be true for LED backlit LCD screens.

    Thanks for a great article….

    • Winsig, thank you for your feedback.

      You are right about OLED not being LED. I have just read a technical document that shows differences between the two. Seems like “LED” is a name for a product that sits between LCD and OLED, so it is basically a hybrid display.

  14. 27
    ) Walter

    Ok I’m looking at the possibility of either the Eizo SX2462W,or the Apple 27″ LED both are IPS monitors. This monitor will become the primary monitor in my photography studio. Which one would you recommend and why?

    • Walter, I personally like the Apple IPS monitors, since they look cooler than Eizo :)

      Other than that, I do not own both so I cannot make a good comparison.

  15. 29
    ) Walter

    Hi Nasim:

    I took a good look at both monitors and I have decided to go with the Ezio. The Ezio worked out to be about a $100.00 USD more expensive, and came with a 5 year warranty. I feel that, 2 extra years is probably worth the 100 bucks. What took me away from the Apple Cinema display was the glossy screen, I have worked on a few laptops with a glossy screen and it drove me a little crazy with me constantly changing my position to look at various parts of screen.

    The Ezio works for me, but I am writing this to thank you for a very helpful Blog.

    Walter

    • Thank you for your feedback Walter, glad you found what you were looking for! Eizo monitors are superb!

  16. 31
    ) Dave

    Thanks for the info Nasim.

    I’m actually a videographer, but am also looking for a LCD monitor as I do all my own editing (up to now on my macbook pro).

    I’m actually looking for something under 20″ in size as I’ll be driving down to Central America and don’t want too big an item in the car. Plus once I get down to where I’m going, I’ll need to be able to stash the monitor quickly when I go out (for security). I was looking at the Dell 2211H but I’m afraid it might be slightly too big …

    Was also looking at a Dell 1909W but it sounds like the technology in that one is a little behind the time for HD editing.

    Cheers!
    Dave

    • Dave, I apologize for a late response. The Dell u2211H is a very good IPS panel. You certainly do not want to get something like the 1909W, since it is a TN panel. For your type of work, I would go with an IPS panel for better color reproduction.

      • 52
        ) Fred

        Will the Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24-in Widescreen IPS High Performance Monitor be good for PC gaming?

        thanks,

        • Fred, absolutely! 8ms response time is more than enough for most games out there.

  17. 32
    ) Debby

    Your article is great, Thank you! I am doing more in studio presentations of clients animal photo proofs. (The shoots are always on location at clients house/stable.) Can I just get a larger monitor to hook into my laptop? Or, should I get an HDTV or the projectors which I’m guessing is not as ideal anymore…(Right now I have an ASUS 18″(?) laptop I work on. I really don’t want to spend over $2000 and $1,000 would be more in my budget.

    Thanks,
    Debby

    • Debby, your best bet would be to get one of those nice LED TVs that they sell in Best Buy. You can get a 30-40 inch LED TV for less than $1,000 nowadays – just make sure that it is 1080p, so that your images look good on the screen and that the TV has a VGA/DVI input so that you can connect your laptop to it.

  18. Thank so much. I tried to get my ASUS hooked up to the 1080 tv in the living room and it didn’t recognize it/work. I think I’ll bring it to Best Buy and have them hook it up to a tv in the store. :=)

  19. 36
    ) Avo

    Hello Nasim,

    I’ve done quite a bit of research but I have not been able to decide on the following three monitors:
    1. HP ZR22W, s-ips
    2. Dell U2311H, e-ips
    3. NEC EA231WMi, e-ips

    They are all under the $300 dollar range. I am an architecture student and do 3d rendering/modeling, using systems like CAD, MAYA, Rhino, Maxwell. My thoughts:

    ZR22W size would not be a big problem, I am buying two. How comparable is it to the ZR24W?
    U2311H has been criticized for bad uniformity and not best colors.
    NEC EA 231WMi has great reviews, but is it outdated in comparison to ZR22W?

    Any advice would help, I am having a hard time committing to either of these. Or do you recommend any other within this range?

    Thank you,

    • Avo, I think the HP ZR22W looks like the best buy in this case.

  20. 38
    ) Paula Brown

    I am an amateur photographer and am seriously considering the Dell U2711 monitor. First of all, do you like this monitor and secondly, how do I deal with possible problems as Dell does not have a store front (In Ottawa, Canada). Thanks. I loved your article!

  21. 39
    ) Jodi

    Thanks for all this info. I’m a professional photographer and I’m currently working on a 15″ Macbook Pro. I need a bigger screen so I was considering a bigger monitor that I can hook up to our PC and my MAC as the program I want to use for wedding albums isn’t yet made for a MAC.

    I was looking at the ASUS PA246Q Black 24″ 6ms P-IPS Height/Swivel/Pivot Adjustable LCD Monitor w/2 USB hub, Card Reader & Display port 400cd/m2 50000:1 DCR that I found on newegg.com but I prefer to spend less and I don’t need all their extra features. I do like that it swivels for the vertical shot but I don’t think I need the USB port as I will be importing all my photos into my MAC anyhow.

    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    • 40
      ) Paula Brown

      I just bought the ASUS PA246Q and so far it is fabulous!

  22. 41
    ) Francis

    Hi Nasim,

    What is your opinion on the imac in regards to the glossy glass reflective screen.

    I know most say its personal preference, but is there a legitimate concern with this type of dispay in regards to photo editing that should make someone reconsider the purchase for something else with a Matte finish instead, like dell etc..?

    Thanks!

  23. 42
    ) Judy

    I bought a terrific NEC monitor that would not/could not connect with my MACbook for love or money
    (NEC and APPLE both officially gave up after 3 days and multiple downloads, cables, et.al)
    Just to be sure, do the monitors you recommend in the mid-range like macbooks? (or more specifically, ‘recognize’ macbooks?)

  24. Nasim, I like most of your advice, and I definitely plan on referring to it if/when I buy a new monitor. I would take issue only with one recommendation:
    “Widescreen instead of square (because most DSLR cameras produce widescreen images)”

    Personally, I hate “shortscreen” (because most of the time, that’s what “widescreen” is) – and if you do most of your photography in portrait orientation, as I do, it’s of very little use. Unfortunately, the vast majority of new monitors are of widescreen design, so it’s almost a moot point now. You could rotate your monitor to have the long axis vertical, but that kind of stinks for most other desktop work…I guess the only answer is to have two monitors, one horizontal and one vertical!

  25. 44
    ) JosiahNC

    Hey,
    My question is this. Many photographers use their Macbook Pro laptops to view the shots as they fire them. I want to utilize this option because my 17″MBP has an amazing screen and it would enable me to instantly know that I got the shot while the lights reset. Is there any way to connect my Canon 7D to my MBP using the MBP as a monitor only?

    And great article! Thanks for breaking down all of the different types.. I couldn’t understand why the differences were so drastic before reading this. Apple cinema displays are quite great for editing. I have to agree with you. I find that I can see the most subtle flaws when editing! Good tools create powerful results.

  26. 45
    ) Jason

    Hello Nasim Mansurov! Thank you for this helpful article. After reading this, I decided to look for a new monitor for my editing . So I just have a minimum wallet to spend on the new monitor. I was looking for a lot of monitor from brands you mentioned on the article and I found NEC EA232WMI-BK . So would u please look over this for me and give me your opinion about this one. Thanks.

  27. 46
    ) Nicks Bahaddarpure

    Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

    Ame ziiiing yar

  28. 47
    ) Igor

    Very useful article. Thank you. I am not a professional photographer but too much into it as a hobby. Considering Viewsonic VP2365wb. Mostly for photo editing and graphic design. Any insights with the regards to this particular model. The price of that unit is very attractive, simply hard to believe, considering specs. it has. Thanks.

  29. 48
    ) Christian

    Hi all,

    What do you guys think of using the new 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display as monitor for photography? Would the glossy screen be an exclusion criterion for you?

    Best,
    Christian

    • Christian, Apple LED monitors are IPS, so they are among the top choices for photography.

      • 50
        ) Christian

        Many thanks, Nasim.

        I currently have a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display and need bigger screen. Since I am highly pleased with this display, I would like to stay with Apple. I often read that glossy screens would not be the first choice for photographers due to calibration issues. But now, I will go for it.

        Best regards, Christian

  30. 51
    ) gareth

    I’m a firm believer that it’s good to learn something new every day and I’ve just learned a valuable amount form discovering your article.
    I’m presently looking for a monitor no bigger than 21″ and I understand now what to look for. You say there are ‘too many to mention’ in the budget section…but could you mention just a couple to get me started?….thanks for your good work.

    • Gareth, I updated the article with some 23″ IPS monitor recommendations for the low budget. Hope this helps.

  31. Nasim,

    You have an error in your article — IPS panels can also use dithering. There are different types of IPS panels (P-IPS, H-IPS, S-IPS, E-IPS, etc) which have different features and quality.

    For example, Dell U2412M which you wrote about actually has 6-bit + AFR dithering. It is based on E-IPS panel and while it can work with full 8 bits according to specs, Dell opted to 6-bit + dithering to be able to make it so affordable.

  32. 59
    ) Eugene

    Hi Nassim,

    EIZO monitors can work with both sRGB and Adobe RGB color space (the technical specification). This also applies to Apple Cinema Display monitor and display for the Mac Book Pro laptop? The technical specification of color spaces is not even mentioned.

    Best regards, Eugene

  33. 60
    ) Chad Garcia

    Nasim,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer all of these questions. I just purchased an LED 1080p television to use as my primary monitor. I am connecting via a DVI to HDMI cable. While the picture is bright and vivid, I am not getting accurate colors. Any photo that I edit looks great on the new monitor but terrible on all others. I have tried to calibrate using the tv menu, the Windows menu, and the graphic card’s menu and I have not come close. Did I make a bad purchase or is there a way to calibrate this HDTV to use as a monitor?

  34. Exceptionally well information you have shared here. We really impressed with your great information

  35. 62
    ) Adrian

    Dear Nasim,
    I am going to by a desktop + monitor which will be used for Photoshop CS5 frequent working. I am interested in editing but not a pro. Could you please give some advice regarding an optimal solution for this ? You can write about both Windows and Mac. At monitor I am interested in the least harmful for eyes. Thank you very much.

  36. 63
    ) Greg Stanley

    Nasim,

    Regarding your medium budget IPS monitor recommendations–specifically, the Dell and Asus– do I need to also buy a colorimeter or other calibration device to ensure screen vs printer accuracy? Or, are there enough “controls” on the monitors to get it calibrated/synched with a Canon or Epson printer?

    Greg

  37. 64
    ) Iliyan Videnov

    Hello,

    I am on a very low budget and need a monitor as soon as possible. I am relatively new to digital photography (I have NEX-5n) and I will use the monitor mainly to view photos and apply minor edits. Can You please give an opinion on LG IPS225V? I have also read that it is factory color calibrated and according to some reviews it gets relatively good results. Here are the specifications :

    Series: IPS LED Monitor
    Screen size: 21.5′ (54.61 cms)
    Resolution: 1920 x 1080
    Brightness (nit): 250
    Contrast Ratio (DFC): 5000000:1
    Response Time(ms): 5ms (GTG (σ))
    HDCP: Yes
    HDMI: Yes
    178/178 viewing angle
    Price: £99, $155, €118
    http://www.lg.com/in/computer-products/led-monitor/LG-IPS225V.jsp

    Thanks!

  38. 65
    ) Kevin Duane

    Nasim,
    Thank you; seems this article is still providing good advice. I’m leaning toward the EIZO monitors but wanted to do some research on video cards before I jump into that. After all; the best monitor in the world will be far less effective if a weak video card is selected. Unfortunately I have seen “professional” cards priced from a few hundred bucks to almost $12K. Can you provide any guidence here?

    thanks again,
    Kevin

  39. Nasim,
    Any comments on tablet/monitors such as the Wacom Cintiq 24HD (H-IPS)? The Cintiqs as I am sure you know are designed to be drawn on, as they a fancy tablet. Would you consider them a monitor which I know owners also use them as such? Of course, they are expensive.

    Thanks, Allan

  40. 67
    ) Lyn

    I have many slides to scan. They are all 4:3 ratio. How does this work out with a 24″ monitor? Are there black parts left and right, or will the slides be cut of on the screen?

  41. 68
    ) Kula

    Nasim

    Firstly, thank you so much for the article. This is the first time I am hearing about IPS and other monitor types. I am looking for a good monitor for photo editing. Have decided Dell 2410 since you have the same and I wanted to be like you :o). My question is, should my Windows PC have a specific hardware and software config? I have an Intel i5 with 4 gb ram. I think this is sufficient. Should the graphics card matter? If so, what is recommended for graphics card? video ram etc.
    Also, should I calibrate the monitor as soon as hook it up with the PC? Thank you in advance.

  42. 69
    ) Matt

    Nasim,

    Great article. I am not a photographer (professional or hobbyist) but I am getting ready to digitize quite a few old photos, slides, and negatives. I am spending most of my modest budget on a new scanner so I don’t have much left for the monitor. I have a Dell 1908fp. I’ve learned here that it’s not a great monitor for this kind of work. The question is, can I make it work? Is it worth it to spend the little bit that I have remaining in my budget to get Spyder 3 Express to calibrate this monitor? If not, bearing in mind that I’m on a limited budget, how is my money better spent?

    • Matt, I would get an IPS monitor, even a small one instead of buying calibration software. You will not be able to get much out of a crappy monitor with calibration software…

  43. 70
    ) George

    Nazim,

    Very informative article. However as you mentioned in it, the technology changes quite rapidly & just wondering if it all still applies today 3/2012? You mentioned above the article was updated but that was posted Oct 2011. As of March 2012 does it all still apply and/or is there something new we should look at. I recently bought a MacBook Pro 15″ after years of Windows.
    There are so many brands to choose from. I do Pro Photography work & now understand my color problems. Anyway, I have a budget of $1,200 to 1,500 US. Any recommendations in today’s market/technology? Should I stick w/Apple or consider other brands. Pro Photographer sites recommend other brands but don’t go into their reasons like you have. Any advice is GREATLY
    appreciated.
    Thank you :)

    • George, yes, the article still applies as of today. In fact, I went back and added some products that I recommend – the Dell U2710 is now my top choice for photography – it is a large and beautiful monitor with much better specs than my Dell U2410. For your budget, it would be a perfect fit. Any other 27″ IPS monitor from another brand will cost you over $2K…

      • 91
        ) Roger

        Hello Nasim,
        the Dell U2711 is on my list. I recently saw a lot of comments talking about the anti-glare coating. Many people complain that the coating would destroy the image quality of the monitor. What are your experiences with the coating? Is that an issue for you?
        Any advice is appreciated. Keep going with your valuable infos!
        Thank you.

  44. 73
    ) Linda M.

    Your write up here was very informative. I was wondering what you thought of the Samsung monitor?
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/5/2683646/samsung-series-9-quad-hd-monitor-smart-station
    I am working with an older Mac powerbook and need a monitor for editing my photos.

  45. 76
    ) Derek

    Hi Nasim,
    I am looking at purchasing a monitor to do photo editing from my laptop but connecting and using the monitor as the display. Would this still work and produce the quality colours I need to print professional quality prints or would I need to buy a new PC?
    Cheers

    • 77
      ) Derek

      If I can still get professional quality colours by using my laptop I, would you recommend me getting a quality 27 inch monitor laptop (under $1000) or goin for a 24 inch better quality monitor.

      PS. Thanks for the information, it has been a great help.

  46. 78
    ) joanne

    sorry if I’m repeating a question here.

    I do some nom-professional photo editing but would still like to get the best product for my needs.
    Currently I’m debating between a 13″inch MacPro (glossy screen) and a Sony Vaio SE23FDB (anti glare screen).

    Any comments on glossy vs. antiglare?
    I’d use the bootcamp on the Mac to do editing in my website since the programs on PC.

    Joanne

  47. 79
    ) Scott

    Hi Nasim,

    I find your website very interesting and informative, but I am very confused about monitors for use with digital photography editing. A couple of leading photo magazines have been addressing the monitor issues and recommend using a high quality LCD monitor over the LED units saying the LED screens are too bright and too blue. They even advise against the newer Mac monitors due to their brightness and color even though the monitor will be calibrated.

    I am planning on purchasing a new Mac Mini for photo work but now I am confused what monitor to purchase for it. I see in your information here that you are recommending some monitor that use LED assisted lighting, not just LCD.

    Can you clear this up for me?

    Thanks for some great information on your website.

    Scott

    • 80
      ) Lyn

      The LED’s in a monitor are not good for your eyes, your eyes will be tired very quick. ( I did some research some time ago.)
      I bought a HP IPS monitor and are very happy with it.

  48. 81
    ) Tiff

    I am a newer photographer. I don’t have a huge budget–I’ve been saving knowing that my photo editing is lacking greatly due to monitor quality. I am debating between the Dell U2412M UltraSharp 24″ LED Monitor or Viewsonic VP2365-LED 23″ Widescreen LED Computer Monitor–they are currently close in price range. I’ve read many, many reviews on them both. I am leaning toward the the Viewsonic because most people say it’s better calibrated out of the box (need to save longer for calibrating software), but the Dell is a bigger screen. What is the difference in a 23″ vs 24″ monitor, and how much should that factor in my choice? AND should I wait a little longer to get a Dell UltraSharp U2410 24″ Widescreen LCD Monitor when I save more money? What’s different about the 2412 vs. the 2410?

    • Tagging-on re: the U2412M vs. Viewsonic…been narrowing down the field for my next monitor and am debating between the two as well. Tiff — as far as 2412 vs. 2410, from what I’ve seen the big diff. is the more expensive Dell is 8-bit while it’s sister is 6-bit…not sure how that translates to color-depth and all that, been hoping to read from anyone who may have or used both.

  49. Do you have any comments on the Wacom Cintique line of monitors? A lot of photographers, designers, and digital artists use these.

  50. 84
    ) Michael

    Ok. When I have my pictures printed, they appear somewhat “dark”. Not underexposed, but just dark. Any suggestions?

  51. 85
    ) Pranab Jyoti Goswami

    Dear Sir,

    After reading your topic in regard to monitor, I planned to upgrade my monitor from Asus VW192T to Asus 23inch LCD Monitor (PA238Q).

    Before I decide to make the purchase, I need some advice from you.
    As you mentioned in “What to look for in a monitor” : 04. # Large monitor size of 21 inches and above (preferably 24 inches and higher at 1920×1200 resolution and above). But the Asus PA238Q has only 1920 x 1080 with 16:9. If I go for Asus 24inch PA246Q I can get 1920 X 1200 with 16:10. As PA246Q have 16:10 aspect ratio. It is better than 16:9 but the price difference is too much. Here I need your advice, would it be better to wait and save for PA246Q or purchase PA238Q. I am waiting for your kind reply.

    Thanking you
    With regards
    Pranab

  52. 86
    ) Jonathan

    LED is not the same as OLED. With regard to current display technology, LED is only a different back lighting method. An LED monitor still uses an LCD panel but uses LED back lighting. OLED is completely different. OLED will replace LCD, not LED.

  53. 87
    ) Richard Boe

    After reading your article on photography monitors I started thinking about my Vizio 32″ LCD tv I’m currently using as a computer monitor, thus photo monitor. To watch tv, I have the settings set to “rich color, hi contrast, extra sharp” and so on. After your aricle I went back and set all of the adjustment settings for the picture to normal or standard, and all the sliders to the middle or 50%. Wow, what a difference re – setting made to my pics, which now appear like they all need exposure added! It’s obvious that the settings on the tv or monitor will affect how I adjust all of the sliders in Lightroom, because the tv makes the photo appear . . . for lack of a better term, psuedo processed. The question then is how do I know where to set the tv / monitor? With the settings I have now even the tv programs look a little flat. What do I do? Thanks in advance for any advice.

  54. 88
    ) James Bartolyni

    Hi Nasim,

    “The best monitors in the industry today, without a doubt, are Eizo’s ColorEdge and FlexScan monitors”
    I find the above statement too bold to substantiate. Ever heard of NEC’s ‘SpectraView’ Series? Or the highly reputable (in fashion & broadcast industry) German brand Quato whose ‘Intelli Proof’ series has proved unbeatable at any price point? I think you need to be careful with wording as that could prove misleading to your audience. B&H may not stock Quato monitors BUT that should not be a reason to make them less favourable!!!!

    Many thanks.

    Bartolyni

  55. 89
    ) John

    Thanks mate, a great post.
    I just got an ips monitor based on your advice, the guy in the shop did not even know what he was selling. Lucky for people like you sharing your knowledge.
    Thanks again

  56. 90
    ) Julie

    hi

    really love you site
    how can i view in full view mode with a 23″ monitor ?
    i have always a left and right borders :(

    cheers

  57. I’ve been using this excellent article as a buying guide for the lower priced monitors. However, those that are listed (Asus PA238Q, NEC EA232WMI-BK,Viewsonic VP2365-LED) have been replaced and are now hard to find. The reviews of the newer models have not been very good. Can you update your recommendations for low budget end? Thank you!

  58. 93
    ) Danielle

    This was very helpful, thank you.

  59. 94
    ) Scoot

    Thank you for all of your hard work sharing your considerable knowledge with others. I eagerly check your website daily and enjoy the articles. My Dell U2410 display does not display photos with the high resolution and color that the U2410 should. My set up is a U2410/Macbook Pro 13″ 2010 model connected with a hdmi 1.3 version cable and Kandex hdmi to mini display port adapter. Pictures on the MBP’s 1280 x 800 monitor is sharper and has more vibrant and richer colors that the U2410. Eyelashes are considerably sharper on the MBP. The MBP Detect Display function states that the U2410 is being displayed at 1900 x 1200. The video card supports higher resolutions. You have two U2410s. What do you think causing the display problem on the U2410?

    • Scoot, HDMI is not a good way to hook up a digital monitor. Can you try hooking up your laptop with a DVI monitor cable instead?

      • 97
        ) Scoot

        Nasim, it was Dell’s Technical support that told me I would get best resolution with a HDMI cable. I will try your DVI cable suggestion. Do you have any recommendation for brand of adapter to connect the DVI cable to to my MBP’s mini display port? This is so because my MBP does not have any DVI port, only a mini display port, Thunderbolt and hdmi.
        Thanks!

        • Scoot, the monitor can take a display port cable, which is probably the best way to connect. Can you see if you can find a mini DP to regular DP cable? I do not have much experience with Macs, so I cannot really be very helpful with the cabling, sorry :(

          • 99
            ) Scoot

            Nasim,
            No change with the mini DP to regular DP cable. Any other suggestions? Research on the web indicates a lot of problems with Dell monitors and Macs.

            • Scoot, I really don’t have any other suggestions :( I use a PC, so I do not know how well it works with Macs…

    • 105
      ) Steve

      Have you try calibrating the display? That may be required as the Mac and PC typically don’t use the same gamma and some other different parameters.

  60. 100
    ) Steve

    Hi Nasim. Interesting article.

    I will be buying a MBP with retina in the next few weeks. I recently had a MBP 2008 and an iMac 27″, and I love to the screen size and quality.

    I’ve been looking for an external monitor to go with it. I was initially tempted by the Apple Thunderbold Display. But I also work from home sometimes with a Windows PC, an would like to have one display for the 2 computers.

    I’ve seen the Dell UltraSharp U2711 in the past, and was very tempted by it. But, if you read the comments on the product link you provided in your article, you will see that some people do not like the matte/anti-glare coating. Since I’m going to use it for photo editing on the Mac, I wonder if you ever saw it in person and can testify it is OK to be use for that task, or you are just refering to the specs?

    Otherwise, which other 27″ high resolution (not those 27″ with a resolution of 1080p, like most 24″) would you recommend?

    • Steve, personally, I would rather have a matte screen than a glossy one that reflects like crazy. Some people take the matte screen off (you can find videos on youtube) and are quite happy. Also, check out the comments above about Dell/Mac compatibility. You might want to make sure that the screen works with your mac before you buy.

      • 103
        ) Steve

        Hi Nasim,

        According to some comments on the Dell product page, many tried it with a Mac and it work. I do not see why any display would not work with ay computer if they use the same standard (DVI, HDMI, VGA, Display Port). And the Macabook retina have an HDMI connector, which should be great with the Dell.

        I’m more concern with people that talk about the matte screen preventing them from doing design work and such. It is not that I want a glare screen, but the matte does have to be invisible when working with images.

        But you did not answer a crucial question: have you seen it for real, or you only saw the specs as I did?

        • Steve, I have two U2410 at home and the U2711 is my primary monitor in the office. Does that count as “seen”? Both have exactly the same matte screen and I have no problems with them.

  61. 104
    ) Steve
  62. 107
    ) Aaron

    Hello Nasim!

    What about Dell U3011 monitor? Where does it stand? No mention of it on your page.

    Thanks

  63. thanks for the good information on monitors.
    I’m in the market to replace my dead 24imac, with mac pro + monitor.
    read several good reviews on the dell u2711 and also found the samsung s27a850D which is in the same price range.
    Curious to know since the origination of this post in 2010 of any other mid-range 27 monitors you might suggest.
    Also any thoughts on the new mac pros and which processor, ram configuration to use.
    Using d700 raw files.
    PS4, LR, autopan pro,nik software
    old imac with 3g ram was stuggleing with the bigger files.
    would ideally like things to process quickly without breaking the bank.
    thanks for any suggestions.
    Owen

  64. 109
    ) Andy

    Thank You! It was best advice ever I found about photographic monitor!
    :-)

  65. 110
    ) Steve Hammond

    Nasim, or anyone, have seen the new Dell U2713? Is it any good?

  66. 111
    ) frank

    im considering a new monitor for photo editing. is it ok to use something like the UltraSharpTM U2410 Monitor with my dell laptop?

  67. 112
    ) Georgi Petrov

    Thank you Nasim for all of your hard work sharing your knowledge with others !!!
    I have brief question about UltraSharpTM U2410.
    (Thank you for recommending the monitor,good choice!)
    I shoot in Raw,edit in Photoshop ( Adobe RGB )
    Still confuse how should i set my monitor Preset mode : in “standart”,”Rgb” or “Srgb” mode,during editing
    ? How do you work ,in which mode Nasim?
    Thank you much in advance!!!
    Georgi

  68. 113
    ) Yon

    Hi Nasim! I have been referring to your website for purchasing a monitor for my photography use… I ran across TFT monitors. How are they compared to the IPS monitors?? I surfed on line to see what the differences are but what I found weren’t very helpful. I would like your opinion on this. Thank you!

    • Please see my article regarding TFT above. If you are serious about colors, don’t buy a TFT monitor.

  69. 114
    ) andre

    Hi all, every time I post a comment I never get an answer but ill try again anyways!!
    I bought the Dell u2711 and the spyder pro 4 based on the recommendation of this website but I am disapointed!! I try to keep the temperature of the monitor around 5800k and the brightness between 10-20%
    I dont mind the grainy look of the anti-glare and I tought this would be a advantage for my vision .
    But god I was wrong. This monitor is so bad on my vision its like im always working to get focus.
    After more than 30 minutes I get Dizzy with nausea and sometimes it last since the morning after.
    Dont get me wrong there is nothing wrong with my eyes I’ve got checked.

    should I have gotten the NEC PA24 … I’ve read on different websites that its the anti-glare that cause headaches ,dizziness, nausea etc… to a lot of people especially if you try to read text with it but I dont I just edit picture. THe NEC also has that anti-glare.
    Some say not to put the brightness so low but between 10-20% is whats recommended for photography and it what my spyder pro4 tells me to do.
    So what should I do, what monitor do I need to edit my picture in the same price range without being being a target to epilepsy.? the resale price is around only 600$ so ill loose money with this …. I just want to get whats good for me the next time so that doesnt happens again!!
    It should be more talked about on monitor reviews that some monitors really causes nausea and dizzyness!!
    Your help will be greatly appreciated
    thank you

    • Andre, I use the U2410 and U2711 and I have no problems with dizziness. Perhaps you should look at an anti-glare monitor, but I would first recommend to go to a local store like Best Buy and see if it matters or not. As far as calibration and brightness, my Dell monitors are very solid.

  70. 115
    ) vishal

    thanks

  71. 119
    ) Droobs

    Hi, I noticed that this article wsa posted last 2010 and is wondering if you have new recommendations. At first I was eyeing on the Dell U2413 but I just saw the LG 27EA83-D, would you think either one is a good option?

    • 120
      ) Steve Hammond

      I think this article needs to be revisited overall: panel technology has evolved since 2010.

      As for the Dell xx13 series, I heard that they suffer major light leak problems in the corners. A friend of mine bought a 2713HM and was really disappointed. I have not seen the display myself tho…

  72. Hi Nasim,

    I’m a newly professional photographer. I do real estate photography and things on the side. I have only printed a handful of times, using labs like Bay photo and Mpix. I have an old Apple cinema display, that has TN technology. Since I don’t view it from extreme angles, I can’t really notice those deficiencies. I use a spider to calibrate this monitor, and I don’t seem to get any surprises when I print. I do a lot of retouching for my clients though. I noticed a Dell monitor (Dell UltraSharp U2412 24-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor), that had great reviews and an attractive prices. My question would be, would I see a dramatic improvement from what I currently have? Furthermore, out of curiosity, I went to Eizo’s website and cross-referenced their models. I found some models in the 400-700 dollar range. Will these types of monitors give me the performance that reflects this brands prestige? Examples inlcude:

    Eizo Nanao – EIZO FlexScan EV2436W-FS
    EIZO Foris FS2333-BK 23-Inch Screen LCD Monitor
    FlexScan EV2336W 23″ LED LCD Monitor – 16:9 – 6 ms

    Thanks,

  73. 122
    ) Bob F

    Nasim,
    I have many slides which I want to scan into digital format. Do you have any reviews of photo scanners or service provider recommendations? I have about 1K slides and think I want to buy my own scanner, etc. Many thanks,
    Bob

  74. 123
    ) Lena

    Bob, I have scanned many slides with Reflecta Digit Dia 5000, software Vuescan and correcting profles by Wolf Faust. You can find also information on http://www.filmscanner.info

    Succes,
    Lena.

  75. 124
    ) bart

    hey what Dell laptop would you recommend?

  76. 125
    ) Eddie

    For newest information you have to goo to see the web and on
    web I found this web site as a best web page
    for most up-to-date updates.

  77. 126
    ) GareyG

    Hi Nasim,
    I’m just starting out in my business and I’m on a limited budget. My cheap HP monitor (TN display), although calibrated weekly, is producing very inconsistent results with my print lab’s printers. Not surprising at all, but admittedly I was plagued with wishful thinking!

    I looked to your site for help, and found this article. I need help choosing a good, reliable monitor within my budget and to my surprise, I found that the Dell U2410 that you so highly recommend is now priced below $300. I’m seriously thinking of purchasing this monitor based on your recommendation, but since so much time has gone by since this article was written, I thought I’d check in to see if you have any other recommendations that keep me within my $300 budget.
    Note: HDMI is not important to me as my current computer does not have an HDMI output.

    Thanks for all you do!
    Garey

  78. 127
    ) Christian

    Nasim,

    Great article indeed. Although I have mixed feelings because now I have to explain to the Secretary of the Treasury why I just spent 400$ on a new IPS DELL last night. Maybe, I’ll just refer her to your article. Or, maybe not she’ll, want one for herself also…….

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