Monitor Purchase Guide

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Comments

  1. 1
    ) Murray Foote
    June 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    A very concise and useful guide. Well done!

    You include the NEC PA301W for a 30 inch monitor. I’m surprised though that you don’t include the NEC PA241W and PA271W for 24″ and 27″ respectively. I have seen it suggested that the NEC PA range is as good as the Eizo Coloredge and they are 50% to 100% cheaper.

    • July 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      +1 on the NEC.

      I have used a PA271W for two years now and it is an amazing tool.

  2. 2
    ) Christian
    June 6, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Dear Nasim,

    Many thanks for your concise and helpful guide!

    However, I am somehow missing the 27″ Apple Thunderbolt Display that offers an IPS panel as well. Did the glossy surface lead you to not recommending that display? Or do you have any other concerns?

    Best, Christian

  3. 3
    ) John Barrow
    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for this – just what I’ve been looking for.

    I wonder if you could comment on how easy it is to calibrate these monitors, and how well calibration works with something like a Color Munki?

    Regards, John.

    • 6
      ) Murray Foote
      June 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      I would think that is not an easy question to answer simply. The easiest will be the NEC (using Spectraview) and Eizo Coloredge (using ColorNavigator) which have direct hardware calibration so you don’t need to make any adjustments at all during the calibration process. Other than that, people will be using a variety of packages including ColorMunki, Spyder3, Spyder4, XRite Display2 or XRite Display Pro. They will all vary, including between their simple interfaces and their complex interfaces. Specifically for ColorMunki, you may find this XRite video useful. It goes for an hour but is very thorough: http://xritephoto.com/ph_learning.aspx?action=webinarsarchive&eventid=1027&eventdateid=4884

      Particularly if you are printing, a wide gamut (aRGB) monitor will be useful. Most of the older model colorimeters will not work well on these. To see how well a monitor responds to profiling with a suitable colorimeter, you may find it useful to look for a review on the specialist monitor site http://www.prad.de. Some of the “Lite” model colorimeters do not allow you to adjust screen brightness. That makes them next to useless in my opinion. Perhaps the most important thing you want to do in profiling is to reduce the brightness of your monitor to an appropriate level (otherwise your prints turn out too dark). As a yardstick, this might be 120cd/m2 for web viewing or 100cd/m2 for printing. You may need to use the advanced mode to set this specifically.

      Some cheap monitors will not respond well to profiling but I think you can assume the ones recommended here range from good to brilliant. Monitors change with age and an old monitor may not hold a good profile either. It is also a good idea to profile a monitor more often when it is new because it changes more then and settles down after some months. You may not be able to hold down the brightness as much on a new monitor.

      • 7
        ) John Barrow
        June 7, 2012 at 4:10 am

        Hi Murray,

        Thanks for your comments and links. I was looking at the 23″ displays, and judging by what prad says, both the Dell and Asus might be tricky to calibrate. I’ll need to do some more scratching around, because the NEC product sheet refers to XtraView and not to SpectraView and I’m not sure if that allows the same facilities. Don’t know what the ViewSonic would be like. I’ve been using a ColorMunki for a few years, so that’s the calibration hardware that’s available – will check out the XRite video that you mention.

        Regards, John.

        • 8
          ) Murray Foote
          June 7, 2012 at 4:29 am

          Hi John

          I think Xtraview just maximises the viewing angle and is not profiling technology. The cheaper NEC monitors may not be compatible with Spectraview profiling but the PA range certainly is and so are some others.

          There are also two completely different programs that go by the name of Spectraview. The one to go for I think is the US one rather than the European one (produced by a company called BasiCColor; I think the US one comes from NEC). If you don’t live in the US and get an appropriate NEC monitor you can get a US friend to get you the software (if not available in your country) for $US100 and send you the software key. You can use Spectraview II with a ColorMunki spectrophotometer.

          Regards,
          Murray

          • 9
            ) John Barrow
            June 7, 2012 at 5:24 am

            Hi Murray,

            Thanks for all your help.

            Regards, John.

  4. June 6, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Im with John Barrow here.
    No matter what monitor one has it will need calibrating to get the best from it, some Monitors are decidedly fiddly when using calibration kit others can only be calibrated using the Auto mode in the calibration software /hardware combo.
    That said its good to have a simple review as you have done,so thanks.

  5. 5
    ) Adnan Khan
    June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Thank you so much Nasim :)

    Very nicely compiled data ,very very useful ,I’d be banging my head for weeks on just to find the right one I need ,you narrowed it down :)

    As a hobbyist photographer I’m not so keen on purchasing high end monitors but I think around $300 and less makes sense :)
    As stated above ,yes , on calibration ,any tips n tricks ? :)

    Regards
    Adnan

  6. 10
    ) Chris Weller
    July 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I’m about to order two Dell U2410’s, but I’m reading a lot of bad things about the AG coating and how it increases eye strain because of pixel diffusion and makes the screen look grainier and pictures appear to have noise in them that doesn’t exist

    Thoughts?

    • 12
      ) Jacob
      August 18, 2012 at 5:15 am

      I used to own a Dell U2311H. I hated it and ended up selling it because of two reasons:

      1. The grain/noise because of the filter they put on to reduce glare. I much rather deal with glare than that.
      2. There was a buzzing noise if you used it at anything less than 95% brightness. I got the unit replaced twice, but the issue remained.

      I imagine that at least the first issue exist on all Dell monitors in the U-series.

      Not long after that I switched to Mac and bought a Thunderbolt Display. I am extremely happy with it. It’s not the best when it comes to raw panel performance, but the integration with Mac and design makes up for it, imo.

  7. 13
    ) Cherag Tantra
    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Hello All,

    I had a quick question to ask, I am in midst of buying a professional display unit (well atleast better than the standard displays) for my photography use & I am narrowing down my choice between the Dell U2711 & the newly launched Eizo CS230… of course I would put my money straight on the Dell considering its bigger size, better colour gamut, however the name Eizo just makes me feel should I just give it a thought before I make my final decision. Of course I would love to buy the Eizo CG246 but thats almost twice the price than the Dellu2711 here in India.

    So would the entry level Eizo CS230 be really comparable to the Dell U2711 it terms of colour rendition?

    Many thanks.

    Cherag

    • September 19, 2012 at 3:35 am

      I too was seduced by the name Eizo and currently have two sitting on my desktop used just for Photoshop.
      The older Flexscan no longer calibrates but I only use that for holding the pallets and Bridge so its not too important.the newer Flexscan S2401w is now showing signs of unevenness across the screen,not noticeable with images up but defined with just the grey background.
      My office monitor is an even older Liteon the first LCD screen I purchased and is still as good as the day I purchased it and calibrates perfectly and its done at least 4 times as many hours service than either Eizo
      If I was advising anyone now I would suggest that they consider the working life and go with the cheapest that does the job..
      Don’t get me wrong,the Eizo s have been good,but I would not buy another one.
      If your monitor is calibrated and you have known colours in an image you can adjust by the numbers in the info panel or better still use a colour checker chart from Macbeth or similar then it does not matter a jot if your screen has a colour cast ,you could even do the work on a mono green screen if you trust the numbers.
      Just this one photographers opinion,no doubt many will disagree,probably justifiably :-)

      • 15
        ) Cherag Tantra
        September 19, 2012 at 4:04 am

        Thanks Michael, appreciate your response. I guess its the Dell U2711 then.

        • 16
          ) Murray Foote
          September 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

          There are two lines of Eizo monitors, the ColorEdge and the Flexscan. The ColorEdge line is much better than the Flexscan. The other premium brand is NEC. Their PA series is probably as good as Eizo Coloredge and maybe half the price. I would suggest checking out an NEC PA271, likely to be much better than the Dell and can also be self-calibrating (like the Eizo ColorEdge, though with a different system). Have a look at http://www.PRAD.de for detailed reviews.

          • September 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

            When choosing the monitors I looked at the coloredge as well as the Flexscan.
            It appeared that the additional cost was mainly for the inbuilt calibration facilities on the colour edge and at that time tests were revealing an almost identical performance.
            As I already had calibration hardware it seemed silly to spend cash duplicating a capacity needlessly.
            I cant help but return to that part of my post indicating that the Liteon Monitor has been of far better value.
            Its quality outlasting the Eizo , and it was half the price.

          • 18
            ) Cherag Tantra
            September 19, 2012 at 7:45 am

            Hello Murray,

            Thanks for your response. I did look at the ColorEdge series of the Eizo, infact I did mention if I could afford I would buy the CG246, however its twice as much in price to the Dell u2711., while I do use for photography its not at that professional level for me to spend that extra cash.

            In terms of the NEC I have asked the dealer in India for the price and I have asked for the NEC MultiSync PA-241W, MultiSync PA-271W & the SpectraView 231, I am awaiting his response but I am sure it will be in the price range of the Eizo ColorEdge series.

            I am now even looking at the Dell U3011. The Dell U2711 is costing me in India equivalent to $996/- while the U3011 will cost me $1,516/- I am wondering $520 add on is going to be worth it.

            Anyways I am awaiting the prices for the NEC before I make my decision, its quite a bit of money to be spent so I just want to be sure I have made my right decision (well there can never be ‘The’ right decision :-) ).

            Thanks anyways for the responses do appreciate it.

            Cheers!

            Cherag

            • 26
              ) Cherag Tantra
              March 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

              Well after much deliberation… I finally ordered the Dell U2713H with premier colour monitor… here’s hoping its worth the wait…

          • 24
            ) Randy
            February 24, 2013 at 8:27 am

            I have used the color edge’s for about 7 years now and they work and calibrates very well
            I use the eye one for all my calibration and print with the Epson 9800 thought photoshop .
            This is by far the best monitors I have use in my studio
            My whole workflow is calibrated from the capture of the images to the final prints
            BTW I love your image of the Pika with all the grasses in its mouth .

            Cheers
            Randy g

    • 25
      ) Randy
      February 24, 2013 at 8:40 am

      I see I use the wrong web link
      Sorry

  8. 19
    ) Piettro
    October 24, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Hello,
    I want to purchase either Dell U2410M or ViewSonic VP2365-LED. I am a non-professional photographer and graphic but sometimes I make posters for local bands. Recently I had some problems with inaccurate colors after printing. So, I want to change my (4 years) old LCD monitor.

    One of the articles on this site says we should look for minimum 8-bit colors and yet Nasim recommends some 6-bit models such as Dell U2410M.

    Is it that big of a difference or not? Should I go for 8-bit or this 6-bit models are sufficient for my needs?

    Thanks

    Piettro

  9. 20
    ) Mike K
    November 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Nasim,

    I read your article explaining full frame vs cropped sensors and have a question noone can seem to answer. Multiple sights say that there is an advantage of using cropped sensors when shooting wildlife and sports b/c the crop creates extra reach. For example, an 80-200 FX lense on a FX sensor produces a field of view equivalent to 120-300 on a camera with an DX sensor. However, since focal length doesn’t change, does this mean auto focusing capabilities is the same on both assuming I use the same lense.

    An extreme example will help. Assume I’m shooting a buffalo 200 meters away. If I had a 200mm FX lense and put it on a camera with a senor ratio of 10:1, the field of view would appear to be 2,000 mm – so the buffalo would APPEAR to be very close in my viewfinder. However, would that narrower field of view help me autofocus the buffalo any better than if I were using an FX camera? If I don’t care about pixel count, the amount of data would be the very comparable if I were to look at the uncropped photo of the 10:1 sensor vs the photo taken with the full frame sensor cropped to the same field of view as the 10:1 cropped sensor. Is this correct? Am I thinking of this correctly? I ask b/c I recently upgraded from a D300 to a D700 and am worried autofocus of objects over 50+ yards away might be hindered using my 70-200 f/2.8 – but after reading your article I’m not so sure that’s the case. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

    Mike

  10. 21
    ) andre
    February 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    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

  11. 22
    ) andre
    February 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    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 very much

  12. 23
    ) andre
    February 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    oups really sorry for the double

  13. 28
    ) Roy
    July 16, 2013 at 1:46 am

    hello aski if you have a viewsonic low to high budget LCD o LED monitor recommendation thanks

  14. 29
    ) M I K E
    August 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Dare I ask why Apple doesn’t cut it?

    I thank you & greatly respect all the work you have done here & shared (!)

    And I’ll happily trash idea of going w/Apple, despite some who have endorsed it.

    But can anyone tell me why?

    ( Save me from picking a…bad apple ? )

  15. 30
    ) John McElroy
    September 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    It was just over a couple of years ago I googled the net looking for a good monitor for an enthusiast like myself who wants perfection but doesn’t want to do a second mortgage on the house to pay for it. I found Nasim’s original article and based on that purchased the Asus PA246Q ProArt Monitor to replace my old monstrous 21″ CRT. I still couldn’t be happier with the purchase and also with finding Nasim’s photography blog, then called “Mansurovs”.
    I’ve since consistently followed the blog and appreciate the reviews, articles and insights of Nasim and his fellow contributors.
    This post is just to say “thanks” for creating such a great point of referral for all things photographic!

  16. 31
    ) Enrique
    September 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Excellent research, thanks for sharing!

    I am about to buy a monitor and I chose the DELL U2711, the question is; LED or LCD? they cost about the same.

    Best,

    Enrique

  17. 32
    ) Chris
    June 30, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    2412M on sale at newegg and bphphoto – get them while they last.

  18. 33
    ) Jeff
    September 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    If this is not the place to ask this, please advise.
    I am new to digital and was searching the site for answers to using Nikon (or other) older lenses ie 180-2.8, 85-1.2, 105-1.8 (non-auto focus) with newer bodies (610, 750, 810).
    Additionally, any thoughts on filling a gap between 17-35 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 AF lenses? Generally I use to buy fixed lenses liking the faster lenses. But seems the world is going to zooms. I did not see a lot of tests on many AF fixed lenses for Nikon. To me AF is a new thing.
    As you have probably guessed, I have a TON of Nikon fixed lenses from 24 – 400 all non AF in the past used with F2 or F3’s, etc.

    • Profile photo of jjciii
      34
      ) jjciii
      September 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      moved to proper place

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