If you are looking for a professional-grade IPS monitor (if you have no idea what IPS means, see “this article“) for your photography needs, then check out this HP DreamColor LP2480zx that is currently on sale at B&H for $799. Yes, that’s a hefty price for a monitor, but keep in mind that this is a professional monitor specifically designed to accurately reproduce over 1 billion colors (12-bit look up table with 100% Adobe RGB and sRGB Color Coverage). With a 6 ms response time, this is one amazing monitor that can be used for pretty much anything you throw at it, including gaming. And the $799 price is a heavy discount, because the retail price of this monitor is a whopping $2,299! I looked at a number of websites and could not find this monitor cheaper than $1500, so this is a very good deal.
Personally, I use a set of Dell U2413 24″ IPS monitors for my needs now. Although the U2413 is a more recent monitor with better specifications (including DP 1.2 support), the monitor is clearly a grade lower in quality in comparison to the above-mentioned DreamColor LP2480zx. Dell makes nice UltraSharp series monitors, but I found them to fade and change colors quicker than HP monitors overtime. So if you are looking for a long term investment, the HP is a better buy in my opinion.
What about ultra high resolution 4K monitors, you might ask? Well, good ones simply do not exist yet. If you buy something like the Dell UP2414Q (24″ IPS panel), good luck with making that monitor usable for regular apps like Photoshop and Lightroom. At 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160, everything will appear tiny and you will have to start messing with font scaling to be able to read anything. In addition, the refresh rate on 4K monitors is horrible and manufacturers (including Dell) often cheat by stitching two 1920 panels together and running them at 30 Hz. Looking at high resolution pictures is certainly nice, but your everyday work using the computer for browsing, etc is surely going to suffer. So unless you are ready to spend $3-4K on a high quality 4K monitor, forget about it for now. In short, 4K is simply not ready for prime time in my opinion.
What monitor do you use today for your photography needs? Are you aware of IPS panels and professional-grade monitors such as the ones mentioned above? No matter what you run, always make sure to calibrate your setup. Even a high-quality professional monitor should always be calibrated with a reliable tool. I used to calibrate my monitors with Datacolor’s Spyder Pro calibration tool, but have recently switched to X-Rite i1 Display Pro. I found the latter to do a better job in calibrating my monitors and the software component is better as well. No need to wait for software to load, as the calibration profile is loaded instantly when I reboot my machine. The monitors retain the color profile when switching between full screen apps as well, while Spyder Pro caused some problems and sometimes forced me to reload the profile.
Would also love to hear some feedback on how you calibrate your monitors! If you need some help with this process and don’t know where to start, check out my “how to calibrate your monitor” article. Lastly, always make sure to run a color managed browser to view pictures on the Internet (including pictures from our site!). Please check and make sure that your browser is color managed!