Professional IPS Monitor from HP

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.

HP DreamColor LP2480zx

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!

  • Alan

    The regular price is way too much for a 1920X1200 24inch monitor anyway and $799 is barely a deal.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Alan, I would urge you to look a bit beyond resolution. Please read about the different type of panels and why IPS is a must-have for photography needs.

  • Pierre Lecerf

    Did you have the opportunity to try displays from the Eizo ColorEdge line ?

    They’re slightly more affordable (depending on the line, you can get a 24″ around 1500-1700$), have interesting features, very good quality and (I hear) good QA. Even for the amateur photographer, their lower-grade products still have pretty good color accuracy and consistency, while remaining quite affordable.

    • Mircea

      I was about to say the same thing. Eizo makes the best professional monitors. Try one and you will never ever want to use something different. ColorEdge monitors have hardware calibration, so you don’t need a special software for that.

      Nasim, you said “What about ultra high resolution 4K monitors, you might ask? Well, good ones simply do not exist yet” There is such a monitor since 2012, a professional one, and, you might have guessed, is a 36″ Eizo. But the price is quite very high, in the range of a new car (around $30,000). This makes it inaccessible for most people.

  • JC Babin

    Hi Nasim,
    Although this is a recent article (today!), I ended up checking your article hereto mentioned, checking if my browser is color managed.
    I use Safari and Chrome on a Macbook Pro and both display the 2 images the very same. Then I realized that article was dated Feb. 2010! I used to use Firefox until I had so many problems with it last year or so that I erased it from the computer. I was very disappointed at the time because I had been using it for a long time with all sort of extensions and I had to re-organize everything with a combination of Safari and Chrome.
    I use an Apple Thunderbolt monitor (27″) and Spyder 4 Elite as a calibrator. I don’t even know if that monitor is IPS or not. I use this setup mainly for Lightroom. Would this HP monitor be a better choice?

    • Romanas Nary┼íkin

      JC, you have a great monitor, so long as it’s calibrated. :)

  • thomas

    Hello Nasim,
    I am one of your everyday reader and concerning the IT part in photography i have lot to say! This is an absolut amazing deal you just show and every serious photographer should have a serious look on this deal.
    However, it’s not extremly known but the 10-12-14 bits colors screens are totally NOT RELEVANT for 99,9% of users. I explain myself: the screen is capable of showing 1.06 billion colors but you can make it effective only and ONLY if all the chain of components and softwares follow. A regular graphic card, even expensive, can only send a 8 Bits signal to the screen which will be limited then to 16 million colors. So the very first thing you need to pass over the regular 8 bits colors is to get a professionnal graphic card. The entry level are NVIDIA Quadro 600 and ATI FirePro V4900 for about 200 $ each. It’s enough for photography. For Videographers you have to level up and count 500 $ for a graphic card. Without a pro card it’s absolutely irrelevant to get such screen, thinking it will give you better gradients in colors and B&W is wrong. Once you have it you have to configurate Windows AND Photoshop into a 10 bits (or more?) level colors.
    xxbits colors are like pixels, you might not need to fall for the bigger amount written on the sticker ;)

  • Himanshu

    Will you recommend 15″ MBPro for photography

  • nestor

    Hi Nasim

    I never used a 4K monitor but I guess it must be approx 4000×2000, which means four panels instead of two as you mentioned.

    And a question about color spyder, I have it, and it has a software which tell profile loaded OK, but I found that you don;t need to run the software, just only select the generated profile as default for the monitor. Am I wrong?

    As ever Nasim yours is one of the most serious and reliable sites for info. Thanks for making it so.

  • Brian eastwood

    This is a delightful monitor. If it was not for the 4k monitors coming in cheaper now with great TN screens. Would certainly grab one of these.

    I’ve seen pics from my d800 on a friend’s PQ321Q, that is gorgeous for $650 and 28″.

    Thanks for the post. I do have a capable gpu for the colour so it’s tempting.

  • Murray Foote

    I have an NEC 2690 plus an NEC 2090. I also use X-Rite Display Pro which a Dry Creek Photo review of a couple for years ago found was the best alternative except for an obscure and expensive one. The Spyder 4 was not out at that time but I suspect that would make little difference.

    Hardware calibration (using NEC Spectraview software) makes life much easier than manually having to adjust brightness and contrast. Since the 2690 has aRGB gamut I can usually get pretty accurate soft proofs (be able to see on screen what I will get when I print).

    Dry Creek review:

  • Murray Foote

    By the way, Nasim, you used to be able to click on the image of someone who had made a comment and potentially see their website or blog. That seems to be disabled now. Is that an intentional change, an inadvertent one or maybe just something happening with my PC?

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Murray, there was so much spam that this was the only way to deal with it. The good news is, you can register on the site and provide a link and it will still work – it only does not work for non-registered/anonymous users.

      • Murray Foote

        I’m not sure what you mean about the link, Nasim. I’m registered and have provided a link for my Blog, but it’s not available in this comment by clicking my icon or my name.

        • Nasim Mansurov

          Murray, it should be working now :)

          • Murray Foote

            OK, thank you. Working for my last comment but not earlier ones, so I presume working for future comments as well.

  • T. C. Knight

    I use a NEC PA27 with Spectraview monitor and this HP is WAY cheaper than the NEC was. But I am extremely happy with the NEC. I see NEC’s 24″ version of my monitor is just under $850 at B&H. I’m thinking that if I was in the market for another monitor, I would still go with the NEC as mine is four years old and has not faded, blinked, or balked since I have owned it. I have never had a HP IPS monitor but have never been highly impressed with the non-IPS HP monitors I have owned. Not that they were bad monitors, just nothing special over any other brand. I have yet to see a clearer monitor than the NEC, not even the famed Apple displays equaled it at the time I purchased it.

    • Murray Foote

      I have the older 2690 which is now seven years old and still profiles fine.

    • Robert

      I just bought an NEC PA272W with SpectraviewII last week largely based on a whole lot of people saying pretty much what you wrote. I am certainly not disappointed and hope I get the same performance and longevity as you.
      Likewise, since I did buy mine last week, it makes perfect sense that B&H would put a nice monitor up for 1/2 of what I paid.

      • T. C. Knight

        LOL. It ALWAYS happens that way.

      • Nasim Mansurov

        Robert, if you only bought it last week, can’t you return it? I think the return policy is 30 days pretty much at any electronics store nowadays…

  • Marc Tielemans

    I use the HP LP2475w, a fantastic monitor. Bought it second-hand on eBay for about $600 and has been serving me well for almost 3 years now. Amazing quality, until you have an IPS monitor you don’t know what you’ve missed ….

  • Jay

    Be careful. Read the reviews on the BH Photo website. Looks like this monitor is not compatible with some color calibration devices. It requires its own proprietary software calibration device for another $350! This monitor is also older technology. There is a reason that they are trying to get rid of these and reducing the price. Always read the reviews and use your instincts accordingly.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Jay, how could a device be incompatible with a color calibration device? Color calibration devices like X-Rite Display Pro attach on top of the surface of a monitor – it is not like you cannot mount it. There is no compatibility problem with software or hardware.

      • Benjamin Schindler

        Hi Nasim

        If you don’t intend to use the hardware LUT of your monitor, you are right. However, if you want, the story is different. For your dell 2413 for example, only X-Rite has a license for it and therefore, you can only use a i1 display pro to calibrate it fully. The question is – do you really need the LUT (see – I’m currently thinking of buying this monitor as well)

      • Tim

        I got myself the same dell 2413, but i had problems using display pro. Installing the software got me an error in recognizing the device, and nothing helped. Removing and reinstalling did not help. Then I decided to use the dell software version xrite, but that did nothing too. I know the device works because i used it before for a 2211. Do you have any recommendations?

  • Colbe

    What about the new 34 inch 3440 x1440 ips monitor by LG? Honestly it cost 150 more and the reviews on color representation and internal color calibration that works with any calibrating unit makes it a far better sale. And 5ms response time. LG 34UM95 look that beast up

    • Mircea

      I would stay away from LG monitors if I were you. Have you heard of monitor (or display) retention problem? Dell XPS12 and Macbook pro have this problem, and ALL laptops with this problem have LG monitors. Dell seems to have more models with this problem, and ALL with LG display. Macbook looks to have solved the problem by using Samsung displays instead of LG.

  • Crunch Hardtack

    I have the NEC MultiSync PA271W with its own built in LUT tables + optional customized XRite calibrator. Yes, it was expensive, but this system is all inclusive and designed to work together flawlessly. There are most likely updated NEC models offered now; bought mine around 4-5 years ago. Will buy one again when the time comes, unless something “better” comes down the pike, such as price point, feature set, etc.

    If one is printing their own prints, then color fidelity is of the utmost importance, especially if one is going to print and sell.

  • artfrankmiami

    Funny how you mention the “hefty” price of $799 for this monitor. This was the price of Apple’s 17″ monitors around 1995 that had a tendency to fail–one of mine pretty spectacularly. Also, that money’s value today I would think would be about $1500.

  • Christian

    Hi, I was about to purchase a NEC PA272W-BK-SV LED Backlit Wide Gamut LCD Desktop Monitor with SpectraViewII (Black) and then I saw your article about the HP IPS monitor. Now I don’t know which way to go. I was wanting to get a large calibrated monitor to accurately show colors when editing photos from my Mac. I’ve noticed that when I edit pics from my Mac and then view them on a PC they look much brighter then they did in my Mac, so I need a way to edit to make sure they look correct on any screen. Which way do you recommend if money was not a factor? Which one has a longer life too? Please help me out someone. Thanks,

  • Paul

    If you read the specs for the 24″ HP it requires its proprietary $350 calibration tool, which is NOT comparable with Mac computers. The problem seems to be that there is no provision for manually adjusting levels of color or brightness if using another calibration device, so I’d avoid this for use with a Mac system.

  • Carsten

    For an in-depth review of the HP LP2480zw see also:

    Some other comments above suggest to use Eizo ColorEdge Model. You can find a review of the Eizo CX 240 here (although only available in German):

    I use the Quarto icolor Display 3.8 software together with a Silver Hase 3 colorimeter (identical to the i1 Display Pro) for calibrating my monitor. The software is said to be more flexible than the X-Rite software. Unfortunatley, Quarto went out of business last year.

  • Phil Wells

    Well, I am lost. I am not a pro and I don’t understand things like lookup tables. I am running a Mac Mini with one screen for MacOS and one for Windows 7 Pro on a Fusion VM; they are presently 2 different models and I’d like to make them both the same and reasonable quality for non-revenue-generating LR and PS manipulation. since I will have TWO of them 24″ sounds like a better idea than 27″ on my desk. But the comment below from B&H concerns me – I have never calibrated a monitor before but would like to at least GET it calibrated and be given some calibration profiles to use.

    Today B&H shows the HP 24″ monitor for $629. The NEC PA271W mentioned below is out of stock at B&H and is replaced by the PA272W-BK which goes for $989 until 10/24/14. I can’t afford 2 of those even at that sale price.

    B&H says:

    Please note: It is not possible to perform DreamColor color management on this monitor with a YCBCR (YUV) input signal. To perform DreamColor color management with a YCBCR input signal, the signal must be converted to a digital RGB signal using separate hardware such as an SDI converter.

    [From CNET: ]
    CNET Editors’ Rating: 4 stars Excellent
    $1,892.81 to $3,395.75 [at the time of the review in 2010]

    Review Date: August 18, 2010

    The Good – The HP DreamColor LP2480zx has impeccable color reproduction and includes direct black level control.
    The Bad – The HP DreamColor LP2480zx forgoes direct color and contrast controls and can’t compare, featurewise, to its competitors. Its price is a pill that’s hard to swallow.
    The Bottom Line – The HP DreamColor LP2480zx is a performance monster that costs too much [in 2010] for the features it offers.

    The DreamColor LP2480zx’s color reproduction and black levels are easily in the same league as that of the NEC MultiSync PA271W, and it even surpasses the NEC in color saturation and screen uniformity. Unfortunately, where the LP2480zx falters is its lack of calibration options when compared with the PA271W. Thanks to its vast array of intricately detailed calibration options and lower price, the NEC MultiSync PA271W is the clear value winner from the two. However, if price is no object and performance is paramount, the LP2480zx’s performance is second to none of the monitors we’ve reviewed.

    SO: anyone have any suggestions for something not so expensive as the NEC for an intermediate amateur or a way to use the HP with a Mac?