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12-20-2019, 07:09 AM   #1
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How to evaluate a monitor for online purchase

Looking at eventually upgrading my monitor, I haven't found any easy way to evaluate the performance of a monitor for photography, without seing it in shop. Unfortunately, B&M shops have less choice than online shops. And it is not possible to see how a monitor render before purchasing online. In B&M shop I have seen some monitors but there rending did not necessarily correlate with the specs, so I find risky to buy online from looking a specifications online. There isn't any monitor review here or other photography / camera related sites. What are the key specs of a monitor to look at, definitions, where to find them?

12-20-2019, 07:21 AM   #2
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The best thing to do is on-line research. Try here: Best affordable monitors for photo editing [2020 Guide]
and here: Best Under $500 Budget Photo and Video Editing Monitor 2019 | TurboFuture

and while you're at it, look into getting a monitor profiling/calibration tool like this: amazon.com : X-Rite ColorMunki Display (CMUNDIS) : Point And Shoot Digital Cameras : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&

The products from X-Rite are well supported and last a LONG time!
12-20-2019, 07:34 AM   #3
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Personally the gamut output is a deal maker/baker for me. For some people the contrast ratio and brightness also count.
I would advice Eizo brand, it never let me down.
12-20-2019, 08:20 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Looking at eventually upgrading my monitor, I haven't found any easy way to evaluate the performance of a monitor for photography, without seing it in shop. Unfortunately, B&M shops have less choice than online shops. And it is not possible to see how a monitor render before purchasing online. In B&M shop I have seen some monitors but there rending did not necessarily correlate with the specs, so I find risky to buy online from looking a specifications online. There isn't any monitor review here or other photography / camera related sites. What are the key specs of a monitor to look at, definitions, where to find them?
This website:
Panel Search Tool - TFT Central
is a good source to find out what type of panel is in any given monitor.
Cheap panels are generally TN panels and are at best a 6 bit colour range and aren't much good for more than stenography.
The best ones are IPS panels, I believe H-IPS is the cream of that type, with those and MVA panels being the best there is.
Look for high gamut, the better panels will be hitting 95% or more of Adobe RGB colour gamut, and high contrast ratio.
I suspect that any IPS panel is going to be a good monitor.
I have used Eizo monitors and have liked them. I am using a Lacie monitor with is very good but takes quite a while to warm up, and a higher end NEC monitor which I am very happy with.

12-20-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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Dell brand of IPS monitors are supposed to be the best, but unless you buy refurbished, they are quite expensive.


I have an HP IPS monitor it wasn't expensive and it does what I want it to do but mine is calibrated to suit me. As has been suggested by a calibration tool. I use Datacolor Spyder4 Pro. But they are no longer sold, you need Spyder5 or newer. This gadget it more expensive than X-Rite.
12-20-2019, 10:34 AM   #6
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I agree with the other posters, based on my own experiences. High gamut and IPS are the way to go. Definitely read reviews of the candidate monitors in your price range, and find a calibration solution that works for you.

Here's another monitor guide to consider; this website helped guide me to my current monitor, which has been very good so far: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/monitor-buying-guide,5699.html
12-20-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Choose the size you want 24" or 27" (or bigger) of an IPS or a VA panel, colour space 100% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB, if the output of your photography is only on-screen work then a 100% sRGB is suitable, Displayport 2.0 for at least 60Hz at 4K resolution (HDMI 2.0 or 2.1), or indeed a 2K screen would be suitable. I prefer nVidia graphics and desktop machines, check that the graphics card outputs to the requirements of the screen. If only using onboard graphics then check that the motherboard has the right connections to work at the given rates that the screen needs. As far as screen size and resolution goes don't choose a low ppi screen go for one that has a higher ppi count.

Brands to loot at: Benq, Asus, Eizo.
That would be a good start. Hope this helps.

12-20-2019, 02:02 PM   #8
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For photography, the "PD" line from BenQ is very nice PD2700 or similar i believe they have 24" at 1080p, 27" at 2k and 4k, and 32" at 4k

More affordable the wide monitor from LG, are IPS with 100% sRGB (not AdobeRGB)
12-20-2019, 09:54 PM   #9
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I have found TFT Central very helpful also.
TFT Central - LCD Monitor Information, Reviews, Guides and News
12-21-2019, 02:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Dell brand of IPS monitors are supposed to be the best, but unless you buy refurbished, they are quite expensive.
Dell make good to very good monitors but they are typically neither the best nor very expensive (for what they deliver).

Your description fits Eizo much better than it fits Dell.

I'd recommend Eizo for those with the funds. For those who don't want to spend quite as much, Dell certainly sometimes offers attractive options.
12-21-2019, 05:41 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I would look out for a monitor with explicit factory calibration, such as NEC PA series, the EIZO C-series are likely overkill, but also their EV-series is usually well calibrated in sRGB and have a 10bit color look-up table, meaning low banding tendency, Dell's UntraShap series has PremierColor Wide-Gamut models which come with a factory calibration (and individual report), also Asus has some explicitly calibrated monitors (ProArt series), HP DreamColor series is on par with EIZO's C-series, also price-wise but some of the mid-range office models also come with good sRGB calibration. There are lots of alternatives, but those are the bigger ones that come to my mind with long-time experience and a range of models with consistent performance.
12-21-2019, 06:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Dell make good to very good monitors but they are typically neither the best nor very expensive (for what they deliver).

Your description fits Eizo much better than it fits Dell.

I'd recommend Eizo for those with the funds. For those who don't want to spend quite as much, Dell certainly sometimes offers attractive options.
I said "supposed to be" that was not written in stone and since it was a few years ago (maybe 10 years) they were expensive for someone living on a fixed income. I never owned one, and never had an IPS panel until this year.
12-21-2019, 04:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
...In B&M shop I have seen some monitors but there rending did not necessarily correlate with the specs...
Most monitors (and TVs) in stores have subpar settings. Store employees sometimes don't bother to adjust settings, or they add too much saturation, or customers have screwed with the settings.

I've had good luck with Dell's Ultrasharp series for photo editing (as well as for general usage and gaming). IMO, 2560x1440 resolution (aka Quad HD) is enough if you are sitting at typical computer distance from a 27" or less screen; 4K isn't required.

Here's a detailed article on selecting a monitor How to Buy the Best PC Monitor: Gaming, Professional and More | Tom's Hardware
12-21-2019, 08:25 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
I would look out for a monitor with explicit factory calibration, ...
Yes, that's a good point.

These days, I would also want to insist on a hardware LUT and colour compensation (to achieve homogeneous colour reproduction levels and brightness levels across the screen).

As you point out, many companies offer very good monitors which is partly owed to the fact that they are using the same panels, e.g., made by LG. However, even when two monitor models share the same panel, there can still be important differences. Sometimes certain modes are messed up because the gamma curve isn't applied correctly within them, etc. Therefore, it is always worth trying to read an in-depth review of a particular monitor model one is considering (and the typical YouTube "review" does not count as "in-depth" ).
12-27-2019, 11:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Most monitors (and TVs) in stores have subpar settings. Store employees sometimes don't bother to adjust settings, or they add too much saturation, or customers have screwed with the settings.

I've had good luck with Dell's Ultrasharp series for photo editing (as well as for general usage and gaming). IMO, 2560x1440 resolution (aka Quad HD) is enough if you are sitting at typical computer distance from a 27" or less screen; 4K isn't required.

Here's a detailed article on selecting a monitor How to Buy the Best PC Monitor: Gaming, Professional and More | Tom's Hardware
Yes, going by store displays is problematic; salespeople turn up the brightness and saturation to produce that "Wow!" factor that gets shoppers' attention. That's one of the reasons that plasma televisions died off; they simply couldn't pump out as many pixels as the LCD/LED sets alongside them. By all means, calibrate that monitor as soon as you get it home!
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