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Best Monitors for Photo Editing Under 500

by Ledmond Team
Photo editing monitor displaying different images

For newbies, students, and photographers on a tight budget, finding the best monitors for photo editing under 500 dollars is literally a gift. You see, a good quality monitor for photographers is just as important as having a quality, high-end camera. You could have taken some good pictures, but you need an excellent monitor that will afford you the precision and accuracy needed to move your picture quality from good to great. 

Such picture quality can only be achieved by a monitor built specifically for photo editing. Just as there are monitors made for programming and gaming, there are monitors made for photo editing. While a good quality monitor for photographers can be expensive, you can also find an affordable one that won’t skimp on features or quality output. Granted, at a $500 price point, you could land on some pretty bad monitors. However, if you know which specifications to look for, you could find some premium quality monitors under $500.

Top 7 Best Monitors for Photo Editing Under 500

1. Best Overall: LG 27UL500-W monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Brightness: 300 nit
  • Colour gamut: 98% sRGB

The best monitor for photo editing under $500 is the LG 27UL500-W monitor. The screen’s 4K Ultra-HD resolution coupled with its 27-inch size makes for a sharp and clear screen, excellent for photo editing. It has a high pixel density of 163 PPI for superior image quality that is easy on the eyes, and the 300-nit brightness level and a 1000:1 contrast ratio further sharpens the images. 

The IPS monitor with a 98% sRGB color gamut ensures consistent colors across the screen even with the wide viewing angles of 178 degrees horizontally and vertically. This budget-friendly, flicker-safe monitor comes with an anti-glare, matte finish that will protect your eyes. 

It also comes with color calibrated from the factory, but you can make further adjustments using the on-screen control. Regarding connectivity, there are two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and a headphone out port. This monitor comes with a so you can tilt the screen to your liking.

2. Best Budget: HP VH240a

Specifications

  • Screen size: 23.8 inches
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920×1080)
  • Brightness: 250 nit
  • Colour gamut: 72% sRGB

For a monitor selling at just $300, the HP VH240a comes with an impressive 72% sRGB color coverage and a 1000:1 static contrast ratio. The 23.8” IPS Full HD screen has a pixel density of 92.55 PPI, which is pretty good at that price point. 

The monitor has 178 degree wide viewing angles, both horizontally and vertically. It also has an anti-glare panel to protect your eyes through long hours of editing. The HP VH240a offers decent ergonomics including, a vertical tilt range of between 5° towards and 30° away from the user, a 360° swivel, and a pivot capability. 

You can also adjust the monitor height for your safety and comfort while working. This monitor comes with a detachable stand and can be mounted on the wall or attached to a movable arm. It also has VGA and HDMI ports with HDCP support.

3. Best Runner Up: Philip 278E1A Frameless Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Resolution:4K (3840×2160)
  • Brightness: 350 nit
  • Colour gamut: 109% sRGB, NTSC 91%

For all its features and functions, getting the Philip 278E1A Frameless Monitor at under $500 is quite a deal. Thanks to its 10-bit panel, the monitor has 109% sRGB color coverage meaning it covers all the standard RGB colors and includes a few more. Although the color accuracy is not as strong as with the LG 27UL500-W monitor, its IPS displays 178 degree wide viewing angles. 

The ultraclear 4K UHD resolution with a pixel density of 163 PPI makes for decent image and color accuracy. This monitor is fitted with SmartContrast technology that automatically adjusts color and backlight intensity. This adjustment helps to enhance contrast, especially when viewing darker images. 

The backlight adjustment is enhanced by its flicker-free technology to reduce visual fatigue. Its low blue mode setting reduces shortwave blue light to protect your eyes. It comes with a stand that allows a 5° tilt towards and 20°tilt away from the user. Lastly, it has an elongated slot for concealing cables and keeping the workspace neat.

4. Best Curved Monitor: Sceptre C248W-1920RN monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 24 inches
  • Panel type: VA
  • Resolution:Full HD (1920×1080)
  • Brightness: 250 nit
  • Colour gamut: 85% sRGB, 70% DCI-P3 

One of the highlights of the Sceptre C248W-1920RN monitor is its curved display. Its 1800R screen curvature causes images to appear like they are wrapping around you for an immersive experience that is beneficial for photo editing. The edgeless design, along with the full HD resolution, adds to this unmatched immersive experience. 

To protect your eyes, this monitor has an anti-glare surface treatment, a Blue Light Shift function that reduces blue light, and flicker-free backlit technology to reduce eye strain. The Sceptre monitor offers decent ergonomics as it can tilt 5° towards and 15° away from the user to ensure your comfort, especially for long working hours. 

It also has a detachable stand and a VESA wall mount provision to allow mounting on a wall or a movable arm. Concerning connectivity, the monitor has an HDMI port and a VGA port, which accelerate the refresh rate to 75Hz, and a 3.5mm output headphone jack.

5. Best Ultra-Wide: LG 34WP65C-B Curved UltraWide Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 34 inches
  • Panel type: VA
  • Resolution:WQHD (3440X1440)
  • Brightness: 300 nit
  • Colour gamut: 99% sRGB

If you think an ultra-wide monitor would be out of reach for under $500, then the LG 34WP65C-B Curved UltraWide Monitor just proved you wrong. This 34” monitor offers an impressive 21:9 screen ratio, which is 33% more screen space than a full HD resolution monitor. This makes multitasking easier and more efficient than on a smaller screen or even multiple screens. 

This anti-glare monitor offers a 178° viewing angle horizontally and vertically and a 300 nit brightness which provides visual clarity at any angle. The LG monitor has an HDR10 capability that provides nearly lifelike images and vibrant colors when combined with 99% sRGB color coverage. The curved display and the 3-side near borderless design enhance the immersive experience, which is excellent for photo editing. 

It’s easy to install it to its adjustable and detachable stand, from where it can tilt 5° towards and 20° away from the user. Obviously, you can also adjust it for preferred height. The monitor comes with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and a headphone out port.

6. Best Colour Quality: BenQ PD2700Q monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Resolution:QHD (2560X1440)
  • Brightness: 250 nit
  • Colour gamut: 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB

For the color purist on a tight budget, the BenQ PD2700Q monitor is the best photo editing monitor under $500. Its 100% Rec.709 and sRGB color coverage gives excellent color precision that is further sharpened by the IPS QHD screen. The non-reflective monitor includes eye care technology like Low Blue Light and a flicker-free feature to protect your eyes from strain and fatigue. 

For added comfort, the monitor can swivel 45° to the left or right, pivot at 90°, tilt 5° to and 20° away from the user, and be adjusted for height up to 130mm. The BenQ monitor comes with various features to enhance your photo editing experience. One such feature is the Darkroom mode that adjusts brightness and contrast when working in a dark space. 

Others include DualView mode and CAD/CAM that can show two windows side-by-side to improve your productivity, and Animation mode that enhances dark areas without overexposure of bright regions. It also has great connectivity with HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, USB Type B (Upstream), and USB 2.0 (Downstream).

7. Best Professional: EIZO Flex Scan EV2450FX-BK Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 23.8 inches
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Resolution:1080p (1920×1080)
  • Brightness: 250 nit
  • Colour gamut: 99% sRGB

Professionals generally prefer Eizo monitors, and that goes for the EIZO Flex Scan EV2450FX-BK Monitor. Eizo’s IPS panel is an LG panel, so you have guaranteed excellent color quality. The LED backlight and the rest of the monitor are made in Japan. This LCD panel has a 178-degree viewing angle that gives uniform color and contrast regardless of visual angles. 

The monitor has an Auto EcoView sensor that detects ambient brightness and adjusts the screen accordingly to protect your eyes. This works in tandem with the flicker-free and Paper Mode features that reduce blue light, preventing eye fatigue. The Eizo’s sleek design features the thinnest bezels, which create a seamless look when using multiple monitors. 

It is quite ergonomic as you can adjust the height up to 140mm, rotate the screen 90, swivel at 344, and tilt it on its stand at 5° and 35°. Connectivity is great with HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, and two USB 3 ports. This power-saving eco-friendly monitor comes with a no-stress 5-year warranty covering everything plus the LCD panel.

What to Check While Buying the Best Monitors for Photo Editing Under 500

High-end monitors can offer unmatched picture clarity and quality when editing photos. They have the hardware, native software, and plenty of ports to support top-grade photo editing work. That is not to say that you can’t still get some great quality photo editing monitors under $500. You just need to look out for a few important things like:

1. Colour Space

In general, the range of colors displayed by a monitor is described as a percentage of color space, e.g., 35% sRGB or 50% AdobeRGB. The two-color spaces available are the standard one (sRGB) and the Adobe color space (AdobeRGB). The standard color space can only show 35% of the colors our human eyes can see, while the Adobe color space gets to about 50%. Most photo editing professionals will go for the maximum sRGB (100%) and the highest AdobeRGB they can get for richer color quality.

2. Panel Type

Panels are important as they are the interface on which you do the actual editing work. You have four main choices of panels: Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels, In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels, and Super IPS panels. TN panels are the most affordable but could distort your images, so you should go for an IPS or Super IPS panel. They have accurate color rendition and wide viewing angles, even though they are more expensive than the TN and VA panels.

3. Resolution

Resolution is a critical feature, whether you are looking for the best laptop monitors for photo editing or a desktop monitor. Clear and sharp images are essential for any photographer to gauge the effectiveness of their editing accurately. Resolution is indicated as the number of pixels in the vertical and horizontal column, and the more pixels you have, the greater the clarity. For photo-editing displays you have resolutions of 1024×768, 1920×1080(Full HD), 1920×1200, 2560×1440 (QHD), and 3840×2160 (4K). Under $500, you will likely get Full HD resolution which is reliable and energy-efficient.

4. Screen Size

After long hours of editing, you will quickly find out that bigger screens are much better than smaller ones. Before you go buying a massive monitor, you should know that larger screens take up more space, and you will need higher resolution to see your images clearly. So about 27 inches makes for a good screen size, and there are plenty of 27-inch monitors for photo editing that can give you value for money and help you do quality work.

Best Monitors for Photo Editing Under 500 FAQ

1. Can I use a gaming monitor for photo editing?

Yes, but there is a catch. Most gaming monitors have high-quality resolution and panels that offer stunning color vibrancy and contrast. This vibrancy and contrast bring games to life on the screen, which are useful features for photo and video editing. 

The only challenge is that many gaming monitors come with a glossy finish on their screen, affecting your viewing clarity. On the other hand, photo editing monitors come with a matte finish that has an anti-glare effect that makes working easily on your eyes.

2. Is it necessary to calibrate my monitor?

If you care to get the best output, then yes, it is. As soon as you take your monitor out of the box, you should calibrate the color. You can choose to use the ‘Calibrate Display Colour’ tool on Windows or go to a website with test images that you can use to calibrate your monitor manually. 

A more effective way is to get a calibration device that, along with your monitor’s native software or open-source software, will automatically calibrate your monitor. Calibration will ensure that your images look good even on other devices that may not be calibrated.

3. Is an IPS monitor good for photo editing?

Absolutely. In fact, In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitors offer superior color accuracy, image quality, and viewing angles compared to other panels. This makes them the best kind of monitor for photo editing. You will have to pay more for this superior quality, but it is well worth the extra expense for this kind of performance. Further, since IPS monitors use LCD technology, they are much better for your ocular health.

4. Ultra-Wide monitors or Widescreen monitors?

This will depend on what kind of work you want to do and your budget. Widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while for ultrawide monitors, it is 21:9. This means for the same height, you get a much wider screen which gives more working space. 

As such, you can open multiple windows and see all your tools neatly placed on the edges of your workspace. Some people will use multiple monitors to achieve this, but an ultra-widescreen with the right resolution can easily solve that problem.

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