Is a Curved Monitor Good for Photo Editing?


Perhaps inspired by the success of curved TV screens, manufacturers began churning out curved computer monitors. The entry of curved monitors into the market then begged the question: is a curved monitor good for photo editing? There have even been studies to investigate if curved displays would become mainstream and how they fare compared to flat monitors. Curved monitors offer an additional screen option for photo editors, but are they worth it?

But First, A Few Facts About Curved Monitors

Curved monitors vary based on their curvature measured as a radius in millimeters. Curvature specs range from 1800R up to 4000R which shows how sharply a curved screen is. A monitor with a lower curvature rating will have a deeper curve, while a higher curvature rating will be indicated for more subtly curved monitors. Since the human eye has a curved peripheral view, curved monitors make viewing images and text on the screen more comfortable.

This curvature measure also determines how far you should stand from the screen for an optimal viewing experience. For instance, a monitor with a 1800R curvature has a radius measure of 1800 millimeters (1.8 meters). This means that you should be positioned no farther than 1.8 meters (approx. 5.9 feet) away from the screen for a clear viewing experience. Depending on office space and your kind of photo editing work, curvature measures will help decide if a curved monitor is good for you.

Benefits Of Curved Monitors For Photo Editing

Here are some unique benefits that curved monitors can offer to enhance the quality and efficiency of your photo editing work.

1. Curved Monitors Offer An Immersive Viewing Experience

Curved monitors have a way of making the images on the screen more realistic and that you are right in there with them. This immersive viewing experience is the top reason anyone, particularly photo editors, would choose curved monitors. With flat monitors, the screen edges tend to be out of focus for our peripheral vision, requiring great focus and energy to view every detail. You would have to move your eyes all around the screen to focus on different aspects of your images.

Curved monitors work with your curved peripheral vision allowing you to get a complete view of the screen without moving your eyes. This means you can spend less time seeing and focusing on every detail and simply ‘get lost’ in the curved monitor screen. Also, since we see in 3D, a curved monitor offers a more natural viewing experience than a flat monitor. This further adds to the curved monitor’s realistic and immersive viewing experience.

2. Curved Monitors Are Easier On The Eyes

Size is an important consideration among the best monitors for photo editing under $500. Larger screens are best for photo editing as they give more workspace that allows for multitasking and higher work efficiency. One drawback to large flat screens is the loss of some image sharpness, resulting eye strain. Considering the long hours often needed for photo editing, this eye strain can add up and affect one’s efficiency and output quality.

Curved monitors offer some relief in this regard. As the closest approximation to how our eyes naturally view images, curved monitors are easier on the eyes. Since curved screens engage our peripheral vision, you spend less energy refocusing our eyes on various points on the screen, which will greatly reduce eye fatigue. With a lower incidence of eye fatigue, there will be higher productivity and efficiency in your photo editing work.

3. Curved Monitors Have Less Distortion

We can’t emphasize the importance of image clarity in photo editing work. If you cannot see every aspect of the photograph, how can you do an excellent editing job that will bring out the true quality of your photography? Large, flat monitors are common culprits for image distortion, particularly along the screen edges. This is because flat screen images are projected in straight lines, some of which go past the viewer.

Curved monitors also have some incidences of image distortion, especially when enlarging images on the screen. However, their image distortion is significantly less when compared to flat monitors. Their curved screens aim all their images towards the eye, minimizing image distortion. So for excellent output and ease of work, curved monitors beat flat monitors hands down.

a curved monitor in a black and grey working area
Curved monitors have less image distortion compared to flat monitors

Drawbacks Of Curved Monitors For Photo Editing

Curved monitors are not perfect and do have some disadvantages for photo editing.

1. Curved Monitors Are Expensive

Compared to flat monitors of the same size and specification, curved monitors are more expensive. In fact, curved monitors are a rare feature among the best monitors for photo editing under $200. This higher cost is due to their unique construction that offers all the above benefits. So you will have to decide whether the additional cost is worth it when choosing between a flat and curved monitor.

2. Curved Monitors Are Prone To Glare

Exposure to luminance from glare can negatively affect your eye health, so it is important to prevent glare as much as possible. Any monitor screen is prone to experiencing glare due to ambient lighting. However, curved monitors are much more prone to glare than their flat counterparts. This is especially true in a workspace with multiple light sources that will cause glaring at different spots across the curved screen. As such, you will have to work with most or all of your ambient lights switched off.

3. Curved Monitors Have Limited Viewing Angles

One valuable quality of the best PC monitors for photo editing is wide viewing angles. Flat monitors, particularly those with in-plane switching (IPS) panels, offer wide screen-viewing angles of up to 178° horizontally and vertically. Not so for curved monitors. To experience all the benefits of its curvature, you would have to sit while facing the center of your screen; otherwise, your image quality will be highly degraded.

Conclusion

Curved monitors have many benefits to offer photo editors, which seem to outweigh the drawbacks. However, the choice remains yours based on your budget limitations and preferred specifications. 

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