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What Kind of Monitor Is Best for Photo Editing?

by Ledmond Team
A camera next to a laptop monitor for photo editing

Among the primary questions for all photographers (at least the serious ones) is: What kind of monitor is best for photo editing? Apart from a good quality camera, a monitor is one of the most important purchases a photographer will make. 

After all, the extent to which people will appreciate the quality of your photography greatly depends on the quality of your monitor. And only a good monitor can translate the photograph you took to print or website without compromising its quality.

A good monitor can mean different things for different photographers. Some would like a multi-functional monitor like those dreamy 4K TVs that can double up as monitors. Others may consider dimensions because sometimes size matters when it comes to monitors

Brand may be another aspect that defines the best monitor for photo editing for some photographers. So here are two questions to ask yourself before deciding on the best photo-editing monitor for you.

Laptop Monitor or PC Monitors: Which is better?

A laptop can do just as good a job as a PC, and both can share features that can enhance your photo-editing work. In fact, modern laptops are just as powerful as PCs. The difference comes when considering portability, cost, and ergonomics.

1. Portability

Photo editing laptops are obviously built for portability, allowing you to work on the go. In fact, you need a working laptop when working outside your location to increase your work efficiency. Plus, if you have an external graphics card, you can do nearly as much detailed work as you would on a PC. So, if portability is your top priority, a laptop monitor would be perfect for photo editing.

2. Cost

Alternatively, if portability is not your top concern for you, a desktop PC will do just fine. A laptop with the same specifications as a desktop PC usually costs more. Thus, you save money by choosing a PC monitor. Cost is not the only advantage. Laptops often have a shorter lifespan than desktops, making PCs more attractive. So when it comes to cost, PC monitors win.

3. Ergonomics

Photo-editing often takes several hours, and you need to be comfortable to endure those long working hours. Laptops are generally not designed ergonomically and often require support structures. For instance, if you want to raise it to eye level. On the other hand, desktops have various built-in ergonomic features that allow you to raise, pivot, swivel, or tilt the screen to your comfort. So ergonomically speaking, the desktop PC monitor beats out the laptop monitor.

People working on different monitor sizes
A small monitor will good resolution is better than a large monitor with poor resolution
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Screen Size: Is Bigger Always Better?

The simple answer is no; bigger is not always better when choosing photo-editing monitors. Of course, if you are working on a tiny screen struggling to see fine details, then a bigger screen will be necessary. 

However, screen size must match resolution; otherwise, a large screen with an inadequate resolution will display hazy images that are difficult to edit. 

When it comes to screen size, desktops have the upper hand since laptops need to maintain portability and therefore cannot be too large. Laptops usually reach a maximum of 17 inches, while desktops start from 19 inches. 

Further, it is easier to create multiple screens with desktops, giving you more working space. Regardless, when considering screen size for either laptop or desktop, you should also think about resolution, desk space, and budget.

1. Resolution 

Resolution refers to the exact number of pixels a monitor can display horizontally and vertically. For instance, a 640×480 resolution means that the monitor can display 640 pixels horizontally by 480 pixels vertically. Pixels are the building blocks of images displayed on a screen, so more pixels give a higher resolution. 

Pixel density (measured in pixels per inch – PPI) describes the number of pixels in one square inch of your screen.

Now, if you have a 24-inch screen with a Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, you will have a higher PPI and, therefore, a sharper image than with a full HD 27-inch monitor. Each monitor size comes with a recommended resolution. For example, full HD resolution (preferred by most photo editors) works for 24-inch monitors giving a 91 PPI. 

A WQHD resolution is best for 27-inch monitors, and if you prefer 4K resolution, monitors above 28 inches will do.

Laptops can give you the image clarity you need to work if you get the right resolution. However, desktops will give better performance because ultra-wide PC monitors with high resolutions give you excellent image clarity.  

2. Work Space

If you have already decided on a laptop, you obviously won’t need to worry about your workspace. However, if you want a desktop PC monitor, your workspace will be important, particularly with your monitor size. While a 27-inch PC monitor is perfect on a regular desk, you may need a larger desk for an ultra-wide monitor or multi-monitor set-up. 

There may be no room for a larger desk if you have a small workspace (like a cubicle). And even if you mount the larger screen on the wall, the space may still feel too cramped to work in comfortably. So, especially for small office spaces, consider your screen size carefully.

3. Budget

Generally, larger screens will cost more than smaller screens. Also, screens with higher resolutions will cost more than those with lower resolutions. As such, you should determine how much you are willing to spend before choosing your photo-editing monitor. 

Remember, some monitors may have the same specifications but cost more due to the brand’s popularity. You can get a decent monitor with great specs within a reasonable budget with a little search.

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