View Full Version : Good monitor for photography in 2018?

30-06-2018, 12:31pm
I currently have an LG IPS LED monitor (27" resolution 1920x1080 - resolution is probably not ideal for the size of the monitor). I also have a Spyder 5 for colour calibration. My desktop is an HP Envy - which is getting a bit long in the tooth, which means the graphics capabilities aren't that crash hot. I don't like using the laptop when processing photos because they are too small. Default colours are also dodgy, but that's sorted with mine because of the Spyder. What's not sorted is the colour on the monitor. When I do a calibration I have a few issues with the monitor:

The Spyder wants the white balance set to blinding
No matter what the calibration does, the monitor ignores the profile

I don't know if these are deficiencies in the Spyder, the monitor, or both. (Or the operator! :D )

So, I'm looking for a recommendation for a current model monitor that's good for photography. Not the Eizo's - they're out of my price range at the moment, something a bit more reasonably priced.

30-06-2018, 1:04pm
Would these instructions help in any way? https://www.damiensymonds.net/calibration.html
BenQ https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/monitors/benq/benq-bl2711u-27-4k-uhd-100-srgb-professional-monitor/351969/

30-06-2018, 1:32pm
Thanks for the info Graham. I've had a quick scan through the Damien Symonds page and I'll have a look in more detail later, but it doesn't mention anything about what happens with the white point when calibrating with Spyder. Briefly, while calibrating it tells you to set the brightness so that it falls between two points. Unfortunately, that range is far too high to work with reasonably (hence the "blinding" comment earlier). I'll have a play some more tonight (I do most of my processing at night so that's the time it gets calibrated).

With the Benq monitor you linked to, do you have this monitor? I'm wondering whether a 4K monitor is going to work with my current laptop. I already have issues with some things because of the graphics capability - eg. I can't do the Google Earth web version because my graphics card isn't compatible.

30-06-2018, 2:47pm
No I don't have that monitor, but Mark Galer was extolling its virtues recently. I have the GW2765, and when I go back to a 23" monitor I find I much less pleasing. You would have to check on the specifications for the laptop graphic to see if it will handle that resolution. Mine is a 2560*1440 resolution. Are you using windows 10? I'm not sure about former versions but in the Control panel, under display there should be an advanced display settings under there is display adapter properties and then in colour management you should be able to set the default profile, I think in colour management advanced tab. Someone with more skills in this must come along soon and give you better advice than I can, I very much an amateur.

John King
30-06-2018, 3:35pm
Dell make an aRGB 25" with a 12 bit panel. 2560x1440. IPS. HDMI/Display Port. USB 3 hub incorporated.

Close to absolutely perfect calibration out of factory.

My friend just bought one for AUD 580. Looks terrific.

This one, but a better price ...


Better price here:


Add freight and insurance. Roughly $630 delivered.

30-06-2018, 5:01pm
Without knowing a price range as the budget. it's hard to recommend any specific device.

In general tho(ie. in an overall sense) I'd say stick with a higher priced LG or Samsung .. mainly because they genreally make the best screen hardware(ie. the actual LEDs or LCDs that show up on your screen the visuals that you look at).

NEC can and do make their own screens, but Eizo use either/or(that is, and Eizo is not really an Eizo .. it's just a hot rodded LG or Samsung.
Same with Apple and Dell(two other well known brands).

if you're PC hardware is old (or low) tech, you may have to find out exactly how old or low tech it is before you commit to a new screen, especially if 4K is something you want.

On the hardware side you have what's called a graphics chip, or GPU. This could be an external card, or a built in chip(on the motherboard), or it could a a frankenstein version of both(ie. a hard installed addon card that you can't remove .. as in how many high end laptops will be made)

On a PC, it makes no difference which type it is, and even tho you think you can't .. I can guarantee that you can change it yourself .. on your desktop.
I've opened enough mid to low priced laptops now to assume that they all have non user replaceable GPUs.

So on your laptop, I think you'll strike out. Can't say for sure, but 99% likelyhood that you won't run a 4K screen on your laptop.
On your desktop tho, you may be in the situation where you can't run a 4K screen now, but with a few dollars more .. you can.
Only caveat to this is if the rest of the hardware is simply so old that it won't physically take a more modern GPU card. And it's very unlikely that it won't take a GPU card at all. They do exist, but are really really reallly cheap end products sold for corporate environments.

So my advice is:
before you commit to a 4K screen, find out the specific hardware setup of your PC. That is, which exact model HP Envy. Or better still, find out what individual hardware items it uses.
Is it a Windows 10 operating system? reason for this question is the different way to locate all the required info on the hardware. if you can find the exact model number of the Envy PC, someone(at least myself) can look into what hardware specs they used for it.

eg. I'm currently looking at a HP Envy 730-530qd, this one has integrated GPU(or graphics chip). Most likely won't run 4K screen. It may, but it may only do so at 30fps refresh rate, which is subpar. You want it at 60(or 59) fps refresh rate for the image to look crisp!
But looking at the $200 less expensive Envy 795-0030qd, it gives you options to customise it with a high end GPU(ie. add on GPU card). Even the lowest spec add on GPU for that Envy model will run 4K at 60fps(remembering this is the minimum recommendation for 4K).
So with the lowest spec add on GPU, the 795 Envy is still a bit cheaper than the older(out of stock) 730 model.

Personally I would refrain from updating the entire desktop just for better graphics .. you simply need a capable and compatible 'add on' GPU card. Approx $100-ish.
Not any add on GPU card is enough tho, and the old saying you get what you pay for is quite accurate in this space.

you usually have two options, one will be an nVidia based GPU and the other is the AMD(formerly Radeon) based GPU.
I find Radeons more flexible in terms of price, for given set of specs.

eg. you can get cheap nVidia cards(less than $100) but are only good at 2560x1600 resolution(ie. well below 4K). if you get that card because you're tied to a strict budget .. you won't get 4K(maybe at 15 or 30fps .. but really .. you don't bother with such hacks).
then you find nVidia's next level cards, but they cost over double .. more like high $100's, closet to $200 .. there's not much 'in between' choices! Here you have the nVidia 1050 GPU chip type. Not only does it give you 4K resolution, but it gives you double that.
ie. you can run 2 x 4K screens concurrently. Personally I can imagine this in my future .. but6 not for a very long time. (I currently run one 4K and a 1980HD screen at the same time)

So back to the card price specs level issue above.
The nVidia 1050 accessory will cost minimum $175(up from $65 for the cheaper model), so you have a set amount of overkill dollars being wasted if you don't run(or don't ever intend to run) 2 x 4K screens. Do you want or need this added expense?

AMD on the other hand make basic affordable $100 add on GPU cards. Not as powerful as the $175 nVidia 1050 model addon, but their $100 '560' model GPU card fits the bill perfectly(I think).

** note the GPU model numbers don't directly correlate between AMD and nVidia. That is AMD 560 is better than nVidia 700 series GPU.
** also note that 2560x1600 res isn't a bad system, and some good screen can be had with those resolution specs .. but it isn't 4K(with 4K being the more common 3840x2160 system)

So for $65 you get an addon GPU that won't ever do 4K(the 700 series nVidia) and for $100(or 103 from my research) will get an AMD 560 GPU that will do 4K. And for $175 you can get a nVidia 1050 GPU that will do 4K twice over. is the additional $75 worth the possibility that you may want a seond 4K screen?
This is the way I always rationalise my parts purchases.

in terms of monitor, no point in offering advice, as there is a good chance that the one I recommend is about $1000 above your budget .. so give a budget first and maybe the advice will follow.
A few points tho, you may hear advice that you should get an 'IPS' screen. While in a manner of speaking, this is true, it's not 100% entirely accurate.
IPS is just a technology type. Really doesn't matter what it means, but it does make for good photography related monitors.
But IPS is a technology that is that is trademarked by one particular company. So for other screen makers to make IPS screens, it cost them a royalty to do so. And the consequence of that is that other technologies emerge trying to bypass the royalty paying issue.

So IPS is good, but it's no better than PLS or now AHVA. IPS is simply the older tech used a lot more .. so it's common and people know it .. hence recommend an 'IPS' screen.

My main screen is PLS, which is not IPS, but in a way it is. PLS is Samsungs' answer to the Hitachi IPS technology .. that's all.
There are more important other specs to look for in a screen.

30-06-2018, 7:23pm
Thanks Arthur ... and wow! Detailed response.

Okay - so, first the budget. If I'm going to get a new monitor, then I would probably want to pay no more than about $800 which apart from the Eizo's I would consider to be a reasonably high-priced monitor.

The "if" is because I'm beginning to think I might have a reasonable monitor but the reason it's not working with Spyder is that the graphics card can't handle it.

So, to the laptop. Specs:

HP Envy TS 15
Intel core i7-4700MQ CPU @ 2.4 GHz
Ram 16GB
Windows 10 version 1803, build 17134.112 (pending an update as of today)
Nvidia GeForce GT 740M
Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600 (which doesn't have any option for multiple displays)

I bought the laptop in late 2013 so it's getting on for five years old. I extended its life 12-18 months ago by swapping the disk drive for a SSD. It made a huge difference to the performance of it!

30-06-2018, 9:31pm
OK. $800 we can work with easily.

Obvious choice here would be the Dell U2718Q(I think about $800 or so). You get them on special every now and then. Keep an eye out.
Note the one I refer too is the U2718Q, not the UP2718Q(which is super duper .. I think HDR or some shi.... stuff ... like that. U2718Q 4K good screen apparently.

The GT 740M on the laptop won't cut it for 4K.
You can't update it either.

I also got confused thinking that the 'HP Envy' was the desktop PC.
But it turns out that it's the laptop. So it appears you're using the HP laptop as your desktop :confused:
Then I assume you turn it into a deskptop by connecting the laptop to the LG screen, for the biggerer, better-ness of the LG screen compared to the dinky laptop screen?

Either way, laptop GPUs aren't like a desktop where you can update them. They're integrated onto the mainboard.
So, if the above situation is the case, then at this point I'd say don't bother with the new screen.

It's going to be hard to determine the exact issue with your laptop screen's colour issue, but I'm guessing that it's simply due to it being a laptop screen! ;)