Lots of people use a computer to edit photos. The screen resolution is important because, with higher resolution, it will be easier to see the details in an image on your monitor. You’ll need a 4k monitor for photo editing, a high-resolution 4k monitor that has high color accuracy.
Here we will cover what options are available and how they compare to each other for photographers interested in making images look their best on the internet or printing photos.
Are 4k Monitors For Photo Editing worth it?
A 4k monitor is a big investment for photographers that want to edit their pictures on the screen. The size of the monitor is important because, with higher resolution, it will be easier to see the details in an image.
However, many monitors come up short in terms of accurate color accuracy when compared to other monitors on the market. If you want your images to look their best make sure your monitor meets the standard CGATS-BT.709 which most computer displays meet these days.
This standard has been developed by ITU with was standardized in 1990 and is what today’s HDTV’s use as well with most computer displays following this or some variation of it that ensures that both movie theatres and your home TV will show the same colors regardless of the manufacturer because they are all calibrated on this format.
Pricing and Pixels:
For photo editing, a 4k monitor with good color accuracy is important. Monitors vary in price from $300 to over $1000 depending on size and feature so be sure you do research before buying one.
Computer screen resolutions have been an ongoing race for pixel counts. Currently, Apple Macintosh computers have a Retina display which makes everything look sharp based on their PPI rating-it’s not an actual resolution but rather a density rating.
Each Apple Retina display is a different PPI which makes it difficult to compare directly against another monitor that uses an actual resolution. The average PPI for a computer screen that isn’t a retina display is around 96-100PPI which is what you see on phones, tablets and HDTVs.
A 4k monitor at 3840×2160 has an actual pixel resolution of 8.2MP or 4 times the pixel count from a typical 1920x1080p monitor because each pixel has four sub-pixels within them (8.2 million divided by 2) and this qualifies as ‘Retina’ based on their PPI rating but this might be too small if the person using the computer wants to view large prints.
Comparison of Monitors:
This article will compare a couple of the top-rated 4k monitors for photo editing. Some have better features than others and some are full-colour calibrated using software to provide an accurate PPI rating which is important if you want your monitor to match the colors from print photos or images from other sources. Also, many people consider the resolution as being PPI instead of just pixel count but don’t let that confuse things here.
PPI doesn’t mean anything without a defined unit of measures such as inches based on a certain distance like viewing it from a normal computer desk distance or viewing distances for TVs. The only way to accurately define pixels per inch is by making sure all units are represented where it comes to working computers because millimetres used alone tend to be considered pixel densities by many people.
If buying a 4k monitor, consider the space it will take up on your desk and the screen resolution that it offers. The better 4k monitors use an IPS panel to improve color accuracy from wide viewing angles compared to the TN panels which are not as good overall for photo editing usage.
The Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor has a very similar set-up but with a lower price tag at $500.00 making it one of the best deals in terms of price for performance. Just be sure to calibrate using their software after purchase if you want the best color accuracy.
Both of these monitors are full 4K meaning they have a true resolution of 3840×2160 and have an 8MP pixel resolution just like Apple’s retina displays but with better color accuracy when calibrated properly. Viewing distances are identical in that they are both considered ‘retina’ at normal viewing distances based on their PPI rating which is similar to most good HDTVs.
Because the pixels only use two sub-pixels instead of four, this causes some people to complain about seeing jagged lines on 2880×1620 or 2560×1440 monitors but not everyone can see them unless looking closely but for photo editing it’s better to have a full 4K monitor just in case.
The UltraSharp UP2715K by Dell has a standard PPI rating of around 111 which is considered an average viewing distance for most desktop computer usage, but it has Thunderbolt ports and 5K instead of 4K which looks smoother at the same size when viewing photos or videos.
Although their refresh rates are almost identical, Dell’s can be overclocked from 60Hz to 75Hz with the right video card while Samsung only allows this using an AMD video card not Nvidia based ones which might make a difference if you use that type of setup.
Samsung’s U28E590D 28-inch LED-Lit Monitor also comes with a 1-year warranty and is $500.00 which is $150 cheaper than Dell’s UltraSharp model. Both monitors have 60Hz refresh rates and both use TN panels to keep costs down which also keeps the price difference lower as well.
Both of these monitors for photo editing are fairly new and their prices should continue to drop but if you don’t mind spending more, Toshiba offers a 4k monitor that has fantastic color accuracy at 98% Adobe RGB compared to Samsung or Dell at 72% Adobe RGB and its name is the PX2770MW which can be found on Amazon and Newegg.
They do not list any technical specifications such as refresh rate or response time for this model but they do claim ‘4K UHD’ using an IPS panel for wide viewing angles and color accuracy.
The maximum brightness is 300 cd/m2 which is brighter than most other 4k monitors listed here but it does have an 8-bit panel instead of 10 bit for better color accuracy.
Because it uses a smaller pixel size than most other 4k monitors, its PPI rating is 137 making text look very sharp at typical viewing distances even though it doesn’t use the standard 36-inch distance used with TVs to measure their ‘retina’ quality pixels per inch ratings based on people’s ability to see them without zooming in or viewing them from less than 20 inches away.