After all the lens, strobes and other photography accessories, it’s about time that you consider getting the right monitor that can render accurate colors. This is the stage when you’ll be raising your quality up another notch. Choosing the right monitor can sometimes be confusing given the many brands available and geeky specs.
First we need to understand why we need a good and reliable monitor. When we buy our photography gears, our intention is to get the highest possible quality in terms of sharpness, color, brightness and all. The effort would be senseless if you’ll assess your photo using a monitor that can’t render a quality at par with your gears.
Yes, there are hundreds of choices but once you get to set your requirement, you’ll end up with a few monitors for you to choose. For photo editing purpose, you need to consider the technology of the screen (NT, IPS, VA), bit depth, resolution and brightness. Note that given all the terrific features of the monitor, you need to calibrate in order to maximize it.
The best technology you can get is IPS. The other technology are made for consumer and gamer industry. There was a time when IPS was priced like a leica but advancement in manufacturing today made it more affordable. IPS means inter-plane switching. In laymans term, this allows you to view the image from a wider range of angles.
Non IPS monitor would start to shift color and brightness when you view it in a different angle. This limitation will confuse you on what angle displays the most accurate. A small tilt in your monitors position or even a change in your posture will affect the rendering of the image.
A typical monitor would give you 6-bit while a pro monitor would offer 8-bit. There are even monitors that can render up to 12-bit. Bit depth influences the number of color that the monitor can display. 6-bit will give you 262,144 colors while 8-bit renders 16.7M colors. Your camera can capture 12-bit and more colors.
The best way to measure the monitors colors is to calibrate it using a monitor calibrator. Normally, these calibrators will make a summary of the monitors performance in terms of color space compared to sRGB, ARGB and NTSC. Other ways is to check reviews over the net.
The resolution influences the sharpness of the display. Some manufacturer will try to offer you an IPS technology but drops the resolution in order for them to sell it cheaper. Sometimes, to drop the cost of a bigger screen, they use the same resolution for smaller screen.
A good resolution would be a 1920×1080 for monitors having a screen size of 24” The bigger the screen, the bigger the resolution should be. Also, check your video card if these resolutions are supported. Although for photo editing, we don’t need a faster response time which is most needed in movies and gaming.
I will continue this topic in the next article. I will also cover a little review on some monitors available locally. Keep on shooting everyone!
Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa