Before purchasing a monitor for image editing, make sure it has the following features.

1. Brightness, contrast and red, green and blue channel colour adjustments.
If one or more of these controls is locked the monitor can’t be profiled. Adjustable colour controls allow you to set the colour balance of the display and ensure the monitor screen displays colours uniformly from edge to edge. Screens that are brighter towards the centre and darker at the edges (or vice versa) and those that display colour spots are unsuitable for image editing. Avoid monitors with built in anti-glare and anti-reflection filters that overlay the screen because they can suppress the displayed tonal range.

2. Adequate Resolution.
Resolution refers to the maximum number of pixels (picture elements) that the monitor can display and, therefore, to the amount of detail you can discern in displayed images. Buy the highest resolution you can afford. The ideal resolution for a widescreen monitor is between 1280 x 800 pixels and 1440 x 900 pixels. Standard 4:3 aspect ratio displays typically range between 1280 x 1024 pixels and 1920 x 1200 pixels.

3. Pixel Pitch.
The pixel pitch of an LCD is the distance between adjacent sets of the pixels that are displayed on the monitor screen, measured in mm. The lower the number, the sharper the picture the screen can display. A pixel pitch of 0.252 x 0.252 mm is seen as very good for a 22-inch monitor with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels.

4. Gamma Correction.
The gamma of a monitor screen refers to the luminance (or brightness) of the red, green and blue signals in the display. A monitor with 10-bit (or higher) gamma processing will display a smoother gamma curve and greater hue and tonal accuracy than an 8-bit monitor. Expect to pay a premium price for a monitor with high-bit gamma processing.

5. Display Colours.
The more colours the monitor can display, the greater its ability to reproduce subtle nuances in hues and tones accurately. The ideal editing monitor should support 1.07 billion colours.


Uneven brightness distribution, shown in the lower image, will prevent you from assessing image colours and tones correctly on the screen. (Source: Eizo.)


6. Adjustability.
The height and tilt of the monitor should be adjustable. Some photographers also prefer monitors that can be rotated through 90 degrees to allow vertical pictures to be viewed at full screen size.  

Finally, read the specifications and familiarise yourself with the manufacturers’ warranty.
This is an excerpt from Mastering Digital Photography 3rd Edition
Click here for more details on this and other titles in the Pocket Guide series.


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