A monitor is a monitor right? Well no, but trying to tell someone that a cheap sub £300 4K monitor isn’t great for photography can be a challenge.
As with any piece of hardware you have different specifications and models for different jobs, the old car analogy is probably the easiest; you wouldn’t race a Ford Fiesta in F1, OK primarily that just couldn’t happen but it would also be a completely pointless endeavour.
When it comes to monitors the argument isn’t quite as clear-cut as with cars. I’ve recently looked at a series of monitors from BenQ and have been impressed with the line-up especially when compared with some of the old monitors I have kicking around the office.
Checking out our Best monitor for photo editing: what to look for and what to buy in 2018, the feature highlights which monitors are leading the market and explains what we should be looking for.
The question, however, is why, when the price of seemingly like for like monitors that aren’t in this test can be purchased for so much less. Is there really that much difference?
I know from looking at countless monitors over the years that there is, but what are those differences, why are we telling you to spend more on an imaging monitor?
The best way to answer this was to fire a few questions over to the tech guys at BenQ and find out what they had to say.
You’ll find the answers to the first batch of questions below, but if you have any monitor related questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I’ll add them to the list.
Why do dedicated video and photo monitors cost so much more than standard monitors?
It is to do with the colour gamut (range) of the monitors and consistency of the colour from edge to edge. There are also considerations on monitor panel type and the panel’s ability to refresh data- this is important for video especially
What are the benefits of IPS monitors?
IPS monitors offer the widest colour gamut and best viewing angles. Some lesser panels may get a density shift when trying to view off axis
Is there a minimum monitor resolution that we should look for when buying for photo enhancement?
That is dependent on the requirements. However, the market is moving towards a QDH standard (2760 x 1440 pixels) which corresponds to the broadcast widescreen standard of 16:9 ratio
Is there a minimum monitor resolution that we should look for when buying for video editing?
There is a move towards 4k resolution for video capture. However, the common standard is 4k UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels)
How important is refresh rate?
Not important for photo editions, but more apparent in video editing. The shorter the refresh rate is (in ms – milliseconds) the less chance of video blur on fast-moving subjects
BenQ has an extensive range; could the cheaper 27-inch monitors be used for photo enhancement?
Yes, especially if we are talking about the SW range. Anything cheaper is more aimed at the business market and may not have the colour gamut
How often would you recommend a monitor is calibrated?
On average, every 3-4 week depending on the use and age of the monitors.
What key points should any photographer consider when looking for a new monitor?
Colour gamut, does the monitor come with a shading hood, does the monitor support the output connection from my computer, How much space they have, how much they want to spend