Best IPS Photo Editing Monitors for Photography 2013

Dell U2312HM Monitor - A good budget option for photo editors and graphic designers.
Dell U2312HM Monitor - A good budget option for photo editors and graphic designers.

People no longer want to just read words on a paper they want to see it and photographers tell a story that is rich in detail and meaning. Sometimes a photo comes out just right, but most of the time it takes tools, calibration, and editing to get a photo to look like you had it in your mind. In this post I'll review some of the top rated budget or entry level, mid range, and high-end IPS monitors for photography. We'll also discuss the importance of panel types, color gamut, resolution, proper calibration, and more.

A Monitor Term Guide for Photographers and Video Editors

IPS vs. TN Panel

While the difference between IPS or in-plane switching panels and TN or twisted nematic panels has narrowed over the last few years, there are still a few big differences that make an IPS panel ideal for photo editing.

One of the main reasons is that IPS panels can produce true 24 bit color and beyond. While there are many different panel types within the IPS realm, high-end versions of IPS displays can produce over 1 billion colors by adding additional lanes to each pixel. In addition to color accuracy IPS displays also give you consistent color accuracy across all viewing angles and clear images. While response times for IPS panel monitors are generally higher than TN panels, it's unnoticeable in most cases.

Twisted nematic panels have no more than 6 bits per RGB color for a total of 18 bits. This makes them unable to produce the 16.7 million colors required for 24 bit true color. While you may find a monitor here and there that claims to have 16.7 million colors, most of these are created by using a process called dithering. Dithering uses adjacent pixels in order to combine colors and simulate a shade of color. While TN panels are a great budget option for people browsing the web, watching movies, or playing games, they aren't accurate enough for those that are trying to match exact colors.

Color Gamut

Color gamut is basically all of the colors available to us that can be reproduced. Colors that can't be produced in a certain color gamut space are considered out of the gamut.

Calibration

If nearly perfect color accuracy is required, then calibration must be done with a monitor in order to achieve the desired results. While some monitors come pre-calibrated, it's still a good idea to use a good quality colorimeter along with software.

Budget IPS Monitors Under $200

Last year I began noticing a trend where 24" IPS monitors started to fall below $200. While these monitors certainly don't have the quality or color range of higher-end monitors, they are still good enough for many photographers that don't have to be super color critical. I've listed the 4 most popular budget IPS monitors I've come across in 2013 to the right.

What they have in common

All of these monitors have an IPS panel, give you full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution with 24 bit true color support.

Technical Details of Each:

Dell UltraSharp IPS U2312HM Review

Dell has a lot of different IPS monitors within its UltraSharp series so it can sometimes be confusing. The UltraSharp "HM" series is their less expensive series of models, but still offers a lot of value to consumers on a budget. This particular monitor has a lot of flexibility with tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjustment options. In addition connectivity is easy with 4 USB ports, a DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA connection.

ViewSonic VX2370SMH-LED IPS Monitor Review and Specs

Just last year this monitor would have cost you quite a bit more. With it's super clear IPS panel technology, and 30,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast ratio pictures have increased depth and clarity. In addition you get a D-Sub, DVI, HDMI connector, tilt adjustment, built-in speakers, 178°(H) / 178°(V) viewing angle, and a 3 year warranty.

ASUS VS239H-P IPS Monitor Review

Details for the VS239H-P include a Asus Smart Contrast Ratio of 50,000,000:1, 5ms gray to gray response time, D-Sub, DVI, HDMI, 100 x 100mm VESA compatibility, and a 3 year parts and labor warranty.

AOC IPS i2367Fh Details

Technical Details include a 60Hz refresh rate, 178°(H) / 178°(V) wide viewing angles, 0.265mm pixel pitch, 50,000,000:1 DCR, 5ms GTG response time, D-Sub, 2x HDMI, 2 x 2W built-in speakers, and a 3 year parts and labor warranty.

Dell UltraSharp U3011
Dell UltraSharp U3011

Top Rated IPS Panel Monitors for Photo Editing / Graphic Design 2013

If you're concerned more about quality than cash, then the monitors I've listed below should appeal to you. Many of these offer higher resolution and a have a wider color gamut for serious photo editors or those in graphic design.

One monitor I particularly like is the Dell UltraSharp U3011. It's a high quality 30 bit display which gives you a ton of screen real estate and over a billion colors to work with. While more recent versions have been released, they are still comparable with the U3011 - which costs significantly less.

Here's what one verified Owner had to say about it:

"This monitor has been the king of the professional IPS hill for years and for good reason. The backlight distribution is best in class, the color is factory calibrated and nearly flawless, and the bells and whistles of the unit make working with it a joy.

The backlight takes about a minute to warm up and 30 minutes to hit perfect color. This is a little slow but it's fine. Once warmed up, the backlight is bright but never too much for the panel. Contrast looks good even at 100%. The panel has great resolution and viewing angles, so sitting close is perfectly fine. Even from about 12 inches away, the image looks rich, uniform, and detailed all the way to the corners. This is normally a major irritation of mine with large displays used on a desktop."

What's the Best Brand or Manufacturer for Photo Editing Monitors

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I hope you've enjoyed this short review of the best photo editing monitors for 2013. Before going, please take the time to leave a comment below on any monitors you like this year or would recommend.

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