Monitor for photo editing


(Assaf Toledo) #1


I’m trying to decide between two 27" monitors - one is a 4K (3840 x 2160) monitor that covers only sRGB and the other is a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) monitor that covers Adobe RGB. Both monitors are of high quality, with an IPS panel and 10-bit engine. For the sake of the discussion, let’s assume that they only differ in their resolution and color space coverage.

I plan to use the monitor for RAW development and photo editing, with the goal of exporting for the web - social media, email, mobile apps, etc. I print very rarely and when I do it’s at a consumer-level camera shops.

Based on what I’ve read, this type of use means that the advantage of a wider gamut monitor will come into play only when I’m developing/editing the photos. Because once they are exported, they are compressed to sRGB. If I had printed more seriously I could have exported with a wide-gamut printer in mind, but I’m not. Photography is a hobby for me.

Currently I’m using a low res sRGB monitor, so it’s a little hard for me to value the gain in higher resolution compared to wider gamut. I assume that I would appreciate both, but not sure which one would be more useful.

I’d be glad to hear what other people think - whether for a use case like mine the benefits of higher resolution take over wider gamut or vice versa.


(Mica) #2

What’s the price difference between the two?

(Assaf Toledo) #3

It’s negligible. They are both around 600$…


the 4k sRGB :eggplant:

For the type of work you’re doing, I bet the extra space and tight resolution will be much much more useful over a wider colour gamut. Both 10 bit… easy. Calibration {common children, let’s all visit mr caliber :cookie:}


Another vote for 4K sRGB.

It’s good to be able to see your images on 8 megapixels of screen instead of only 4.

(Damon Lynch) #6

What if the uniformity is rubbish on the 4k screen? It’s not unlikely given the problems with uniformity on models that cost twice as much e.g the $1,200 - $1,400 32 inch 4K Adobe RGB models from HP and Dell.

(Assaf Toledo) #7

For the sake of the discussion let’s assume that both screens have similar uniformity characteristics.


Are you actually looking for advice, or are you just polling opinions? If you know all the details about the monitors just tell what brand and model it is. This is just silly.

(Assaf Toledo) #9

Both. I’m not experienced enough to value higher resolution compared to wider gamut. So I’m asking for other people’s opinion and advice.

[quote=“houz, post:8, topic:2633”]
If you know all the details about the monitors just tell what brand and model it is.[/quote]
I have several candidates but honestly I don’t think the rest of the technical details are relevant for the discussion. I’m asking for other people’s opinion about resolution vs. gamut.

I don’t think so. But if you find this silly you don’t have to participate.

(David Oliver) #10

Based on your intended use I also suggest going for resolution over colour gamut, as long as the colour coverage and quality is good within the sRGB range.

Photography is also merely a hobby for me but I happen to have a wider range gamut monitor. (I didn’t even realise until I started looking into photography-related setup.) However, I run it in its sRGB mode rather than full gamut to avoid having to worry about colour profiles, etc., when all I usually want to do is to process for home viewing and online sharing.

I gather that the extra saturation afforded by AdobeRGB, for example, is only generally relevant when you have colours that need to be very saturated.

(Christian Kanzian) #11

Interesting topic.
I’m not an expert, but I’ve order a 4k and a QHD 27" Monitor from Dell this year for the office. For me QHD and 27" is fine, because especially older programs have no troubles in scaling. On 4K the images look sharper thats true, but:

At what resolution are you exporting?
I guess on 4K most of the websides need a upscale, otherwise everthing looks thiny. Eg. if I export images from darktable to fb they get downscaled to something like 2 048px × 1 283px.

What about RAW-processing speed on a 4K monitor? Does this matter for programms like darktable or RawTherapee?

I would tend to a monitor that covers Adobe RGB and put the resolution on the second place.

(Assaf Toledo) #12

For sharing I normally export at 2Kx2K max (depending on the longer side). I like the 4:3 and 5:4 proportion but sometimes I go wider. For my own viewing I would use a higher resolution in order to take full advantage of the monitor. But yeah, I see what you mean about scaling. Thanks.

Interesting question, I guess it would, as there is more data to send to the display adapter. But I’m going to have a new high-spec computer so I hope this won’t be a problem. Thanks for sharing your opinion.


[quote=“pk5dark, post:11, topic:2633, full:true”]
What about RAW-processing speed on a 4K monitor? Does this matter for programms like darktable or RawTherapee?[/quote]
My experience on the 13 inch macbook pro is that processing speed is significantly affected. This is plausible to me, since there is basically a larger number of pixels to rendered by the processing pipeline in order to display the result. For editing I often switch to a lower resolution.

IMHO, a high resolution is nice for viewing images, but there is very few benefit in terms of processing.

(Pat David) #14

Unless you plan on buying and using a device to profile and calibrate your display the issue is moot. You may also be surprised to find the actual level of colorspace coverage once you do. I would rather have strong colorspace coverage (and stability) over a higher pixel count.

I can always zoom into my images.
I cannot magically create a wider color representation.

So I would err on the side of a wider gamut first…

(Damon Lynch) #15

Plenty of practical advice here:

Look in the Dell monitor forums for user insights if you’re thinking about a Dell, because some end users are sophisticated and experienced. Dell makes fine monitors (I now own one myself) but that doesn’t mean that their 4K monitors are good for all photographers (they’re not). I assume there are good discussion forums for other makes too where you can read user reviews and issues.

(Assaf Toledo) #16

Thanks for the opinions and references. I’ll do some more readings before deciding.

If someone is interested, the main candidates that I consider are:
4K sRGB: Viewsonic VP2780-4K - not so popular, but reviewed very favorably here for example, and fares well compared to higher spec-ed monitors.
More options: Dell P2715Q (quite cheap) and NEC EA275uhd-bk (quite expensive, compared here to the Viewsonic and others)

QHD sRGB: NEC EA275WMi - more calibration flexibility than the Viewsonic, at the expense of lower resolution

QHD Adobe RGB - Dell U2715h

(Andrew) #17

@assaft, hi, did you get a monitor, and how is it please?
I’m now looking for one for Ubuntu, but not finding it easy.
There’s a Dell with 2560x1440 res which looked ok but then plenty people have reported colour variations across the screen.
There was another well reviewed but then with a negative comment… Then I looked at Eizo CG2420 but the Eizo software doesn’t work with Linux…


94ppi is ok, 109 would be nicer. It needs to be 24" or 27". Pat David’s comment above about going for gamut rather than pixel count sounds good to me. The Eizo is about UK £760, that would be the absolute max for the “package”, by which I mean monitor plus colorimeter if not built in. But the latter must work ok under Ubuntu (16.10)!

(Assaf Toledo) #18

Hi, no, eventually I postponed this purchase. Unfortunately I don’t have new info to share.

(Mica) #19

I have the Dell ultrasharp u series.

I looked at many others, but finally settled on that one. Decent price, decent performance. I’m happy with them.

(Damon Lynch) #20

@paperdigits 16:10, very nice :slight_smile: