Su­per Test: 4K HD Mon­i­tors

New 4k ul­tra-high def­i­ni­tion mon­i­tors up the stakes for view­ing and edit­ing your pho­tos. Matthew Richards re­veals the top buys

Photo Plus - - Contents -

What you need to look for in an HD mon­i­tor and six of the best put through their paces in our com­pre­hen­sive lab test

Your mon­i­tor is the cor­ner­stone of your whole dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy work­flow, yet too of­ten it doesn’t get the at­ten­tion it de­serves. But what con­sti­tutes a good mon­i­tor? There are some big tech­ni­cal dif­fer­ences be­tween an ‘av­er­age’ mon­i­tor and the kind of dis­play needed for pre­cise pho­to­graphic work. For a start, bud­get PCS and lap­tops gen­er­ally come with TN (Twisted Ne­matic) screens which are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive to man­u­fac­ture yet have fast re­sponse times, ideal for gam­ing. How­ever, poor colour and tonal ac­cu­racy along with lim­ited view­ing an­gles make them a poor choice for view­ing pho­tos. VA (Ver­ti­cal Align­ment) pan­els tend to de­liver im­proved colour and tonal per­for­mance but can lack colour ac­cu­racy.

IPS (In Plane Switch­ing) mon­i­tors are the best choice for dig­i­tal photo view­ing and edit­ing, with good colour ren­di­tion, tonal range and uni­for­mity across the whole of the screen. All of the pan­els in our test group fea­ture 10-bit colour depth which, when driven from a suit­able graph­ics card, en­able re­pro­duc­tion of prac­ti­cally the en­tire SRGB gamut (colour space), and most of the Adobe RGB gamut.

A high-res­o­lu­tion 4K UHD (Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion) mon­i­tor will have pix­els so small that you don’t even see them, and gives a much bet­ter sense of a photo’s sharp­ness. And given the typ­i­cal view­ing dis­tance when you’re sat in front of a mon­i­tor, a 27-inch screen is an ideal size, al­though we’ve also in­cluded a 32-inch screen, as a larger op­tion.

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