A $200 Monitor for Picture-Perfect Editing – Too Good to be True?

Apple produces great monitors. If you’ve worked on an Apple, I’m sure you understand what I mean. The retina display makes your images look absolutely perfect. What’s not to love about these popular monitors?

And yet, I get calls all the time from photographers because their prints don’t match the image on the screen – even after calibrating their monitor. Over time I realized that most of the calls I received were from photographers using Apple monitors. This caused me to dig a little deeper into the issue.

What’s Wrong with Apple Monitors?

The answer is nothing! Apple uses Retina 5K and Retina 4K technology for their iMac displays with an RG Phosphor backlight. The overall display technology is beautiful.

However, for photographers editing images for print, the retina display on iMacs is too good. The technology designed to display images as realistically as possible has evolved displaying images in a form of hyperrealism.

What does this mean for you as a photographer? Because the retina display is so bright, contrasting and rich; the monitor shows detail in the shadows and highlights that cannot be printed. It would be better to lighten the image on a different display to get those details. This ensures your print will precisely mirror the image on-screen.

The Search for a Solution

I never thought the solution for picture-perfect editing would be a $200 monitor; but when I started my search for a solution, that’s exactly what I found. I know what you’re probably thinking:

“A $200 monitor that’s color accurate and calibratable for professional photographers? Sounds too good to be true.”

It’s not.

I recommend The Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitor – U2415 to all my photographers. The monitor, though inexpensive, features top technology, including:

  • 1000:1 Contrast Ratio (2 million:1 max)
  • Color Gamut of 91% (CIE1976), sRGB coverage 99%
  • Brightness of 300 cd/m2 (min 50 cd/m2)

Will a $200 monitor last? We don’t know. At McKenna, we’ve had our U2415 Dell monitors for one year and they’re still as good as ever. The longevity of the Dell monitor will have to be tested over time. But the overall performance of the monitor has been spectacular!

Other Solutions

You can spend a ton of money on very good monitors and certainly get excellent results. Eizo makes superb high-end monitors that cost thousands of dollars. There are many monitors out there that you can invest in to provide the display you need.

But why spend thousands when you can spend a couple hundred and get the same results? We recommend this especially to photographers already working on an iMac. Investing in a less expensive second monitor affords you the ability to continue working on the computer you love while printing beautiful – and accurate – images.

Have any questions regarding your monitor or editing software? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re here to help you produce your best photos from the start of the process to the end.

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