Monitor Panels For Photo Editing

Monitor Panel Types For Photo Editing


As a photographer or photo editor, you might have noticed how crucial it is to have the right monitor for your photo editing tasks. Selecting the appropriate monitor panel type is imperative for achieving accurate colors, sharp details, and optimal display performance. Regardless of whether you’re an amateur learning the ropes or an experienced professional, understanding the different monitor panel technologies available in the market is essential. Common panel types, such as In-Plane Switching (IPS), Twisted Nematic (TN), and Vertical Alignment (VA) panels, each offer a unique set of features, advantages, and disadvantages for photo editing.

When deciding on the best panel type for your needs, there are several factors to consider, such as color accuracy, viewing angles, and response time, among others. As someone who has spent countless hours in front of a monitor, perfecting images and crafting visual stories, I can tell you that knowing the differences between these panels can be game-changing for your editing process. In this article, we will delve into the various panel types and explore their suitability for photo editing tasks.

So, let’s dive in and find out which monitor panel type will help bring out the best in your photos!

In-Depth Look at IPS Panels

When it comes to professional photography and photo editing, In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels often top the list for many thanks to their exceptional color accuracy and wide viewing angles. As a photographer, I can attest to the vast difference I’ve experienced using IPS panels when compared to other panel types. But what exactly sets IPS panels apart? Let’s delve deeper into their unique aspects of color accuracy, viewing angles, and response time to understand why they are the go-to choice for many photographers.

Color Accuracy: A Must for Photo Editing

As a photo editor, one of the foremost concerns is getting the colors just right. IPS panels excel in this regard, as they provide the most accurate color representation when compared to other panel types. Achieving accurate and consistent colors not only allows your images to look their best but also ensures that your edits are correctly represented across various devices and print formats. In my experience, the superior color reproduction offered by IPS panels has saved me countless hours of tweaking and re-editing, contributing to a more efficient workflow.

Viewing Angles: Maintaining Quality at Every Angle

If you’ve ever tried showing a photo to someone on a non-IPS panel monitor, chances are you’ve witnessed the frustrating effects of narrow viewing angles. Colors shift, contrast decreases, and your carefully edited images appear vastly different – all because you and your onlooker aren’t directly in front of the screen. With IPS panels, this issue becomes a thing of the past. They offer a wide viewing angle of up to 178 degrees both horizontally and vertically, meaning you can view your images accurately from almost any perspective. Whether you’re collaborating with other photographers, presenting your work to clients, or merely reviewing your images from various angles, IPS panels ensure that your images maintain their color and contrast integrity.

Response Time: A Minor Trade-Off

If there’s one aspect where IPS panels might not take the cake, it would be response time. Typically, IPS panels have slightly slower response times than TN panels (which we’ll discuss later). However, for most photo editing tasks, this difference is negligible and not a cause for concern. In my experience, I have rarely encountered instances where the slower response times of an IPS panel have impacted my editing. Unless you’re also heavily into gaming or require extremely fast refresh rates, the superior color accuracy and viewing angles of IPS panels vastly outweigh the minor trade-off of response time.

To sum it up, IPS panels have rightly earned their place in the hearts of many professional photographers and photo editors. The combination of accurate colors, wide viewing angles, and acceptable response times make them an excellent choice for those who seek nothing but the best for their photo editing needs. While other panel technologies might have their merits, when it comes to getting the finest representation of our creative work, it’s challenging to beat the value that IPS panels deliver.

TN Panels: Pros and Cons

When it comes to photo editing, Twisted Nematic (TN) panels might not be the first choice for professionals due to some limitations in color reproduction and viewing angles. However, there are specific scenarios where TN panels could be a sensible option, particularly for amateur photographers on a budget or users who prioritize gaming performance alongside their photo editing. Let’s dive into the various aspects of TN panels, weighing up the pros and cons to understand their suitability for photo editing in different contexts.

Advantages of TN Panels

Faster Response Times: The most significant advantage of TN panels is their faster response times compared to IPS and VA panels. With quicker pixel transitions, TN panels can reduce motion blur and ghosting, making them a popular choice for gamers. This feature might be more relevant to those who are into action photography or video editing, where rapid rendering of images is crucial.

Lower Costs: Another area where TN panels have an edge is affordability. Generally speaking, TN panels are cheaper than their IPS and VA counterparts. For amateur photographers who may not need the high-grade color accuracy of an IPS panel, this might make TN panels an attractive budget-choice.

Disadvantages of TN Panels

Narrower Viewing Angles: One notable drawback of TN panels is their limited viewing angles, particularly in the vertical direction. The colors and contrast appear to shift dramatically when viewed from off-center positions, which can be an issue when collaborating with others or editing photos that require precise color grading and adjustments.

Inferior Color Reproduction: In terms of color accuracy, TN panels often struggle to reproduce the entire color gamut and deliver the same level of color depth as offered by IPS panels. This can be a deal-breaker for professional photographers who demand the highest standard of color fidelity for their work. Additionally, the lower color accuracy might hinder your ability to make subtle tonal adjustments during the editing process.

To sum up, while TN panels might not be the ideal choice for photo editing due to their limitations in color reproduction and viewing angles, they can still be an attractive option for users on a budget or those who prioritize faster response times for gaming or action photography. In these cases, carefully weighing the pros and cons of TN panels can help you make an informed decision and get the most out of your monitor for photo editing purposes. However, always remember that investing in a good quality monitor is an essential aspect of your photography journey, and the right choice will not only make your editing process easier but will also ensure that your photos accurately represent your creative vision.

VA Panels: A Middle Ground

Vertical Alignment (VA) panels have emerged as a viable alternative to IPS and TN panels, striking a balance between performance and price in the world of photo editing monitors. These panels essentially offer a middle ground for photographers who want the benefits of improved color reproduction and wider viewing angles, but don’t require the ultra-fast response times of TN panels or the premium price tags associated with IPS panels.

Color Accuracy

VA panels typically deliver better color reproduction compared to TN panels, thanks to their ability to display deeper blacks and more vibrant colors. Although they may not quite match the precise color accuracy of high-end IPS panels, VA panels are generally more than sufficient for semi-professional and advanced amateur photographers, providing a pleasing balance between quality and affordability.

Viewing Angles

In terms of viewing angles, VA panels again offer a compromise between TN and IPS technologies. While not as wide as the near-180-degree angles offered by IPS panels, VA panel technology still provides significantly wider viewing angles than TN panels, making it easier for you to collaborate with others on a project or appreciate your work from different perspectives.

Response Time

The response time of VA panels might be their one major drawback, as they usually have slightly slower response times compared to both IPS and TN panels. However, it’s important to remember that for photo editing purposes, response times are generally a secondary concern, as they tend to become critical in scenarios like gaming or video editing. For most photography tasks, the minor differences in response times between VA and the other panel types will hardly be noticeable.

In conclusion, VA panels can be a smart choice for semi-professional or advanced amateur photographers who desire a monitor that balances performance and price. They offer improved color accuracy and viewing angles compared to TN panels, while still being more affordable than premium IPS displays. As always, it’s crucial to weigh your specific needs and priorities when choosing the right monitor panel type for your photo editing journey. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of VA panels, you can make an informed decision that helps you create stunning, accurate images that stand out.

Panel Calibration and Monitor Features

As a photographer, you can have the best monitor panel type available, but it won’t truly shine without proper calibration. Ensuring accurate colors and optimal display performance means taking a bit of extra time to calibrate your monitor panel. Not only will this ensure your post-processing efforts render true-to-life colors, but it can also save you time and money when it comes to printing your edited photographs.

Calibrating Your Monitor Panel

One of the essential tools for calibrating your monitor is the colorimeter. A colorimeter measures the color of your monitor and, through the use of specialized software, adjusts its display settings to guarantee the most accurate color reproduction. I highly recommend investing in a colorimeter for any serious photographer – it’s a relatively small expense that can make a world of difference in your edits.

Calibration should be performed regularly, as monitor panels can lose their color accuracy over time.

Must-Have Monitor Features

Aside from panel calibration, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing a monitor for photo editing. Here’s what I have found to be most important in my experience:

  • Adjustable stand – Being able to tilt, swivel, and rotate your monitor is key to a comfortable workstation. Trust me, after long hours of editing, the flexibility of a stand with proper ergonomics can save you from backaches and neck strains.
  • High resolution – For a photographer, higher resolutions enhance the sharpness of your images and allow you to see finer details while editing. Aim for at least 1440p, and if your budget allows, consider 4K or higher. See our guide to monitor resolutions for photo editing for more information.
  • Connectivity options – A variety of connectivity options, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C ports, can make it much easier to connect various devices to your monitor. Built-in USB hubs can be especially helpful for charging your camera, hooking up an external drive, or connecting a colorimeter.
  • Wide color gamut coverage – Monitors with a wide color gamut coverage, such as Adobe RGB or DCI-P3, ensure your on-screen colors closely match those of the final printed photos. As many of your clients may request physical prints of your work, it’s crucial to have a monitor that can accurately represent the intended color output.
  • Matte or semi-matte screen – Highly reflective, glossier screens can be distracting, especially under intense lighting conditions. Opt for a matte or semi-matte screen to prevent glare and to keep your focus on your photos.

Prioritizing Features Based on Your Needs

When it comes to choosing a monitor for photo editing, you’ll have to prioritize which features are most critical for your specific needs. It’s essential to remember that the perfect monitor doesn’t necessarily exist – you’ll likely have to compromise on certain aspects based on your budget and personal preferences.

Take the time to test different monitor panel types and consider how each feature will affect your workflow. And don’t forget the importance of calibration! Investing a bit of time and effort into finding and maintaining the right monitor can elevate your photo editing skills to new heights.

Now, it’s your turn to share your experiences. Have you upgraded your monitor recently, or do you have a favorite panel type that you swear by? Let’s start a discussion in the comments and help each other make informed decisions.


In the world of photography, having the right tools can make all the difference, and selecting the ideal monitor panel type for photo editing is no exception. As we’ve explored throughout this article, different panel technologies, specifically IPS, TN, and VA panels, offer varying characteristics that can influence your photo editing experience.

To recap, In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels are known for their exceptional color accuracy and wide viewing angles, making them a top choice for professional photographers and photo editors. Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, on the other hand, provide quicker response times and come at a lower cost but often fall short in terms of color reproduction and viewing angles. Finally, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels strike a balance between IPS and TN panels, offering better color reproduction and viewing angles than TN panels while maintaining a more budget-friendly price point.

In the end, the decision will primarily depend on your individual needs, priorities, and budget. Factors such as color accuracy, viewing angles, and response time should be at the forefront of your considerations, along with additional monitor features that can enhance your photo editing experience.

As a final piece of advice, I strongly suggest digging deeper into the topic of monitor panels for photo editing, discovering the nuances of each technology, and, if possible, testing different monitors in person. By doing so, you can be confident in your decision and ensure that your selected panel type will cater to your specific photography and photo editing requirements. Don’t hesitate to share your experiences and insights with the photography community, as your findings can aid fellow photographers in their monitor panel journey as well.

So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or a passionate amateur, keep exploring and experimenting to make the most informed choice possible, and happy photo editing!

The Creativv
American digital marketer and founder of with over a decade of experience in event, travel, portrait, product, and cityscape photography.

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