Color grading is a lot of work!
Oh yes, especially if you’re a perfectionist and every little bit of detail counts.
But, how can you even improve the appearance of your video or image for presentation in different environments without a reliable monitor?
No doubt, you’ll end up with mediocrity after so much effort.
So, how do you handle the situation at hand?
Do you know that there are monitors you can use specifically for color grading with ease?
Oh yes! All that’s required is for you to take the bold step to buy the best monitor on the market and color grade with ease.
Are you confused about where to begin? We’ve got you covered in this article, with a comprehensive buying guide on what to consider. And we listed four options.
We checked a ton of color grading laptops on the market. And only three met our standard for screen size, panel types, HDR support, color support, connectivity, display tools, calibration, and dual monitor setup.
- If you want a monitor that features color vibrancy—to improve color performance, the BenQ ZOWIE is a good pick.
- LG IPS Monitor is ideal if you want a 4K monitor with HDR, USB-C, and FreeSync.
- BenQ SW2700PT is a good choice if you’re a photographer that needs a monitor with excellent viewing angles.
Who Should Get This?
As long as you’re a videographer or photographer that engages in color grading with a high-end system, and view your work from a different angle, you’re on the right page.
You’re also on the right track if you’ve been color grading, but you can’t seem to find the right monitor that will suit your needs. But, this article is not necessarily for you if you need a laptop for less demanding tasks.
Best Monitors for Color Grading: What to consider in 2020?
Before you get your monitor for color grading, you should consider the following factors:
The screen size you go for depends on how much room you have to accommodate suitable viewing distances. The popular sizes range from 19, 21.5, 27, and 32 inches
For color grading, you need a monitor with IPS LCD panels—as it gives a better viewing angle and supports pro color spaces. Also, OLED monitors offer brightness levels, high contrast ratios, are true to black, have high brightness levels, and high contrast ratios.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and you need it on your monitor because it increases the color intensity and contrast of your images to a brilliant degree.
Monitors with wide color gamut like Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and Rec.2020 are ideal because they offer exponentially finer color detail compared to older standards. Thus, it’s advisable to opt for 10-bit color—to increase dynamic range.
Connectivity is crucial to increase your work efficiency. So, you should get a monitor that has a loop-out port that helps to feed your signal to a larger monitor. Other features like the Thunderbolt, optical variations, HDMI, and I/O options that will help you split the embedded audio to external speakers.
You should go for monitors that have LUT—because it allows you to look at your log recordings. Also, the monitor should display side-by-side views of SDR and HDR for comparison.
If you don’t like the idea of creating a routine to calibrate your monitor, you can go for monitors that can be adjusted when you load a calibration LUT or one that comes with calibration software.
Dual Monitor Setup
Your color grading monitor should have a dedicated card to help output your NLE system’s color if you prefer to edit in one window or you use one monitor for color correcting and the other for editing.
Best Monitors for Color Grading: Our Picks for 2020
Are you a photographer in the quest to find the perfect color grading monitor? Here are our top picks:
1. BenQ ZOWIE
The BenQ ZOWIE is a fantastic monitor that specializes in delivering vibrant and crisp images back to back. The monitor improves visibility in very dark scenes thanks to its equalizer technology. It also comes with an exciting feature—the color vibrancy. The feature enhances the flexibility to improve color performance.
The manufacturer equipped the monitor with up to 20 levels of color vibrancy—to help you customize the viewing requirements and preferences to suit your needs. To meet the needs of different users, the manufacturer added multiple configurations to the screen like RTS, FPS, RPG, etc.
Regardless of how much you change your work environment, the monitor comes with an adjustable angle and removable design that allows it to adapt quickly. You can adjust the height stand with the touch of your finger.
What about the settings?
That’s easy because the monitor comes with easy access to settings and adjusting between saved modes. It also means that that you can decide to change your screen setting to suit different purposes like reading, surfing, gaming, and more.
Are there connectivity options?
Oh yes! The manufacturer designed the screen to provide several connectivity options like headphone input, a unique DisplayPort, and HDMI.
What We Like:
- Multiple slight-variant models for different hand sizes
- Easy to access settings
- Enhances color performance
What We Don’t Like:
- The sensor comes with a limited dpi range
If you’re a game head, you’ll love the LG IPS monitor because it’s so many things in one. With your laptop, it works as a 4K monitor with USB-C and with your game, it has a FreeSync and HDR for console or PC gaming.
The monitor doesn’t compromise image quality as it ensures consistent, accurate, and vibrant colors that make the display perfect for professional photo-editing tasks thanks to its IPS panel.
That’s not all.
The monitor is factory calibrated for over 99% of the sRGB color gamut coverage. It also supports 10-bit color depth. With its 4k UHD resolution, it guarantees stunning detail clarity with over 8 million pixels.
The 4k monitor has minimal backlight bleeding, and IPS glow present. And its viewing angle of 178 ° ensures that your picture looks impressive irrespective of the angle you look at the screen.
It also comes with other exciting features like screen split—to enhance multitasking, advanced picture adjustments like gamma, 6-axis, and on-screen control—to adjust OSD settings in a desktop app. You can simulate HDR for non-HDR content using the monitor’s HDR effect feature.
What about design and connectivity?
The monitor has a simple design with thin bezels that can fit into any environment with ease. As for its connectivity, it comes with rich options: headphones jack, a DisplayPort, a dual 3.0 hub, two 5W MaxxAudio built-in speakers, and HDMI ports.
With the USB-C port, you can transfer audio, 4K content, power, and data simultaneously with just one cable.
What We Like:
- FreeSync works over DisplayPort and HDMI.
- It has rich connectivity options
- It provides a smooth gameplay experience
- It has an integrated filter against low-blue lights
What We Don’t Like:
- It lacks proper gamut and contrast ratio
When you look at the back of the monitor, you’ll find port connection options like DisplayPort 1.2, micro USB port for the OSD controller, HDMI, and USB 3.0. The left side of the monitor isn’t left out as it has USB 3.0 ports. It also has an SD card reader that supports Memory Stick Pro, SDHC/MMC/SD/SDXC, etc.
The monitor displays a wide color range—which means that you can get 99% of Adobe 1998 and 100% of the sRGB range with its display.
What about the color depth?
Since the SW2700PT has a 10-bit display—it translates to the fact that the display can produce over 1 billion colors. The resolution is not left out as it gives you a QHD display—which has a significantly higher resolution.
The higher resolution means that you’ll get a high-quality tac-sharp monitor that can display sharp and crisp images that pop off the screen.
What We Like:
- It has crisp and sharp images
- Calibration doesn’t affect graphics card
- It has an IPS display
What We Don’t Like:
- Lacks PbP and PiP
Tips on How to Calibrate Your Latest Windows 10 Display
- Look for color calibration in the Window search bar. Then, click the corresponding result. If you’re using an older version, go to the Display section of the control panel—you’ll find the color calibration utility.
- At this point, you should be in the calibration tool. You’ll see some instructions on the screen, follow them. Choose the brightness, color balance, display gamma, and contrast.
- The moment you notice that the calibration wizard is complete, ensure that you choose the recent calibration. But, if you think that you’re not impressed with the results, you can return to the initial calibration.
Aren’t you excited that you’ve gotten adequate information? Hopefully, at this point, you should have made up your mind about the best monitor that suits you for color grading.
Do you think we missed out on anything? What do you think about the tips and options we listed in the article? Whatever it is, let us know in the comments section.
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.