Do I Need a 4K Monitor for Photo Editing?

You do not need a 4K monitor for photo editing, but it will give you more professional capabilities. 4K monitors have a high resolution, allowing you to edit higher-resolution images easily. 

This post will examine whether you need a 4k monitor for photo editing. I’ll provide some of the benefits of using a 4K monitor and explain what can happen if you use a lower-resolution option. The goal is to help you find the best choice for your editing needs. 

Let’s get to it. 

Key Takeaways

  • You don’t need a 4K monitor for photo editing, but using this type of monitor can give you great results and is recommended for professional-level photos. 
  • Higher-resolution monitors help you see images more clearly when you are zoomed in because of the higher pixel rate, allowing you more control over your editing. 
  • You can still make solid edits on a lower-quality camera. You just might struggle with some edits if the photos are higher resolution. 

Do I Need a 4K Monitor for Photo Editing? 

4K monitors offer excellent image quality and many other benefits for photo and video editing. These are some of the best monitors you can buy and also some of the most expensive. 

But do you really need one for photo editing? 

The technical answer is no. You don’t need a 4K monitor for photo editing. There are no specific rules as to what resolution of the monitor you need to make edits. You can get them done on the best monitors or some of the worst. It just depends on your situation. 

But you should also think about things from a professional or quality standpoint. If you are a working photographer who needs the best equipment to deliver very high-quality photo edits, then a 4K monitor can be a valuable tool that you’ll need. 

Even if you’re not a professional, you still might want a 4K monitor if you love to edit photos and take them in high resolutions. You’ll be able to make finer edits and work on the details because of more pixels on the screen. 

If you are just an average photographer who doesn’t have professional ambitions, you likely don’t need a 4K monitor. You can use a 1080 or HD option and still get solid results without spending money on the more expensive option. 

4K monitors do have some major advantages over lower-resolution options. And even though they cost more, they don’t have as high of a price tag as they used to. 

If you want a larger monitor, getting a 4K option is a good idea because, with more pixels, images can spread out over the screen and still look great. If you use a larger monitor at a lower resolution, you can run into pixelation issues. 

4K monitors also give you a more authentic representation of images shot with higher-resolution cameras. And nearly all of the digital cameras people use nowadays are higher resolution. 

The decision on which monitor is best for you comes down to your personal preferences, needs, and budget. There are other factors to consider, but these are the most significant ones. 

If you don’t have much of a budget, getting a 4K monitor can allow you to explore all of the possibilities of photo editing while taking advantage of superior image quality. It’s a good investment for professionals. 

If you don’t have the money or are just a casual photographer, you can still make plenty of edits with a lower-resolution monitor. You don’t always need the latest and greatest tech innovations to highlight your creativity. 

How to Choose a 4K Monitor for Photo Editing

Taking the following factors into account, your decision-making will be much easier.

sRGB Range

Finding a monitor with at least 99% sRGB coverage needs to be a high priority. That will ensure the colors you see on the screen are as true-to-life as possible. A lot of the time, monitors, especially cheaper ones, will not have great colors. That can then lead to subpar results.


You don’t want to edit your photos on a tiny 15-inch monitor. Find something that’s bigger and truly fits your desk and workspace. Generally, you want a monitor between 24 and 32 inches in size. We find that 27-inch monitors are the perfect size in most cases.


4K monitors can be very pricey, especially if they have high color calibration and a robust feature set. However, the price of 4K monitors has crept downward since their initial release, meaning you can find a couple of options that are more budget-friendly. Buy the best monitor you can within your given budget.

At the end of the day, budget rules all. However, getting a monitor with a high sRGB range is just as important. If the monitor you buy doesn’t have proper colors, your color grading and overall photos will look off. Size is the least important aspect, and it is completely dependent on your personal workspace.

What’s the Best 4K Monitor for Photo Editing?

Here are a few of our top recommendations, along with a quick review of each option so you understand its pros and cons.

1. Philips 276E8VJSB

  • Size: 27”
  • sRGB: 109%
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz

While most professional class 4K monitors are extremely expensive, Philips has broken the mold with this one.

It comes in at a very affordable price, but still packs all the features you need for your photo editing jobs. It also has a great-looking design, thanks to the narrow bevels and thin profile.

Sadly, this monitor doesn’t include a VESA mount. Using a monitor arm with this display is out of the question.

2. Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q

  • Size: 27”
  • sRGB: 99.9%
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Dell is known for making great professional monitors, and the U2718Q falls in line with that. It has a slim bezel design that’s quite eye-catching.

The stand is also great, as it offers a lot of adjustments to get your monitor just right. This monitor is also 99.9% sRGB, which means it comes with extremely accurate colors for proper grading.

Overall, this is the most complete monitor you can buy without spending thousands of dollars.

3. BenQ PD3200U

  • Size: 32”
  • sRGB: 100%
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz

BenQ is more known for making PC gaming peripherals and monitors. However, their pro line goes far beyond that.

The PD3200U combines the beautiful 32-inch 4K screen with an easily-adjustable ergonomic design to make those long working hours as comfortable as possible.

The color accuracy is great, but there is a bit of noticeable backlight bleed around the edges of the screen.

4. ViewSonic VP2768-4K PRO

  • Size: 27”
  • sRGB: 100%
  • Refresh Rate: 75Hz

If you want an extremely color-accurate monitor, you want this ViewSonic. The colors are absolutely stunning, making this model perfect for both consuming and creating media.

The bezels are nice and small as well, giving you a great viewing experience without a distracting border. The stand also has multiple adjustments, making it perfect for long working hours where you need to constantly change position.

Just note that the backlight bleed on this one is quite bad.


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to if you need a 4K monitor for photo editing. 

Does a photographer need a 4K monitor? 

Photographers don’t necessarily need a 4K monitor. This can be an excellent tool for editing higher-resolution images and delivering professional-quality results. But you can make edits on many different monitors that aren’t 4K. 

What kind of monitor is best for photo editing? 

Looking at things from a technical perspective, a 4K monitor will give you better results than lower-resolution monitors. If you want the best option and are a professional editor, then using a 4K monitor is a good option. 

Is 4K overkill for a monitor? 

If you aren’t using the monitor for professional photo or video editing, the 4K is probably overkill for most purposes. While this high-resolution monitor offers high pixel rates and image quality, the average person doesn’t need it. 

Can you tell the difference between 1080p and 4K? 

You can tell the difference between 1080p and 4k when you are up close to the monitor, but it can be challenging to differentiate between them from further distances. 4K monitors have more pixels, ultimately leading to better image quality. 

Final Thoughts

Professional photographers may want to get a 4K monitor for photo editing because this will give you greater control over the editing process and allow you to focus on images without pixelation. 

But the average photographer doesn’t need a 4K monitor to make edits, and there are plenty of lower-resolution options to explore. 4K is great, but it’s not essential for everyone. 

What is your monitor preference for photo editing? Have you ever used a 4K monitor? Let me know in the comments below.

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