Hi there, tinapa
. I'm a photography enthusiast who is getting more into post-processing. (I prefer to do things right when taking the shot to minimize the need, but it's really helpful to be able to do work in post.) I mention that because I'm familiar with what features you'll want in a monitor.
I'll first mention the following because I had a very similar question from a friend at work recently.... She did not realize that you can use ANY monitor in portrait. The monitor just displays what the video card tells it to. The only thing you have to worry about is whether you have a stand that allows you to rotate the monitor. I just want to make sure you know that.
And as for the stand, I bought the same after-market stand for both a 24" at home and a 22" at work. Here's the stand I use
. Its very cheap (It was actually only $35 when I got mine) and handles the weight of my 24" just fine.
No one has yet pointed out the single most important thing you'll need to be aware of if you want to do image editing.... The type of LCD panel.
There are three types that you'll look at:
- Twisted Nematic (TN)
- In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Vertical alignment (VA)
- Multi-domain Vertical Alignment (MVA)
- Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA)
There's plenty of information available on Wikipedia (LCD
, TFT LCD
), so I'll just cover a couple. TN
I'll say right off the bat that you do NOT want one of these. TNs are the cheapest panels, so it shouldn't be surprising that most LCDs on the market are TN panels. That's the only reason I'm going into detail about them. Again, avoid TN panels.
The biggest benefits of TN panels are their cheap price tag and their fast response time.
But I'll have to strongly disagree with ArizonaGeek
on the importance of response time in your case. Unless you're a gamer or want to watch action movies on your computer, response time doesn't really matter. And if you do want to do those things, you'll need to decide which is your priority. (NOTE: Even when picking a different panel type, you'll probably still wind up with a response time around 5-6ms, so it's not as if your image editing monitor would be completely unacceptable for other activities.)
More than that, because any monitor you find with a response time of 2ms will
have a TN panel, you specifically do not
want to shop for the fastest response time you can find.
That's because you want to do image editing, and TN panels are terrible for image editing. Why? Because the image quality varies depending on the angle from which you're viewing the monitor in two important ways. Most importantly, you'll see color variation in images. Also, if you were to view an excel spreadsheet on a TN panel you'd notice that the lines that make up the cell borders are not entirely straight.... They bend slightly when viewed on a TN panel.
These abortions are worse vertically than horizontally (when viewing the monitor in landscape). With a monitor as big as 24", you can actually see color fluctuations without changing the viewing angle. The color-shift isn't extremely noticeable, but it's unacceptable if you want to do image editing.
So, no TN panels for you! IPS
Whether you know it or not, you'd love to have an IPS monitor. But I doubt you'll find one in your price range.
They have excellent viewing angles and color reproduction. They were once known to have low contrast-ratio and slow response times, but recent models have closed the gap with other panel-types.
Apple Cinema displays and some high-end Dells have this type of panel, so you're not always just paying for the brand name.... though I'm sure the 'Apple tax' makes up part of their high price. Unfortunately they cost several hundred dollars. VA
Here's what you really want to look for
. This seems to be the 'sweet spot' balancing price and performance. Good viewing angles, good color-reproduction, good black-depth and decent response times (about 5ms).
I have a 24" SOYO Topaz S that I got from Office Max over 1.5 years ago for about $275 that has a VA panel and I've been very happy with it. It's a 'no-name' brand, but the price was definitely right. Unfortunately, Soyo has gone out of business. But I've seen some of their monitors for good prices just recently (example
But beware - the same company later released a version of the same model that has a TN panel.... Wrap up
....which is the real problem - You'll very, very rarely see the panel-type listed anywhere in the specs of a monitor.
It's really aggravating when you're shopping for a good monitor for graphics work.
Here are a couple of tips:Avoid anything with a 2ms response time - they're sure to be TN panelsWhen you find a model you're interested in, research online to see if others who are way-into this stuff have figured out the panel type based on specsWatch 'deal-sites'* for well-rated deals on monitors and read replies in those threads. Someone will usually post the panel type*
I like SlickDeals.net and FatWallet.com. On either site, just go to the search at the top right and try searches such as "lcd monitor" or "24 lcd".
The plural of anecdote is not data
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