Any recommentaions on a reasonably priced (<=$350) monitor for photo editing?
Do some research. I'm sure there are reviews out there. Just make sure that the reviewer is a photographer, not a gamer, not a general computer user.
Since you might want monitor calibration (maybe at a later stage) you'd need manual controls on the monitor to adjust contrast, brightness, and color (red, green, blue). Because when you do a calibration preferably you adjust the monitor manually until the calibration software says "OK".
I'd also would check out the big photo gear sellers like B&H, etc. presumably they would have monitors that are useful for photographers.
Try looking at Compusa Ads and look for wide color gamut displays, I have had good luck with LG displays that are wide gamut and priced around $200 last was a L227WTG Flatron (no longer made).
Great color if profiled shows images same as much more expensive Lacie monitor.
If I had to do over would try to get one without a glossy bezel as it reflects with the ambiant light level is high.
Photoshop 5 and Lightroom 4 look great on this monitor. 22" allows a couple of images to be open and on the screen at the same time.
Be sure to use digital output from your computer to see what the monitor can display. I see people spending big bucks and then using a VGA input...waste of money.
I bought an ASUS PA246Q P-IPS ProArt series Professional Moinitor and have been delighted. 1/3 the price of a PA series NEC or EIZO.
I have no idea of the price where you are but you should check it out.
It's possible to find a decent monitor in that price range, but there are not many options.
You need to look closely at panel technology. Anything that uses a TN panel (which is 95%) is useless. The viewing angle is so narrow that the upper third of the screen is too dark, and the lower third washed out. There's just no way you can use that to reliably judge the tonality of a photograph. Note that this is inherent in the technology itself, and a high price tag doesn't make it go away. TN panels are for gamers (because they're fast).
That leaves VA and IPS (and the Samsung equivalent PLS). These are the only panels that have sufficiently wide viewing angles. VA panels (which is used in the NEC P221) are generally excellent for photographic use, but do suffer from a peculiar phenomenon known as "black crush". What happens is that the deepest grays tend to melt down to pure black when viewed directly on-axis. Move your head a little, and the effect disappears. But this is in no way as serious a problem as the narrow angle in TN panels, and in the best VA monitors (such as from NEC or Eizo) it's hardly noticeable.
IPS has none of these problems. Luckily there's a new generation of inexpensive IPS-based monitors out, known as e-IPS. Good candidates are NEC EA231, Dell U2412 and HP ZR24W.
But this is not the whole story. All in all I agree that the NEC P221, with the VA panel, is probably your best bet. The reason is that it's a true 8-bit panel with a 10-bit internal LUT, and if you don't know what that means, it translates to smooth gradations with no visible banding or posterization. This is a potential problem with the inexpensive e-IPS monitors, which are 6-bit plus dithering. Another big advantage is that it can be hardware calibrated to the monitor's internal LUT, bypassing the video card (another potential source for banding).
And one more thing: uneven brightness or color across the screen is a real risk, even in expensive models. Quality control and manufacturing tolerances are not always what they should be. In my experience some brands pay more attention to this than others. NEC and Eizo should be safe. All others, a gamble.
In general, the monitor is where it really pays off to stretch your budget as much as possible. A little extra money goes a long way, and you won't regret it. But do include a calibrator in your budget. I'm not familiar with the Spectraview software (I'm using Eizo myself), but from everything I see it's likely the best calibrating software out there.
Edit: this was obviously a reply to the OP, not Brett. Hit the wrong button...
I've been looking into 24" sRGB IPS panels around $300 very recently. And I've come up with the Dell 2412U and the HP ZR2440w. They're both almost equal with a slight price difference and the possibility that the Dell might give you visible PWM flickering.
But you really have to think about whether you want a wide or a normal gamut display. My laptop has a wide one, and there is little way I can make use of it because both the web and everywhere I print, only sRGB is accepted. So it would only make sense to edit in sRGB too.
I had a pair of 23" TN panels that I could never get calibrated correctly. All prints came back dark no matter what. I looked at both the 2412U and the ZR2440w monitors also and went with the Dell. It came in last week and I calibrated it with an i1Display2 device. I sent off some sample shots to our local Costco with autocorrect off and I finally have gotten great prints. Could not be happier. It is like when I was using my old CRT.
I also went to using 2 video cards. I had a 2 head nvidea 8600GT based card that ran both monitors, but I was never sure if it could really use separate profiles for each monitor, so I also added another video card to make sure I had separate LUTs for each. I downloaded some sample images that had color patches, gradient bars, etc. I imported them into Lightroom and then exported them to make sure that I was using the same process I would normally use and had them printed along with some images that I couldn't get printed correctly before. Looks great
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