Getting the Best Monitor and Display for Viewing Digital Images

You use your computer’s monitor display when working with your digital images, so get only the very best display available (that you can afford). For digital photographers, your display and video card are two of the most important components in your computer system.

  • Get a video card with 64 to 128MB of fast memory (or more).

    You want to view 24-bit images with 16.8 million colors at resolutions of 2048 x 1536 (or more) on a 19- to 24-inch monitor so that you can examine your photos closely, array several large images side-by-side (as shown in this figure), and view pictures at a size very close to their printed size.

  • Consider buying a dual-head video card.

    This kind of video card lets you display separate images on two different monitors, as illustrated in this figure. You can even use different resolutions for each monitor, say 1920 x 1440 on one for a high-res display and 1024 x 768 for a larger view on the second monitor.

  • Look into getting two video cards.

    Two video cards can also give you dual monitor capabilities. Just remember, unless you also play computer games, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on video cards with video accelerators so powerful they require their own fans.

  • Check out the monitor you buy in the store before you purchase it.

    Make sure it displays a sharp image.

  • Embrace LCDs.

    Although LCD displays are still a bit more expensive than the CRT type, LCDs don’t require geometry (shape), convergence (alignment of the electron guns), or focus adjustments the way CRT displays do.

  • Find an LCD with the right options.

    Look for an LCD with a high contrast ratio (700:1 to 1000:1 is good), and with the resolution you need. Also, look for one with a DVI interface so you can connect to your video card’s digital connector.

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