The Perfect Monitors for Photographers and Photo Editors? - BenQ and the SW Series

11 Dec 2020

A lot of attention is directed towards gaming monitors these days with so many people getting into PC gaming. Super high refresh rates, blazing quick pixel response times and fancy curvature are probably some terms that you have seen or heard being thrown around when discussing a new monitor. In the midst of all the gaming monitor hype, we know that there are a lot of you interested in another category of monitors that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention: Work and professional monitors.

Today we are going to take a look at the BenQ SW Series of monitors, designed for photographers and photo editors.

Creative professionals looking to purchase a high-quality display for their particular workflow have previously had to pay a hefty price premium. BenQ’s SW Series of monitors aims to bring all the performance of a proper professional grade monitor to customers at a more affordable price point.

There are a few key specifications which photographers and photo editors need to consider when purchasing a pro-grade monitor, which are:

  • Panel Type
  • Bit Depth
  • Pixel Density
  • Color Gamut

The first thing that many people are on the lookout for is the panel type. Creative professionals tend to stay away from monitors with twisted nematic (TN) or vertical alignment (VA) panels. The type of panel is typically the first thing that determines if the monitor will be suitable for a creative professional, as it usually is a determining factor for the other key specifications – bit depth and color gamut. Bit depth refers to color depth and processing, and the most common specs for this are 8-bit and 10-bit. 10-bit panels are able to display many more colors than an 8-bit panel, 1.07 billion for 10-bit compared to 16.7 million for 8-bit. This means that colors are able to be represented much more accurately with a 10-bit panel. TN and VA panels are 8-bit the vast majority of the time, and so an In-Plane-Switching (IPS) panel is the most common 10-bit capable panel technology.

Pixel density also plays an important role in selecting a monitor. Pixel density is a number referring to the number of physical pixels per inch of the display, and the common units are Pixels-Per-Inch or PPI. For the image on the monitor to be really sharp and detailed it is recommended to have as high a pixel density as possible and so the higher the resolution the better.

Finally comes color gamut, arguably the most important aspect of a pro-grade monitor to consider. Color gamut refers to the range of colors that can be displayed. There are 3 main color gamuts that are the industry standard for creators:

  • sRGB
  • Adobe RGB
  • DCI-P3

Most modern electronic devices use the sRGB or standard red-green-blue color space, and it is the default for web use and most images shot with a standard consumer grade camera. Adobe RGB is a color space optimized for print applications as well as the Adobe software suite. Many photographers like to shoot in Adobe RGB for better vibrancy compared to sRGB. The Adobe RGB color space encompasses the entire range of sRGB, so most monitors with high color gamut ratings for Adobe RGB will almost certainly have full coverage of sRGB as well. The other standard worth considering is DCI-P3. It covers the entire sRGB range as well, but unlike Adobe RGB which leans towards more blue and green coverage, DCI-P3 leans more towards yellow/red coverage. Both DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB are considered to be ‘wide gamut’, and are becoming the mainstream standard for monitors these days.

With these specifications in mind, what is BenQ trying to bring to the table? As mentioned before, high-quality displays for professional photographers and photo editors commanded a large price tag for the level of color accuracy, pixel density and other factors that were a cut above the rest. The SW series of monitors from BenQ deliver exceptional performance in these areas and are available at a price tag more suitable for the consumer market. Here at Computer Lounge, we have 4 of the SW series monitors available at a range of different prices, accommodating your budget and needs whether you are just getting started in photography and photo editing or are a seasoned pro!

BenQ SW2700PT

27" IPS Panel | 1440p QHD | 109 PPI

100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB

Coming in as the most affordable SW series monitor, the SW2700PT is a great starting point for photographers or photo editors. It checks all the boxes for an entry level professional grade monitor - a 27 inch panel size and 1440p resolution for decent pixel density, as well as 100% sRGB coverage and 99% AdobeRGB coverage.

The SW2700PT is factory calibrated so that out of the box the monitor is ready to go. This means that you don't have to do any tinkering or fiddling with monitor settings and can jump straight into your workflow. BenQ also includes some other neat features, such as the black & white mode for previewing content in black & white before performing any adjustments in software, and a hotkey puck which allows seamless switching between AdobeRGB, sRGB and the black & white modes, and the buttons can be mapped to other functions as well like changing brightness or contrast levels.

BenQ SW270C

27" IPS Panel | 1440p QHD | 109 PPI

100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, 97% DCI-P3

Just like the SW2700PT, the SW270C features the same 27" panel size, 1440p resolution, 100% sRGB coverage and 99% AdobeRGB coverage.

Where the SW270C sets itself apart is with it's 97% DCI-P3 coverage. This is useful for cinema applications, as digital cinema projectors are usually able to display the P3 range of color. The SW270C also includes a USB-C port for high-speed data transmission and power delivery over a single cable for professionals who like to hook up their compatible laptop to an external display quickly and easily.

With the SW270C BenQ has also implemented some tuning to the display to ensure uniformity across the entire display, as well as ensuring consistency between different SW270C monitors from different production lines for multi-monitor setups.

BenQ SW271

27" IPS Panel | 2160p 4K | 163 PPI

100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, 93% DCI-P3

The first 4K monitor we are looking at in the SW lineup, the SW271 is a much sharper display than it's 1440p counterparts with 163 PPI pixel density. With 100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB and 93% DCI-P3 coverage, the SW271 doesn't drop the ball in terms of color performance either.

The higher 4K resolution of the SW271 gives photographers and photo editors more space to work on their content in their desired application, and retains many of the features present in the SW270C and SW2700PT such as the included shading hood, 10-Bit color depth and factory calibration for great out of the box performance.

The SW271's GamutDuo feature is also an interesting addition, allowing creators to view different color spaces side by side for comparison if that is a useful feature to your workflow.

BenQ SW321C

32" IPS Panel | 2160p 4K | 137 PPI

100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, 95% DCI-P3

The largest monitor of the bunch, the 32" SW321C is the bigger brother to the SW270C with a bigger screen size and 4K resolution.

Creators looking for basically all the features available in a high-end professional monitor as well as fantastic color accuracy in a larger 32" size and high resolution are the people the SW321C are targeting. Some of the differentiating features of the SW321C are it's USB-C port with power delivery, as well as it's Paper Color Sync technology. This tech is built to simulate printing results on the monitor after selecting a color gamut, printer model and paper type to offer users a preview of their work, true to what will be seen on paper.

As the most expensive model in the SW range, the SW321C packs all the features a photo editor or photographer could want, and combines it with an outstanding calibrated panel.

If you are interested in these BenQ monitors or are curious about any of the other professional grade monitors for creative professionals, have a chat to one of our helpful team in-store or online! Otherwise check out the SW series of monitors down below!

BenQ Experts in Photography

  • 'SW271’s Picture quality is exceptional with excellent linearity and uniformity across the screen that matches the much more expensive brand monitors.' - Joshua Holko
  • 'SW2700PT is very appropriate for photographic work and is a wonderful monitor highly recommended for professional photographers.' - Marcelo Isarrualde
  • 'BenQ SW2700PT, great at images and color which meet my expectations, fits for photographers and specialists working with colours.' - Piotr Piatek


Computer Lounge