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Don’t take your monitor for granted

Review of the BENQ SW321c

This is one of the biggest mistakes I made during my early years as a photographer. Minimizing the importance of a good monitor. And you can add on top of that the importance of a well-calibrated screen. This might sound stupid to a lot of you, but when I started I thought “hey, I have a MacBook pro” I see a lot of photographers working with them and they are bloody expensive so the screen must be good enough straight out of the box.

Boy was I wrong…

But then I had weird feedback on some of my images but didn’t really pay attention. I had weird results on some of my printed images but thought maybe this was the printer’s fault. And then in 2016, I made my first big exhibition, and during that time I was no longer working on a MacBook Pro but on a dell workstation. The person in charge of the printing for this exhibition called me directly and asked me if that magenta tint on some of my images was on purpose and if the blacks were deliberately crushed on others.

At first, I thought that we were not looking at the same images but then I discovered I was missing something, my colors were "off" and some of the details in the shadows were buried by my screen. So with the budget that I had later on I purchased this 32" inch PD3200U Benq monitor and quickly saw what and why I was doing things wrong. The difference was night and day.

I now calibrate my screens regularly with the "I display pro" and the bigger screen helped a lot for all those details. My prints came back to me and looked more like the images I initially had on my screen, no more bad surprises… I was happy, or sort of…

With the years, you gain experience, you train your eye and every detail now have its importance. For big projects, I wanted to be sure I had the right tools to deliver the best work I can. And that’s when the BenQ SW321C comes in. Paper Color Sync Technology to Simulate Photo Print Effect on Screen, Uniformity Technology for Screen-Wide Color Accuracy, and 99% Adobe RGB Color Space were the main reasons this screen got my attention.

This screen has 10-bit Color Depth which allows smooth color gradations. No more bending in solid blue skies that you might get with an 8-bit screen. The uniformity technology offers precise color from corner to corner for a consistent viewing experience. I now use the Palette Master Element software provided with the screen to calibrate it. It's easy to set up, I was quickly ready to work. The Shading hood is really welcome here especially for me because I have a window placed slightly behind my desk. Of course, I always work with the blinds partially or completely down because I prefer having my screen being the brightest element in my room every time I color grade and retouch an image or a video.

I said this earlier this screen will give you 99% of Adobe RGB, 100% of sRGB/Rec. 709, and 95% of DCI-P3/Display P3, which should give you realistic color representation for almost all your work. I can finally finetune my blacks, shadows, and contrast much more precisely, and also not worry (or at least less than before) about the results on paper.

I also like this little Hotkey Puck G2, a useful tool for me because my screen is sometimes a bit out of reach. I can dive into the menus and change the settings of my screen quickly without messing directly with the monitor.

I like the overall design of the screen and the multiple ports available make it easy to use with a desktop PC, or any laptop... and last but not least the price...

If you wish to purchase a screen of that level of quality these days you will have to pay a ton of money. The Benq SW321c is available in Europe for around 1.8k €. After months of use, I really believe you get plenty for your money. It will still be out of reach for some, but if you consider getting serious about your work if you want to make photography your profession, your main income then you have to seriously consider owning a high-end screen. I didn’t want to rush into a review without fully utilizing it on multiple projects, and never review a product that I don't use in my own workflow. I paid my first BenQ monitor full price and loved it, but this one was sent to me by BenQ and of course, you've guessed it, I am going to keep it. BenQ told me I was free to say whatever I want about this monitor. So this is my honest opinion, but I thought that this piece of information was worth mentioning.

Guys, tell me in the comments below, what do you use, what monitor do you use for editing and retouching? Tell me in the comments below. Any cool screens you want to recommend? More info about the screen: Plus d'infos : Chopez le votre/ Grab yours: or


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