$5000 For A Monitor. What Should I Get?

August 12, 2019

We get a lot of questions about picking a color-accurate monitor for grading. In this episode listen to our thoughts on things to consider.


From The MailBag Episode 73

The Question We Get More Than Any Other!

A quick search of our email inbox reveals that in 2019 we’ve had (to date) 373 unique, separate emails from members asking us what monitor they should buy!  If you break that down that’s 7 emails per week on average asking for help in purchasing a color-critical monitor!

So, yes, it would be an understatement that we get this question A LOT!  To be fair, a lot of times, members are writing in asking about specific monitors, but recently we’ve been getting a lot of emails that have been stating specific budget ranges, with $3000-$5000 being a fairly popular range.

While we tend to just reply to those emails directly, Patrick pointed out it had been a while since we’ve talked about this subject and specifically the price range we’ve been getting in those emails.

In this installment of From The Mailbag, we’re once again joined by Mixing Light contributor Joey D’Anna while Dan is on a short hiatus grading HDR for Netflix on a Baselight!

Things To Think About – Not Really A Direct Answer

One thing we should mention right off the top – as you listen to this episode it might sound like an advertisement for FSI and specifically their DM240 monitor. Sorry! We do love the DM 240.  Of course, there are more monitor companies in the world than FSI.  Sony, TV Logic, Ezio and now even Apple!

As a group, we just have a lot of experience with the FSI product range and that’s why we so often recommend them.

More interesting to the discussion than any specific monitor or company are things to think about when choosing a monitor:

  • Is it a monitor for just the operator? A client monitor? Both?
  • Can you get away with 8-bit precision?  How about 8-Bit FRC?
  • How important is Resolution?
  • Does physical size of the monitor make a difference?
  • Is SDI connectivity absolutely necessary?
  • Can a properly calibrated consumer TVs be considered reference monitors even with all their processing?

We discuss these & other things to consider about buying a monitor and how $5000 can actually buy you a lot these days.

Have A Question For Team Mixing Light?

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The MailBag.

Enjoy the MailBag!


Member Content

Sorry... the rest of this content is for members only. You'll need to login or Join Now to continue (we hope you do!).

Need more information about our memberships? Click to learn more.

Membership options
Member Login

Are you using our app? For the best experience, please login using the app's launch screen


Homepage Forums $5000 For A Monitor. What Should I Get?

  • R Neil Haugen

    Thanks for this very useful discussion! I deal all the time with requests for “good color correcting monitors for $X00”. And with the folks that think their Retina is the equivalent of ANY monitor made … and so often, they don’t want to put the time and money into a kit of calibrating stuff that *could* (as you all note) get them by for a bit less cash outlay for the monitor specifically.

    But having spent time around the Flanders rigs at shows … well, that new BenQ I’ve got is a very nice piece of kit *for a prosumer!* monitor. But it ain’t *nowhere* near a BM240 Flanders, however. ESPECIALLY in screen uniformity! Without going up to a full reference monitor, *or* the very top of the prosumuer screens run through a LUT box, you just don’t get that level of screen uniformity.

    But financial considerations do matter. I’m doing web-based work. No broadcast. I specifically do NOT work for broadcast because I’m not setup to handle that high-end QC need. So that’s where the decision to go with a lower cost (but usable) computer monitor can be acceptable. But ONLY if … after calibration and a confirming profile via Lightspace/Resolve as Patrick demonstrates in several tutorials here … the results show that it does have decent color control for white, black, gamma, and color excursions along the way.

    Anyway you go, it *must* be able to pass some level of calibration/profiling. And for broadcast, for crying out loud … just get the full reference monitor! You’re all right that for broadcast there IS no substitute.

  • Mitchell P

    This discussion is exactly what I’ve been looking for, as $5,000 is about my budget range. After listening to this, I’m thinking of going with either the BM240 or the DM240 from Flanders, but initially I was thinking of going with either the Eizo Coloredge CG 319X or the new Asus Proart PA32UCX, both of which are 4K monitors. However, my main concern with these monitors is their color accuracy, as they lack the professional calibration I would get from a Flanders monitor. I plan on grading short films for the festival circuit as well as videos for the web and would like to know if the DM240 would suit my needs. Also, since the DM240 is an HD monitor, could I use it to grade content that will eventually be delivered in 4K? My GPU, RAM, and processor are fully capable of handling 4K resolution, but my main concern is, with the rise of 4K content, would the DM240 be suitable in the years to come? Personally, I care more about color accuracy than I do about higher resolution. Plus, I’m in a small-sized room and don’t need a large monitor (the DM240 at 24” is perfect) so I’m not sure if 4K at about this size would make that much of a difference. Thank you for this discussion!

  • Bernard H

    Hello! trying to access this but the audio is not loading! It says: “ took too long to respond.”

  • Robbie Carman

    Hey Bernard –

    Thanks for your patience with this. The provider we use for player configuration to our Amazon S3 back end has been having all sorts of issue this week. We’re working hard to remedy this – you’ll likely see a temp player on Mailbags for the time being. As a reminder if you’re logged in you can always download an MP3 of the episode

  • Bernard H

    Thanks Robbie! I am able to access it now!

  • Pat Inhofer

    We are actively winnowing down our next generation audio / video player and backend provider. Once we have it nailed down, we will replace all the audio players on Mixing Light. Hopefully, in the next day or two.

  • Bernard H

    nice! new member here, very glad to be here!

  • William D

    I was about to email this question. Glad I did the search first.

Log in to reply.

1,000+ Tutorials to Explore

Get full access to our entire library of over 1,100+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Test Drive!