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How a photographer uses a Cintiq creative pen display

For close to 10 years, Wacom’s 22HD Cintiq served me well until it finally reached the end of its life span. I debated if I should purchase a newer model or try something different. I chose to try something different and quickly realized it was a mistake. As luck would have it, Wacom reached out to Photofocus and offered a new Cintiq 16 for a review. My review is less technical and more on how a photographer uses a Cintiq.

Great for skin retouching

Skin retouching is high on my list. Sure, I use Luminar Looks to help soften skin, but there are times when blemishes need to be removed or wrinkles need softening. This is when the pen is mightier than the mouse. With a pen, you have more pressure sensitivity and control. You can choose the amount of skin softening you want to apply with a simple brush stroke.

Precise layer masking

The Cintiq is much more precise than a mouse when working with complicated masking. I find using a pen takes me less time to brush out flyaway hairs and mask transparent fabric. The extra time I save means I can turn out projects faster and take on more projects all while keeping my current clients happy.

Decide: Second monitor or duplicate display?

I tried the Cintiq as a second monitor — actually like a third monitor — and as a duplicate display. As a second monitor, I found myself constantly viewing my images on my larger monitor, then moving my editing software to the Cintiq when I needed to make an edit. I decided to duplicate the display and use the Cintiq similar to a non-display medium Intuos tablet. The major benefit over the non-display tablet is — you guessed it — the display. It feels more natural looking directly at the display when editing.

With that said, I do use the Cintiq as a second monitor when I’m traveling with my Microsoft Surface Pro 4. You’re probably wondering, isn’t the Surface Pro 4 a Pen display too? It is, but it doesn’t feel the same to me. I only use the Surface pen when I have no other choice.

My final thoughts

To replace my Cintiq 22HD would cost about $1,500. To upgrade to the newer Cintiq Pro 24 4K Display is about $2,200. If these were my only two options, as a photographer, I would choose the Cintiq 22HD and leave the Cintiq Pro 24 4K Display for a graphic artist. I loved my Cintiq 22HD, but I already invested money in 32-inch monitors. Since I have other options, the choice now is between the Cintiq 16 for about $650 or a non-display medium Intuos Pro for about $380. After using both, I chose the Cintiq 16 and with the extra money I saved, I can put that toward a new lens!

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