Why pay $20 for a full resolution original when the quarter resolution version looks fine on your social media page / personal media device?
Let us consider two usage cases: (i) only concern is viewing social media with smartphone; and (ii) interested in viewing images on larger High Definition LCD displays and / or printing High Definition images for permanent exhibit.
In the first case, imagine an action photo that includes subject matter of interest. It is great to see the subject matter of interest in the larger context, but would it not be desirable to also include a zoomed-in image of only the subject matter of interest (e.g., so the subject’s face is recognizable)? One problem that can occur with a reduced resolution image is that when you crop the image down to only the subject matter of interest, the image size on the social media page is reduced and / or no improvement in image detail, perhaps larger and blurrier. In such a case, cropping down the full resolution image can provide a full size social media image with increased detail.
In the second case of High Definition LCD display >15″ (i.e., at least 720×1280 pixels) or high resolution ~300dpi prints >4″x6″, these formats can directly reveal the full image detail that is possible in properly focused and exposed full resolution original images (e.g., focal ratio not set beyond the diffraction limit of the sensor). This is illustrated in the following two sets of images comparing the full resolution originals to their downscaled quarter resolution versions.
How to view Full Resolution Demo (on a PC): The image sizes displayed within this post are 1/30 resolution (to fit within the post format), so both images in a set appear identical until you zoom-in. To do this, click on an image to bring up the “attachment page”, and then click on the image size icon (e.g., 1296×864) located between the image title / filename (e.g., IMG_0835_QuarterRes) and the image. The browser will initially size the image to fit the browser window, so set the browser to full screen mode, and click the image again to see the full resolution available for that image (i.e., 100% magnification).
Important notes: A PC with PC web browser (perhaps several web browser windows for ease of comparison, one for the post, one for quarter resolution image and another for the full resolution image) and 17″ or greater High Definition LCD display is preferred to observe the image detail differences. It is much more difficult to observe the image detail differences on a smartphone, as smartphone web browser magnification control gestures do not enable precise “100%” magnification control (i.e., no magnification feedback indication), and zooming to “>100%” is allowed, which only makes images blurry. FYI, due to the very small smartphone ~540ppi display pixel sizes, smartphone effective magnification is defined differently than PC display magnification, hence the usage of quotes.
Example 1a: Long range photo of the Cat1-2-3 start at the 2015 Eagle Island CX – quarter resolution
Example 1b: Long range photo of the Cat1-2-3 start at the 2015 Eagle Island CX – full resolution
Example 2a: Close up photo of Tom Bender summiting the run-up at the 2015 Turkey Cross #3 – quarter resolution
Example 2b: Close up photo of Tom Bender summiting the run-up at the 2015 Turkey Cross #3 – full resolution