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We have uploaded a 108 megapixel photo to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: this is how they have destroyed it

Today it is normal to find mobiles with 48, 64 and 108 megapixel cameras, mobiles capable of taking photos of a huge size (because the megapixels indicate that, the size of an image) that, probably, end up uploads to social networks like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Obviously, when we upload a photo to these social networks, the image suffers a compression process In order to make it easier and faster to download it and show it to users who follow us. But how much? How is the image? That question is what we have asked ourselves and, to clear up doubts, we have carried out a little experiment.

Destrocemos a photo

Original Post
Original Post

Compressed image for illustration purposes. Original image data: 12,000 x 9,000 pixels, 31MB, f / 1.8, 1 / 100s, ISO-50, 24mm.

The photo that we can see on these lines has been taken with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in 108 megapixel resolution. Although it is compressed so that it can be displayed in the article, the original image weighs 31 MB and is 12,000 pixels wide and 9,000 pixels high. The rest of the parameters can be seen in the caption.

We have uploaded this photo to Instagram, Facebook y Twitter from an iOS device and from an Android device (to, incidentally, see if there are differences between devices). Subsequently, we have downloaded the images processed by the platforms and we have analyzed them to see the differences. Here are the links to the posts:

What is our 108 megapixel photo after being uploaded to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? In the following table we can see the parameters of the main image compared with the images processed by the platforms according to the operating system

original image

ig ios

ig android

tw ios

tw android

fb ios

fb android

WIDTH

12,000 pixels

1,080 pixels

1,080 pixels

2,048 pixels

2,048 pixels

2,048 pixels

2,048 pixels

ALTO

9,000 pixels

810 pixels

810 pixels

1,536 pixels

1,536 pixels

1,536 pixels

1,536 pixels

size

30,9 MB

247 KB

240 KB

605 KB

702 KB

430 KB

807 KB

HORIZONTAL resolution

72 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

VERTICAL resolution

72 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

96 ppp

DEPTH IN BITS

24

24

24

24

24

24

24

HISTOGRAM

Original Histogram
Original Histogram
Histogram Instagram Ios
Histogram Instagram Ios
Histogram Instagram Android
Histogram Instagram Android
Histograma Twitter Ios
Histograma Twitter Ios
Histograma Twitter Android
Histograma Twitter Android
Histograma Facebook Ios
Histograma Facebook Ios
Histograma Facebook Android
Histograma Facebook Android

As we can see, the image has been compressed in an exaggerated way. What was once a 108 megapixel photo has become a 0.87 megapixel photo on Instagram and 3.15 megapixel photo on Facebook and Twitter. The file size, of course, is also considerably reduced, going from 30.9 MB to, in the worst case, 240 KB.

In case the megapixels are more abstract, we can change them to centimeters and get an idea of ​​what just happened. The original photo measures 423.33 x 317.50 centimeters, while the Instagram photo on Android measures 28.57 x 21.43 centimeters. In other words, we have gone from having a photo of 4×3 meters to having a photo of, more or less, the size of an A4 sheet.

One of the keys to having an image with many megapixels is that, on paper, we can enlarge without losing sharpness. With our reference image we can enlarge a lot and preserve fragment detail, as we can see in the image below:

Original Trim
Original Trim

Cropping the original image.

The question that now has to be asked is what happens when we do the same thing, but with the photos compressed by social networks? That, unsurprisingly, we lose a huge amount of detail, we gain noise and, ultimately, all the benefits of a camera with such a resolution are spoiled. For sample, a handful of buttons.

Instagram

Crop Facebook Ios
Crop Facebook Ios

Crop from Instagram photo (iOS).

Crop Instagram Android
Crop Instagram Android

Crop from Instagram photo (Android).

Twitter

Recorte Twitter Ios
Recorte Twitter Ios

Crop from Twitter photo (iOS).

Recorte Twitter Android
Recorte Twitter Android

Crop from Twitter photo (Android).

Facebook

Crop Facebook Ios
Crop Facebook Ios

Crop from Facebook photo (iOS).

Crop Facebook Android
Crop Facebook Android

Crop from Facebook photo (Android).

What happened? Where is the detail that we have in our original photo? In nowhere. The platforms have compressed the image so much that when enlarging, all the nuances are spoiled. Below you can find all the images together in case you want to have a more global vision.

All
All

Lots of megapixels for so much compression

As is obvious, Instagram, which is precisely the social network most focused on photography (less and less, yes), is the one that destroys the original image the most, offering a minute level of detail when enlarged. Facebook compresses a little less and, within what it fits, Twitter is the best behaved.

There is some difference between the operating systems, especially on Instagram. The difference between the photo published from iOS and the one published from Android is abysmal And, as our colleagues from Xataka Móvil could see, it is something that also applies to stories and videos.

In any case, this affects us, mainly, if we make extensions. At first glance, the image that social networks offer us does not change much with respect to the original image. It is not until we expand that we notice that the apps have “shredded” the image completely. And it is that as much as we like to take huge photos, they are useless if they end up on our Instagram profile later.