Instagram finally adds a half hearted “Pinch to Zoom” feature

Sep 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Instagram finally adds a half hearted “Pinch to Zoom” feature

Sep 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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instagram_pinch_to_zoom

Instagram has finally added a pinch to zoom feature to their app. A feature so underwhelming that they didn’t even mention it on their blog (although, they did post to Instagram, heh). Ok, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh. It’s a feature that has been asked for ever since Instagram first launched. At least, people asked for it until they just got bored of waiting for it. You can now do it, but it’s not really all that useful.

Instagram did upgrade the resolution of images the app supports slightly in 2015 to account for higher resolution displays, but it’s still not very high. With the resolution of today’s phones, Instagram’s 1080 pixel resolution barely covers modern screens. High compression further degrades the quality of the images.

The above video is slightly misleading, though, as the detail is nowhere near as good as it suggests.

At a screen’s width, the resolution and compression issues are barely noticeable. Zoomed in, they become immediately obvious, especially on large displays such as the iPhone 6S Plus. Even on my iPhone SE, I can immediately see just how quickly the image quality degrades when zoomed. The detail information simply isn’t there in the file, so it can’t show it.

instagram_zoom

Pixelation and compression become quickly apparent, no matter how good the source image. Instagram just throws it away before it even goes to your feed.

So, while it may be a welcome feature, the implementation seems a little far from perfect. Of course, it’s entirely possible this is only the first step, and another resolution increase will be forthcoming. Which would be nice.

So, is it a cool feature as it is? So bad it’s not worth having at all? Or do you think we’ll see a resolution increase to make this feature more useful? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Instagram finally adds a half hearted “Pinch to Zoom” feature”

  1. Scott Hampton Avatar
    Scott Hampton

    I’m not at all impressed with it. A native iPad app and landscape view is what I wanted. Did they ever add those features? I don’t even know. Like many others, I stopped asking because I was tired of waiting.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yes, a native iPad app would be absolutely fantastic, especially now that iOS10 is going to add RAW processing. Being forced to use the iPhone app on an iPad display is horrible.

      A larger iPad app would also make viewing Instagram’s insight charts and such much easier, too.

      1. Scott Hampton Avatar
        Scott Hampton

        I agree. Ultimately, a feature-rich, purpose-made iPad app is a no-brainer for Instagram. I understand market share and resource allocation, so I won’t say the iPad Pro is another reason why they need an iPad app (then again, why not say it?).

        RAW processing is coming? I didn’t pay attention. Sounds interesting!