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Safari Downsamples Your Images, No HD

Apple's iPad 3, Part 1: The Complete Retina Display And A5X Review
By , Alan Dang

Web-browsing on any iOS-based device is often a less-than-satisfactory experience. Specifically, when it comes to pictures and images, the mobile version of Safari automatically downsamples any image when it hits the 1024-pixel limit. When an image exceeds that threshold, it's downsampled by every nth pixel, such that n is the smallest divisor that yields an image less than or equal to 1024 pixels.

SafariSafari

SafariSafari

Apple does this to optimize rendering speed and improve overall browsing performance. The behavior is also inherent to older iPhones and iPads. However, the implication on an iPad 3 is more serious, especially if you are a photography enthusiast. It means that you can't view HD-quality online pictures from sites like Flickr, Smugmug, or Zenfolio in their true native glory because the iPad 3 will reduce the viewable resolution. This also happens if you try to view the JPEG file directly using the iPad 3’s Safari Web browser.

Pictures Hosted On Website, From Camera
Actual Resolution
Rendered On iOS' Safari
Phase One IQ180
80.1 Megapixels
(10328 x 7760)
1.25 Megapixels
(1291 x 970)
Nikon D800
36.2 Megapixels
(7360 x 4912)
1.45 Megapixels
(1472 x 982)
Canon 5D Mark III
22.3 Megapixels
(5760 x 3840)
1.38 Megapixels
(1440 x 960)
Canon 7D / 60D / T3i / T2i
18.0 Megapixels
(5184 x3456)
1.12 Megapixels
(1296 x 864)
Canon 50D / T1i
15.1 Megapixels
(4752x3168)
0.94 Megapixels
(1188 x 792)
Canon Rebel T3 / 1100D
12.2 Megapixels
(4272 x 2848)
0.76 Megapixels
(1068 x 712)


As far as we have been able to determine, photographers have to import photos directly into iPhoto if they want their images displayed at a higher resolution. (Update, Andrew: We'll cover this in part two, but there is an exception that was originally ignored. It is possible to view the native picture on the iPad 3, but you have select the image in Safari and save to iPhoto. Try pictures at Canon's 5D MK3 Sample Gallery.) In theory, Apple should be able to fix this problem by allowing users the option to disable resizing in Safari's settings panel.

iPhotoiPhoto

iPhotoiPhoto

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