I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I’m not a big fan of Instagram.” Now, lately I’ve been using it a lot more since I’ve been able to discover some pretty great shots by some very talented photographers, but at the end of the day, I’m still disappointed with the fact that it does not save in full resolution.

Have a look at the shots below, and flip to their full resolution counterparts. All of these images were taken with an iPhone 3Gs, processed initially with the Camera+ app (mostly the clarity filter, but in some cases I also added some additional effects), then cropped and re-processed in Instagram. I like to use the tilt-shift effect, so it’s not the focus that I’m complaining about. Just the fact that detail is lost when the image gets down-sized.

It’s a bit hard to tell the difference unless you look at the enlarged views though

The loss of detail is most apparent in the following shots:

On this Spawn shot, I also used Pic Grunger to add some additional texture, then Photoshop Express to sharpen it up a bit. But after going through Instagram, while I like the overall color treatment better, the image has lost resolution and detail.

In all fairness, here’s one that really didn’t make much difference, but I think was improved by the new crop and tilt-shift effect (although the dropoff is a bit too abrupt).

I’m also annoyed with the fact that you can’t really view the photos you “liked” in any easy way (at least not that I’ve been able to find). What’s the point of “liking” if you can’t go back and view them again. I’ve come across a lot of really great images that I’d love to see again, but once enough days pass, they’ve pretty much gone into oblivion.

IMHO, Flickr does the best job of displaying your liked (or in their case, “favorited”) photos.

In the end, I like some of the processing effects and I’m finding that I’m enjoying Instagram more now that I’m beginning to explore other photographers streams so I’m likely going to keep using it. I just wish they would keep the photo’s native resolution and actually make a good web interface. Extragr.am doesn’t count. It’s a neat idea and pretty well-designed, but performance stinks. Somewhow, I’m not surprised that it’s a Rails app. The wait time makes it unusable and the error pages I frequently get are all too familiar.