There has been a disturbance. Have you felt it? Some astute photophiles (not a word I just made up) have noticed a change in quality in their posts when Instagram pushed a photo to Facebook after the most recent update, 7.5. So I decided to run a few comparison tests of my own to see if the quality really was different, and why my photos suddenly started to look so gritty.
I push images to Facebook from Instagram in a few different ways, including directly from Instagram, as well as IFTTT, If This Than That, an internet service that uses connected apps to automate repeated tasks. For example, IF I post a photo to Instagram ... UPLOAD it to Facebook. It does it automatically so I don't have to deal with multiple postings for one photo.
For my test, I used IFTTT to push Instagram posts to Facebook. I also tested directly pushing to Facebook from Instagram to see if that made a difference and you can see those results below. (Spoiler, it didn't).
Here is the original photo after being processed in VSCOcam for iPhone. For the test, I will be using this image.
From there, I published to Instagram and pushed to Facebook using IFTTT on July 21st. Below is a comparison of uploading the same image on July 21st (before) and today, August 31st (after) using the same method.
Both created a 640x640 pixel image. But the after photo looks much noisier and grittier... and terrible. Notice the grain in the sky and in the large rocks in the foreground. The after image is even larger in file size than the before image at 82kb vs 65kb respectively. So it is not a matter of compressing the file more. Why all the sudden change then? The image is now sharper and not in a good way.
My next test was to see if this was simply IFTTT doing something new and funky to the images. So I tried pushing to Facebook via the "Post to Facebook" option within the Instagram app. IFTTT seems to not be the culprit as the comparison below shows. Pushing through Facebook did result in a larger file, (750x750 at 124kb) but the sharpness and grain are still there. The before image is the IFTTT image and the after image is the "Post to Facebook" image.
My final test was to see if Instagram was simply handing the files differently and to see if an image I posted on July 21st would look different on Instagram verses an image I posted on August 31st. While there is a slight difference in sharpness and grain, it's hard to notice and is no where near the jump caused on Facebook. The before image is from July 21st and the after image is from August 31st.
Here are some more images where the quality difference is not always so obvious.
Look at the compression around the fingers and the artifacts around the out-of-focus lake in the background.
Notice the additional artifacts around the clouds and noise in the rocks.
This can be frustrating because Facebook owns Instagram and the two should work really nice together. But they still don't. With Instagram's new acceptance of non-square images, Facebook still posts white boarders around Instagram images when posting non-square photos. The photo I post to Instagram should look exactly the same as the one on Facebook.
Still the best way to post photographs on Facebook is to upload them separately of Instagram if you want to avoid all this nonsense. Instagram is designed for viewing on much smaller screens on your smart phones where Facebook is a much larger playing field.
For me, Facebook is an added bonus to Instagram. I do not do much marketing of my images through Facebook. Sticking with the "Push to Facebook" option or IFTTT is probably what I will do going forward. The quality issues are not large enough for me to add additional steps and to loose the one-button convenience built into the Instagram app.
Have you noticed a quality difference in your Instagram posts on Facebook? How do you upload your images to different social media sites?