Benefits of lower minimum resolution options
This page in a nutshell: In some occasions, the benefit from resources saved at lower resolutions outweighs the quality benefit at higher resolutions.
The camera software of mobile phones and the firmware of digital cameras and camcorders offers a range of photo and video resolution options a user can select from.
While precluded camera software in some mobile phones such as more recent Samsung Galaxy devices has a very high minimum photo resolution option of 3.7 Megapixels (2560×1440), third-party software such as Open Camera can provide access to lower resolutions.
Altough higher resolutions have sigificant benefits, benefits held by lower image/video resolutions might outweigh those in specific situations.
When capturing and recording lesser significant moments, or information where details provided by lower resolution images are sufficient for a purpose, a lower minimum resolution option may be sufficient for the letters to be clearly recognizeable and helps reducing space storage usage.
An example is on-screen text where screen shots are not applicable. A lower resolution option may be sufficient for the letters to be clearly recognizeable while sparing space storage consumption.
This could also be useful to photo/video junkies (such as children curiously experimenting with a camera like with a “sandbox”), who tend to capture photos and videos of many things. Another possible use is recording video footage of very long conversations.
When having low remaining space storage, a user might prefer to extend the remaining number of photos and remaining time for video recordings using lower resolutions and/or bit rates.
For example, the file size of a 640×480 (0.3 Megapixel VGA) photo might only be around 200 kilobytes (size varies depending on content and compression parameters), while a 2560×1440 (3.7 Megapixel WQHD) photo could demand 2 to 3 megabytes each, which means that 1 GB could fit around 5000 of the former, while only around 400 of the latter.
Although lower resolution videos are more compatible to earlier devices with insufficient chipset performance, and may allow for faster loading times, higher resolution photos and videos can always be converted to lower resolution footage at any later point.
In some cases, some photos might just have the purpose of conveniently being shared imminently after being captured (“out of the box”), of whose a low resolution might suffice for capturing the needed information.
Lower resolution options can not only be beneficial in photo capturing and video recording, but also in video streaming, such as faster loading speeds.
Seeking and skipping through a video is also more practical at lower resolutions which suffice to recognize a desired position in the video, and allow for quicker buffering.
Thumbnails during hovering over the video time bar vary in availability. For example, YouTube's mobile website HTML5 player does not show seek bar preview thumbnails like the desktop website or the mobile app, while Dailymotion's mobile website video player does.
In case of limited internet data plans, as well as in countries such as Iran with poor Internet speeds, clocked availability and censorship which forces users to fall back on even slower proxied and virtual private network connections, lower resolutions could allow for a more economical data plan consumption and a smooth playback, which is more convenient at a stuttering playback at a higher resolution.
A lower selected resolution enables a greater leeway for lossless digital zooming.
- Video: How to change the quality of a video you’re watching, published by YouTube Help on April 12, 2019