The upgrade to Windows 10 brought with it a big change to a seemingly small and basic app. The Windows Photo Viewer was switched out in favor of the Photos app. Actually the Photos app was introduced with Windows 8 and fit right in with its heavy emphasis on touch-friendly interface. Like the older Photo Viewer, people have used these photo viewers to open up their photos (or any other images) with a simple double-click. The image displayed fit to the window for best viewing. Basic functions allowed you to page forward and back through all the photos in a folder, start a slideshow, zoom in and out, and rotate. It’s really a great way to look at your pictures and you don’t have to bother with any photo management software. In my experience, it beats the way things work on Mac as well.
Thankfully, the replacement Photos app allows you to do most of the same things. Back when I updated to Windows 10, I read that people were able to go back to using the older Windows Photo Viewer with a registry change. But I figured I’d stick with the new one. That was despite a few minor problems and inconveniences I found. From what I’ve read, many issues have been fixed, but a several nagging ones are still around. Lots of people still prefer the older program. Discussion of some Photos App issues are here on Reddit.
The “Blurry Problem”
To get to the point finally – I didn’t notice it at first, but I think I had an inkling in the back of my mind that something wasn’t right viewing my photos. Well, recently I finally had it hit me. I was looking at photos of a past hiking trip to pick one for printing as an 8×10. I looked at one that I remembered as being pretty good, but when I looked with a careful eye, it turned out to be kind of blurry. At that point I actually opened the photo in a web browser to compare, and that’s when I noticed it did indeed appear much more blurry in the Photos app.
Someone might say that’s just how the Photos App chooses to render and display resized/zoomed-out versions of images. It’s lower quality, so what? Maybe it’s faster that way. But there is a problem with that. Yes, I learned it’s blurry enough to affect print decisions and give a poorer viewing experience. But also, the app actually does render a better quality image; it just doesn’t show that version when you first open an image. The displayed image after zooming in and back out is sharper/clearer than the one originally displayed. That occurs when the Photos app is using your entire screen or not, or if you used the full-screen button.
I can go further than that. On some occasions, when first opening an image, I’ve seen the Photos app display a better quality version for a split second. Then it softens or blurs into the worse quality version. It happens quite quickly so I didn’t notice it at first, but I can repeat this.
Examples, Test it Yourself
I made a bunch of PNG screenshots of this phenomenon and put them up on OneDrive as demonstration. The screenshots after initial opening are a bit blurry and have smaller file size than the screenshots after zooming in and out (smaller file size = lower quality). The originals are there too so you can try it if you like. These are photos with several different dimensions, which shows it doesn’t just occur in some specific sized images.
Help Get This Fixed
Now this may not be occurring for everyone, but there are plenty of people that have noticed it. A Microsoft Community thread “Photos app often displays sharp images as somewhat blurry (includes example)” has posts from many. I’ve been posting there lately as I worked to help identify the problem. If you notice this also, please post your experience, and vote up the issue in the Feedback Hub once that is available. UPDATE: This topic is now a feedback entry in Feedback Hub for Windows users. Please click to view the topic and vote it up!
I hope that Microsoft can correct this since it really bugs me.