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down-sizing inherently makes an image appear more detailed or "higher in resolution"... when compared side by side, an image shot at a higher resolution and subsequently down-sized to "X x Y" will appear much more detailed than the same scene shot at the target size of "X x Y"...
I have to disagree with this completely. An image captured PROPERLY (with a noise-less or low-noise sensor) at the target size will look much better than an image captured at an arbitrary size and then scaled down. That said, if you only have a noisy sensor, you will want to capture at an exact multiple of the target size and then average between pixels but never such that you have a function for two different final pixels that are based on the same source pixel. An image scaled down from anything other than an integral multiple will have aliasing and a blur (or, if you have the proper tools and know how to use them, will at the very least have arithmetic distortion).