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Nah, you got your answer. No way you can export a PDF and while InDesign is doing that, quickly change some settings in the export dialog.
Have you tried playing with the PDF export settings? Specifically, if
you're downsampling this pattern, try a different downsampling method.
For instance, if there are many fine lines in the image, try Nearest
Neighbor to retain those. This may have a big effect on one image and a
negligible effect on the others so it might be what you need. Just a
shot in the dark without actually seeing the images in question.
I never thought of doing that Jongware! It would be nice if there was some way (not too easy to do...) that you could set an object to be exported uncompressed but I suppose this is a fairly niche request.
I think you've hit the nail on the head Ariel, I should be able to make it better either that way or tinkering with the precise amount of resolution. The pattern is a grid so at certain compression points it starts looking nasty, stands to reason I should be able to compromise it.