For a long time, pretty much any advanced amateur/pro photographer carrying a dslr would eventually and inevitably be confronted with the question “Wow, how many megapixels is that?” You can’t fault them for asking though – we had all gotten used to the marketers pushing the megapixel count as a measure of a camera’s quality. You can’t really fault the marketers either – pixel count was an easy way of answering “why should I buy camera X over Y” to the consumer (certainly a lot easier than trying to explain the nuances of dynamic range, chromatic abberation & flare control, lens aperture etc…) Of course, most folks “in the know” realized that there was *far* more to image quality than pixel count. Nevertheless to the chagrin of most pros and enthusiasts the pixel count (and density) kept getting higher and higher… Until now?
In the rapidly shifting world of camera technology, maybe consumer sentiment is coming around – when a blog as big as gizmondo explains why “more megapixels aren’t better” you gotta figure that people are noticing. This combined with a number of recent compact camera launches trimming back their pixel count in favor of better low light performance… and then Olympus declares their complete withdrawl from the megapixel race altogether, setting the max for their SLRs at 12mp!
Could this be a renniasance in camera design? With innovative camera designs like the G1, and sensors like the new Fuji EXR sensor (eschewing pixel count for improved dynamic range using pixel binning) it may just be that a whole new world is opening up in the digital camera arena. Personally I’m looking forward to every bit of it!