Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Olympus Exec Declares Megapixel Race Over, The Internet Agrees.

LAS VEGAS--Olympus has declared an end to the megapixel race.

"Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need," said Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department, in an interview here at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA). "We have no intention to compete in the megapixel wars for E-System," Olympus' line of SLR cameras, he said.

Source: news.cnet.com

I first noticed this article mentioned last week at The Online Photographer and then again today at Engadget.  I didn't pay much attention when I first saw it.  While I agree with Mr. Watanabe, it's also a self serving statement.  The 4/3rds sensor used in Olympus DSLRs is smaller than the sensors used by the other major camera companies.  Realistically Olympus just doesn't have as much room for pushing the megapixels higher, even if they wanted to.  (See this page for a comparison of different sensor sizes).  Still, at least in terms of the compact camera market, the megapixel race has clearly gotten out of control, and in most instances has actually hurt image quality instead of improving it.  So kudos to Olympus for being honest.

What I find interesting about this story is that the majority of people on the internet seem to agree with him (if the comment sections are any indication).  I was especially surprised when I saw this at Engadget.  No offense to the readers there, but most of them are not serious photographers and are probably not reading photography specific blogs.  So this tells me that reality is getting through to the general public.  More megapixels will make your images bigger, but not necessarily better.

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