Megapixels matter— not just for detail (which is wildly welcome), but for overall image quality and reduction of digital artifacts.
In fact, the best 16/18/22 megapixel camera you can buy is a 36 megapixel Nikon D800E image downsampled to 18 megapixels. Think oversampling. It is the right course for digital for the best image quality, though the D800E sensor is the best ever delivered in a DSLR too, which doesn’t hurt.
But this is an inconvenient fact lost on axe-grinders who want to run a derelict 5 year old computer and bitch and moan about the files being too big.
It isn’t that complicated: the Nikon D800E is the best camera I’ve ever used.
Which brings us to Canon. When will Canon have a high megapixel DSLR? (36 megapixels or more and you can bet Canon won’t be content to just match Nikon’s 36 megapixels).
My guess is that sensor fabrication is the holdup for Canon, and it will be late 2013 before any announcement and 2014 before we see a real camera.
Now, any of us can be hit by a bus and life is short and for enjoying before interests change, so why wait a year for this to happen if you just enjoy a nice image, competence or excellence being quite irrelevant with your own personal satisfaction being your only necessary criterion (working professionals have their own job-specific considerations).
For those on a budget, there are several lovely pocket size cameras that deliver outsize results for their size and cost.
For those rolling in green and looking for compactness, the Leica M240 looks appealing, though it has yet to show up on US shores.
Salim M writes:
I've been a Canon user Since 1992 when I bought the EOS 5E. Followed by eventually buying a 1V, then to digital with 1D, 10D, a few digital rebels, 20D, 1Dii, 5D and finally 5DII. I switched to D800e mainly for landscape as I never liked the B&W pattern noise of 5DII after the smallest contrast changes on the red channel (you got me into Nikon, Lloyd with your Nikon vs Canon red channel post. [ed: Pushing the Blacks]
However, I recently used the D800e for street photography when I visited Taipei. In the process of using the body, learning its ergonomics and seeing the result I came to the same conclusion, the D800e is the best camera I've ever used. It's not just the megapixels or ability of endlessly cropping. D800 pixels have so much room for pushing and they create very pleasing B&W images. Thanks for turning me on to Nikon!
DIGLLOYD: Sounds about right. See also my recent Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800E noise comparison in the field.
Mark S writes:
I don't always agree with your writings - but your recent comments on the D800E and it's "competitors" is so spot on I felt compelled to respond. For users who require a smaller final file size (say 9, 12, or 16mp) absolutely shocking image quality can be obtained by correctly (and quickly!) resampling. Why so many users blindly stick to their cries of too-many-pixels is a mystery.
Nikon has made mistakes with the D800/D800E, but they are minor in light of the extraordinary image quality.
DIGLLOYD: Captures things pretty well about the D800E.