Canon G11 – the end of the megapixel arms race?

Like many other amateur photographers I’ve been watching the megapixel arms race with interest. Where once 8 megapixels seemed stratospheric, it now seems that 14 or 21 is standard. I use a Canon 20D with a 8 megapixels and I’m lusting after a 50D with 15 megapixels but why?  There seem to be two reasons.  First, the old fashion ‘bigger is best’ argument. I shoot a lot of street photography so cropping is pretty much a daily routine. To the purists, I’m already a heretic but let’s move on. Cropping is incredibly useful so a big image sensor has it’s appeal as you can crop like a bandit and still have a useable image.

I also use a G10 as my second camera. But as I discovered, the noise is pretty scary even at 400 ISO.  So there is a clear trade-off, sensor vs. noise.

So, why do I think the G11 is such good news.  The answer is that Canon seem to have put their effort into image quality rather than image size. They created a stunning camera in the G10 and then improved it in the G11 – they have sacrificed megapixels for image quality and that is a significant step forward. In future we may see the successors to the 5D Mk II in the 10-15 megapixel range rather the 20-30. This high quality, low-noise world will mean we aren’t packing 160gb CF cards but rather creating smaller RAW files that just look better.

So street photographers, like me, will need to be a bit more accurate in our framing and will enjoy even better quality images. But what do you think?

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