Thursday, March 6, 2008

MegaPixel Wars

dpreview.com reports that Sony has released a point and shoot camera with a 13.6 megapixel sensor. See the article at dpreview.com.

The photography pundits keep proclaiming the rise in sensor megapixels are over. They've continued to do so for over 2 years.

The pundits are correct in that we really don't need more megapixels. The current crop of cameras are more than sufficient to make an 8x10 print or put a picture on a web page.

The pudits are wrong in that it doesn't matter. We've moved into a marketing driven technology cycle.

The pundits forget there is a comparable technology that we can compare to the current camera race. The history of computers was similar except instead of megapixels, there were megahertz. Once computers became essentially a commodity, the marketing forces took over. They only differentiator that the various companies had was something faster. They had to find a way to get the market share and to keep the shareholders happy.

Well once digital cameras starting getting popular and affordable, the camera companies no longer had the luxury of bringing out a new camera with incremental improvements every 5 years. The market has changed to a consumer driven 18 month cycle. It also hasn't helped that big consumer electronic firms like Sony have entered the market. To keep getting market share and to keep the shareholders happy, there has to be a marketing gimmick.

The easiest one that consumers understand are megapixels. History repeats itself.

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