A correction has been made to this story. See below for details.
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.
Instead, Olympus will focus on other characteristics such as dynamic range, color reproduction, and a better ISO range for low-light shooting, he said.
Increasing the number of megapixels on cameras is an easy selling point for camera makers, in part because it's a simple concept for people to understand. Even though having more megapixels can enable larger prints and enlargement of subject matter through cropping, adding megapixels comes with some drawbacks.
For one thing, smaller pixels can mean more noisy speckles at the pixel level and can reduce the dynamic range, so brighter areas wash out and darker areas become swaths of black. For another, images take more room on memory cards, hard drives, and Web servers, and cameras need more powerful image processors to handle them. And yesteryear's cameras already had plenty of pixels for making 8x10-inch prints, a size few people exceed. … Read more