It's not breaking news, but the megapixel wars seem to be back on. Well they are back on for the two major manufacturers that are lagging on the innovation front, namely Canon and Nikon. Nikon struck first with the D800 and D800E (the D800E subtracts the Optical Low Pass Filter OLPF to increase sharpness) and subsequently followed by the D810 (no OLPF) all flexing a massive 36.3 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor. The comparisons were abound, it was unheard of. Studio photographer Alex Koloskov even did a full comparison with a medium format Hasselblad H4D40. To see his results check out his Photigy website. The results were amazing the Nikon truly held it's ground against the larger Hasy.
Next to the party was Canon's entries. Just as Nikon had done Canon released two megapixel beasts each with a mind bending 50.6 megapixels. I'll give you a moment to drink that down. It's just flat out crazy. As I mentioned, Canon followed the Nikon road of two models of basically the same camera the 5DS and the 5DS R. What's the difference you might ask, just like Nikon the 5DS R lacks the OLPF. I take that back the OLPF is there but the effect has been cancelled. Odd, so is it just a tweak in software that cancels the feature? I wouldn't be surprised if the good folks over at MagicLantern have already started to provide this hack.
So chose your side in the crazy megapixel war, or chose to ignore the war. Chances are you don't need 36.3 or 50.6 megapixels. The casual photographer will take the shot do some post processing and put it up for the world to see on any of the myriad of social networks. Facebook displays your images proudly at 1 to 2 MB. With the D810 file sizes weighting in at around 40 to 50 MB it's not a far stretch to put the 5DS in the 70 to 80 MB. Talk about bringing a tank to a rubber band fight. This is not to say that these cameras don't hold a spot in the right photographers hands. The D810 has been applauded for its amazing landscape photography rendering as well as a fantastic studio camera choice and the same might prove to be for Canon's 5DS/5DS R, only time will tell. The Nikon's have earned there way in to the hand of studio photographers and the tripods of landscape photographers. As I mentioned earlier the comparison that Alex Koloskov made with the D800E and Hasselblad only furthers this point. I don't expect to see D800/E/D810 cameras on the sidelines of a basketball, football, baseball etc. game, just as I don't expect to see Hasselblads on the sidelines.
So what does all of this mean for the casual photographer? If one of these cameras is the right choice for you, then by all means pick one up. For everyone else remember that the lure of the mighty megapixel is not the determining be all end all factor. You ultimately have to decide what will best work for you.
What am I shooting? As of today June 5 2015 I have a Nikon D610 with a lowly 24.3 megapixels. Out of the shot in the header of this post I was easily to crop down and pull the image below. No matter how many megapixels you have remember Shoot What You Love, Love What You Shoot.