Is that even...sensible? Canon's entry-level Rebels have virtually all been impressive and highly useful cameras, right from the original Digital Rebel on down to the day after tomorrow*'s 550D / Rebel T2i. But do people who want the lowest tier DSLR—whether they're just dipping into serious cameras for the very first time or not—really want to deal with the giant file sizes and image storage headaches of an 18-MP camera?
It was Woodrow Wilson's Vice-President, Thomas Riley Marshall, who said, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." That's no doubt no longer true, but it's possible that what the world needs now is a really good stripped-down 6-megapixel entry-level DSLR. I'm just sayin'.
Out-of-Step Mike*Not literally. What I mean is, it's coming out soon.
Featured Comment by David Dyer-Bennet: "I suspect it's the very fact that people don't make prints any more that's driving the megapixel madness. That plus seeing the occasional 40x60 :-) .
"People who don't print don't have clear first-hand ideas of what they can do with what size image; so they use rules of thumb, and apply safety margin, and generally take the largest numbers they find in a dozen online articles as 'what they need.' So they think they need 18MP for 11x14, or some such. (Numbers like that were around a lot in the early days of scanning, too; scanned pixels aren't as good as original capture pixels.)
"In terms of comparison to 35mm—I've got better 20x32 prints (image area; the paper is 24") from 6MP digital than I ever in my life got from 35mm. Of course I didn't try that hard from 35mm after the first few, when it was obviously hopeless. The one of the snow scene at Minnehaha falls looks really good in my living room. When looked at closely, you can see it could have more detail, but you have to come within a foot to tell that. And that's one of the most difficult subjects (lots of bare twigs against snow or the sky, worst-case resolution test).
"So the minimum available resolution in good cameras seems likely to always be more than I think I need."