Digital Cameras - Megapixels aren't everything

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After thirty years of developing and printing film, and treating digital cameras as a convenient email accessory, I noticed that things have developed to a stage where digital quality now surpasses film.
The first camera to impress was the Fuji S8000fd, which received mixed reviews, but I found to be capable of excellent quality photos, and always got the exposure spot on. This was intended to be for snapshots, emails and listing on ebay, but it got me looking at digital in a new light.

After trying several different cameras, I have come to a couple of conclusions.
1. One day the quality of compacts/superzooms will render the lower end DSLR redundant.
2. Packing small sensors with ever more pixels is not the way forward.

The cameras which have really impressed me are the Panasonic Lumix range. The only other which can match the sharpness and detail in my opinion is the Samsung PRO815 rather surprisingly.

I have tried most of the compact ultrazoom Panasonics, and although the higher end models offer better performance at high iso, the overall picture quality has not improved since the FZ7, which is currently my camera of choice.

Likewise the Fuji range, while the likes of the S9600 and S100fs receive rave reviews, I think the picture quality is inferior to the S8000fd or the S5700.
Maybe I just don't understand digital.

My advice would be: you don't need any more than 8MP to take great pictures. Don't be fooled by manufacturers and reviewers who make you feel inadequate by always pushing the pixel count.
One of the worst cameras I had the misfortune to try was the Sony a350 - looks great on paper ; 14MP APSC size sensor, 18-70mm zoom produced from the Minolta know how which Sony acquired. This camera had the worst Chromatic Aberration of any camera I have seen (fringes and halos in high contrast images) and really poor noise levels at high ISO - megapixels gone mad.

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