Last Christmas we bought my two oldest sons point & shoot cameras. They were constantly begging to borrow the one I have in my purse that I use to catch snapshots & ideas for photos that I want to try later when I don't have my DSLR with me. So, we found two identical cameras (except for color) that did still & video images, that were not toooooo expensive, that we thought would be good starter digital cameras for a then 9 & 6 yr old. We though hey, we can use the same charger, not have to worry about disposable batteries, & thought it would be an all around grand idea. (They are both Samsung SL50 btw.)Well, they've worked out great until the other day. I'm not sure what exactly happened but the now 7 yr old's camera looks like the LCD has been cracked & it is all white with black bleeding. On one tiny corner where the batter level is you can still see actual picture. The camera still takes pictures, you just have no clue what you are shooting an image of!
So, we called Samsung & were told that yeah it's still in warranty (I knew that!) and to ship it to them (at our own cost, of course). It was mailed off today. While waiting on hold to talk to someone Sunday night, (I actually talked to a person Sunday night at 8 pm!) I was surfing around B&H, Adorama, Walmart, & Amazon just in case they say it was non-warranty damage & if that's the case it might be more feasible to buy another instead of fixing it. (There's that whole disposable society philosophy that I despise.) Oh, and now the youngest is wanting to borrow my point & shoot as well, so we might as well get two if that happens.
I put in my main guide lines, style - point & shoot, price - under $100 (I don't want to give a 4 yr old an expensive camera. So just call me a bad mom I dare you!), color - not pink (It can't be pink because pink is the most hated color in this house!), and came up with a number of options. I began comparing features such as presets & video quality, but then I got to the Megapixel portion. OH MY! What I saw was crazy! Most of these point & shoot entry level cameras have as many MP as my professional grade DSLR! There is NO reason for that in my opinion. I mean you need enough to do the job, but why cram that many into a camera where you can't control much of how those MP are used? It's got to just be a selling point. Oh look this one has a bazillion MP and this one only has a bajillion! Are you really going to be blowing anything up to the size of a building?!? As long as you have at least 6-10 MP, for the majority of work, you're golden.
Now, I will admit that I would love to upgrade my gear to the Pentax K5 (for a few more MP & some improvement in the ISO area) or the 645D which has 40MP. That is because later I am wanting to perhaps get into commercial work & more into fine art where the prints will be a lot larger. But that is down the road, I have more MP than I really need right now! My typical file size is 6 to 10 MB, when you shoot almost daily that gets to filling up a hard drive fast. Now, multiply that by 3 kids who snap pictures of anything & everything & never want to delete anything, and add in a husband that is learning & helping me with shoots sometimes, you see how that good portion of my hard drive is devoted to images.
So, do we need that many MP? No. Why do they do it? Because they can & most people don't know they really don't need 15 MP when the largest they'll probably ever have printed is an 11X14. But, hey, that's capitalism & consumerism for you right now. Don't think just spend.