The crux: Paying more money for a camera with more pixels may give you less image quality.
So what’s the take-home message?
Well, if you’re shopping for an ordinary digicam, bear in mind that money spent on higher resolution may actually be buying you less than nothing. A lower resolution camera can actually be a better product in every respect.
Of course, the camera companies just can’t sell lower res cameras any more. Even entry level models are averaging 5MP as I write this – real resolution hasn’t, of course, improved much since the 2MP days.
If you want a decent range of lower resolution, lower priced cameras, you therefore need to consider buying old stock, or second hand. This leads to the same problems you face when buying any used gadget – apart from the obvious wear and tear issues, you’re likely to find that lithium ion batteries for gadgets a few years old may be dead as stones, and replacements that aren’t also dead may be hard to find.
There’s some great advice in the article, and coupled with the general public’s general cluelessness on this issue, it’s not surprising to find ebay flooded with extremely cheap very servicable cameras, accompanied by descriptions along the lines of “I am selling my digital camera so that I can upgrade to another which has more megapixels“.