What you write is at odds with decades of common practice.
People have been shooting medium format and large format because for landscape work the higher resolution provided creates an print which even in smaller sizes allows the viewer a greater insight into the substance and texture of the scene.
Even if you've never seen such a print directly yourself, just look at a well produced book of landscape images by someone who has shot 4X5" or larger. Ansel Adams as but one example, simply because his books are ubiquitous. Even in an A4 sized offset reproduction the superior image quality can be seen.
Sorry, but the quest for higher pixel count is simply a desire on the part of some photographers to try and achieve with digital what they used to achieve with medium and large format. And now with cameras and backs of 22Mp and higher it is at last possible.
The debate of "the camera vs the photographer" is tiresome at best. Skilled artists in all pursuits like to use the best tools because they remove barriers to expression and limitations on performance. Why do you think concert musicians buy the best instruments, top golfers the best clubs, etc, etc.
You missed the last line of my post, didn't you?
I fully understand the value of higher pixel count for larger print sizes, but the ability to print large is IMHO not the most important criteria in determining the quality of a landscape image.
Pushing the point further, I feel that the current trend to over-emphasize this resolution factor is playing again the long fought battle of photography for recognition as an art form. Let me explain...
On the plus side, very large print have a WOW factor to them that helps hanging them in an art gallery or museum.
On the negative side, it seems rather obvious that the current trend favours very expensive high end devices that many talented landscape photographers will not have access to. Right now, we are still at the level of 4*5 resolutionwise. Fine art photographers can still compete at a high, but reasonnable cost. Extrapolating based on the current pace of technological progress though, it doesn't take much to figure out that within 5 years the entry barreer for "top level landscape photography" will be too high for many to afford... IF "top level landscape photography" is defined by the usage of the most expensive digital capturing devices.
I just don't think that this is the way to go. An art form whose practise and value is determined centrally by the ability to compete economically stops to be an art form IMHO.
By the way, I find the resolution displayed in at least some of these Ansel Adams 8x10 images to be rather un-impressive compared to what even a 1ds2/D2x can do. This does actually even show in the "Ansel Adams at 100" monography of which I happen to own a copy. If I am not mistaken, this book is considered by many as being the best currently in print.
Now, I am aware that the grain would probably handle better very large prints that the pixels of a DSLR, but that still wouldn't change the fact that the DSLR image does IMHO probably contain more information (again in some of his images).
IMHO, the bottom line is that:
- His images are amazing subject, light and composition wise.
- His prints are amazing tone wise.
- But I don't find them amazing resolution wise.
Yet they are master pieces, which IMHO tends to support my statements more than counter them.
Would he have used an A75 or P45 if he were still alive today? Maybe he would have but it wouldn't have made his images significantly better IMHO.