What wonderful photographs!
In case anyone is interested, I have scanned the 35mm slides I mentioned in my earlier post and done the "pixel peeping" comparison with the equivalent 8Mp digital photographs. A most interesting exercise! It is actually not a joke to say it is like comparing chalk and cheese. The digital files (shot RAW and carefully processed in Lightroom) are very smooth and cheese-like, the scans much grainier and chalk-like (partly because I used Kodak EBX, rather than a very fine film).
As expected, the slide scans do hold more detail.
Not trying to start nor add to a "digital vs film" argument here by any means, but I tend to agree with what you're saying to some point. I'll expound:
I shoot mostly two things: primarily people, secondarily landscape, with the former being far more often than the latter.
When I switched to digital (a D100) in 2003, I noticed that with people (where perhaps one is NOT looking for the finest details) that I (and my test model who is a designer and had a very good eye) *vastly* preferred the digital files to the film, which was at the time either Fuji Reala or Fuji Provia 100F (35mm). It was the tonality improvement - the way the whole image just held together as a whole that we noticed, and it was extremely obvious. Within a year or two I had also picked up a D70 and shot both cameras on a trip where I shot a bit of landscape. What I noticed there was that while I preferred the tonality of the digital shots that I also could see, *in certain situations*, that the film could resolve a bit more. My thought at the time was that 6mp digital was equal to or better than 35mm color film for all things except the prototypical "wide angle flowers in the foreground" landscape - that sort of shot just needed a bit more rez than 6mp had to offer.
Fast forward to 2005, when I picked up a D2X. Game over for 35mm film - completely. Even better tonality (that's really the strength of the camera at low ISO, which is where I use it) and the rez improvements were quite noticeable. I've shot many a 11x, 13x, or 16x on film, always with Nikons best lenses, on a tripod, etc, on Velvia, K25, or Provia 100F, and the D2X images at the same sizes look better in every respect - to the point where I compare them with images taken with my TLR's I used several years ago. And this was on finer detail subjects, not just people.
So that got me wondering - where is the point of demarcation where the megapixels are enough to get the resolution we need, and my best (and wild guess) is that it's around 10mp. I've recently picked up a D80 as a backup, and recently shot some landscape with it, and initial thoughts are that 10mp are sufficient for landscape work - maybe not quite as nice as 12 (or more), but at this 'level' of resolution, there simply isn't any real world advantage to film for me, whereas at 6mp, while I generally preferred digital, I could see some shots that Velvia would work better for.
I don't own an 8mp camera but have done some post and retouch work for an Olympus user as well as a Canon 20D user, and in both cases I thought the resolution was obviously a bit better than 6mp, but to my eye, it wasn't quite up to what I have experienced with either the D80 or D2X in terms of what I think is really neccessary to do the higher detail landscape work to a technical level that I prefer. In the Canons case the glass was L glass, not sure of what was on the Olympus.
So at the end this is of course just my opinion - worth little more than spare change, but I do think that every shooter will have their own "personal" line in the sand in terms of how many megapixels is required to "beat" or "meet" film dependent highly on the subject matter they shoot.
And, like the above poster, I hated scanning film - so I'm grateful for the advances in technology and am the happiest I've been at the image quality I get out of a relatively portable camera. No more hauling a 4x5 around with the wind blowing the bellows all over the place....