While I agree fully with Michael's point, it misses the much more important rant: what on earth is the point of 10+ megapixel point&shoot cameras, 20+ megapixel dSLRs and 50+ megapixel MFDBs when 99.999999% of all photography is only ever seen on the screen? I'm fully aware LL is in large part for and of fine art photographers, but out in the real world people don't do prints beyond a 4x5 (that's inches, not feet). And that's a dying art as well. Even those who hang pictures are moving towards digital picture frames. Printed magazines are going extinct, and Kindle 5, Sony Reader 7 or disposable digital paper will kill the last few which remain. A slow, painful uncalibrated 72 dpi sRGB screen at a time.
Sure, we'll have affordable and large 300dpi screens eventually. Then again, current trend seems to be pushing video and 3D stills rather than screen resolution, so the 5DII and P65 owners might be out of luck for quite a while.
Now, I have a 80cmx80cm MF shot I made on my wall and will have more after I move, and like a good print as much as most others here. I even go to exhibitions. But I and especially the average LL forumite is hardly the standard, even in the industry. Just how many photographers get their living from prints, and how many of those out of prints larger than a magazine spread? 20%? 10%? 1?
It's not only us, though. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad, Phase, etc. need to wake up. I've ranted elsewhere
about the lack of innovation in the industry which I won't rehash here.
My point here is that what you can show on the web is all
that matters in 99.99999% of the cases. If you can't produce work which looks stellar on a 72dpi screen, you're shit
. Unfortunately the photographer has almost zero control of how their work is seen on an uncalibrated 5-year-old LCD through color mismanaged Internet Explorer. I presume that's why we have so many ghastly HDR, prickly oversharpened, surypy oversaturated, morbid draganized, overvibranciated and too much frigging local contrast enhancement*, making your average day even on most fine art sites like a nightmarish stroll through a kitschy version of Alice In Wonderland - but perhaps I give too much credit to the photographers thinking it's not their fault.
For photographers this means that we should urge hardware manufacturers and software developers to move to aRGB (or wider) color standard, make monitors and cameras factory-calibrated and "good enough" (no one
calibrates outside this audience), create fully color-aware workflows which don't require an IT degree to implement, and write web browsers which consistently, correctly and by default use color profiles. I know these are mostly pie-in-the-sky dreams, but I'd much rather have companies spend my investments on those, rather than putting frigging microprisms or goddamn AA filters on my frigging cameras.
Ooh, it feels good, ranting.
* I swear if Lightroom made Clarity scale go to 11 people would still ask for 12. And yes, I know it goes to 100.