Well Dale. For a large part I agree with you that it is, or should be, largely about the fun part of being able to take good photos. And in a very large part of the situations modern compacts can do that for us. But how wonderful and powerful these little contraptions may be, like everything they have their limits, as DSLRs have their limits too.
I am a 'compact' user myself and as I have said I really like my Fuji Superzoom with a 'compact' sensor which in a lot of situations can give me the photos I want/am satisfied with.... but not in all situations. As long as you use a camera within the limits it is designed for you won't notice the limitations it has. But I tend to push my camera to the limits and when I do so I regularly run into these limits and go beyond them. And that's when I get blurry photos. I then have to increase the ISO setting to allow for a shorter shutter time but then my images get noisy and lose detail and I know that a camera with bigger pixels would have allowed me to up the ISO and still have usable noise levels and much better looking images. It happens when I want to shoot at maximum zoom AND in low light AND want to crop to part of the image. That's just too much to ask from a camera like this. It's outside its design parameters and I know it, so I accept it.... to an extent. Because I also know that there is a sweet spot where the number of pixels is balanced just right with pixel size and with zoom range so it will give me the maximum amount of situations in which I will be able to shoot photos that will be to MY satisfaction.
With the current level of sensor noise many people start to feel that the emphasis on number of pixels has gone too far. It is a trade-off after all. What you gain in sunny weather resolution you lose in low light resolution and many people feel they would rather have more low light resolution and would happily sacrifice some sunny weather resolution for that, as is their good right if that is what they prefer.
But do I run out and get myself a DSLR when I run into the limitations of my Superzoom? Not yet, because I like the compact versatile all-in-one aspects of my camera. But if I were to design my 'ideal' camera its specifications would be slightly different. It would probably be an updated version of the Fuji S9600 (with IS and a slightly bigger LCD and newer processor). That camera has a pixel density of 20 Mp/cm^2 where mine has 33 Mp/cm^2 and it has noticeably better low light performance. It doesn't have fewer pixels but slightly more (9 Mp vs. 8 Mp) but it sacrifices zoom range as a trade-off. And I expect that combination to be nearer to what I(!!!) consider to be that sweet spot of specifications combination, and quite possibly many people would agree with me. But unfortunately that camera currently doesn't exist yet (bring on a S9700 Fuji
). And that is my (little) frustration and the frustration of many others. But I won't lose any sleep over it.
When in doubt..... Press the shutter.