I would love to read the transcript of that interview.
It should still be there in the Photokina interviews at Dpreview.com.
Interviewer's statements are in bold, the Canon guy is in normal script. Underlines and italics are my own.
So at the moment is there still an image quality disadvantage to CMOS in a small sensor?
"The signal which each pixel produces is different for CMOS and CCD, as is the noise current, so they are not directly comparable. The output is very different."
Translation: Yes, there is an image quality difference. Let us iron out the kinks first.
We ask because the standard set by EOS cameras using CMOS - in noise terms - is very high, and there's an expectation - realistic or not - that this will be reflected in compact cameras using CMOS sensors.
"It all depends on the sensor size and pixel size; the EOS 5D Mark II has a much larger pixel pitch than any compact, so obviously that makes a big difference. However, in the future, even the small pixels will, by improvements to the technology, offer better quality - though we cannot say when."
So the Canon guy says that sensor size and pixel size make a big difference.
Now we have tiny compact camera sensors with over 14 million pixels are we getting to the point where resolution is being limited by the lens?
"Again we can"t go into detail but the lenses themselves are good enough; diffraction is beginning to be the limiting factor when closing down the aperture."
Translation: Yes we are, but I just can't give you a straight answer.
So our point is, why keep going? If you're already at the point where adding megapixels brings no benefits why do it? As a market leader could Canon not take a stand on this issue…
"To some extent I agree with you, which is why we're looking at the possibility of adding diversity to the G10, which would be the answer to those looking for something other than high megapixel count."
Translation: You got me there, and our marketing departments are working overtime to find a new way to market these P&S cameras to the masses.
I see nothing in that article that says a larger sensor pixel is detrimental to the image quality. In fact, the Canon guy basically agrees that cramming pixels into P&S cameras is a useless endeavour and that pixel sizes matter while pointing to their flag ship EOS 5D.
No where in that interview does the Canon guy tell DPreview to shove it. In fact, he comes across like a politician who is cornered by being unable to give a straight answer.