Technology has definitely made an improvement in sensors, and more pixels can mean more detail. But other factors include sensor size, the quality of the noise reduction, and the quality and brightness of the lens.
The Sony F828 had a 2/3" sensor and a 7x, 28-200mm equivalent, f/2.0-2.8 lens. No manufacturer today is making a camera with such a combination. I'd say the closest you'd find would be the Nikon P7700, which has a 1/1.7" sensor, the same zoom range, and a f/2.0-4.0 lens. On paper the F828 is better with its much bigger sensor. But the P7700 will probably match if not beat the F828 for image quality, and beat it on many other fronts, including a much smaller size, faster performance, and the inclusion of HD video. Of course, you can buy a F828 for under $100, while the P7700 would be more than $400.
A $100 camera of today can take good quality photos in outdoor light, but it won't match the old Sony for construction quality or lens sharpness and aperture. Still, a small camera is extremely appealing. I know I'd rather carry a pocket camera than the F828 boat anchor.
I'm setting up for a vacation that would require a good, versatile camera. My first thought was go for a used beast in my price range - something like the 7MP Sony F828.
But then I started looking at the super thin, cheesy looking little cameras out now with double the megapixels and pretty decent zooms. The photos taken by some of them look pretty nice.
Has tech made the beast obsolete? Back in my day (you whippersnapper), the size of the lens was important; are megapixels the whole story.nowadays for a sharp, clear photo?