I had this conversation with a friend as we were driving around to different antique shops looking for old film cameras. Our general consensus was that digital photography seems headed for a plateau in the relatively near future. Sure, sensors will continue to advance in ISO and dynamic range performance, AF systems will become more and more accurate, and lenses will show less and less flaws...but considering what the current technology is capable of, what real difference will it make? Just for example, lets take a look at lens sharpness. Is any modern, "mid-grade" lens not sharp enough already? Heck, we now have a $150 50mm that is plenty sharp even wide open.
What room is there for improvement that will actually change photography in a significant way? This conversation came up because we were laughing about having tens of thousands of dollars of digital equipment between the two of us, and here we are looking for film equipment that, by any quantitative measure, is going to produce an inferior end result. Ironically, part of the reason we've started playing with film is to achieve images with a fresh look.
So what is next for photography? Are we headed back to film, continued slow advances in the same old tech specs, or is something entirely new going to come into play?