Dare I wade into the pizza war?
Perhaps I can translate it into a wooden pizza to fit one of my other hobbies: If I have a 15" maple disc, cutting it into 6 pieces WOULD give me more maple surface area than cutting it into 8 pieces. Why? because there is waste from blade kerf. If I have a 1/8" kerf, I lose an approximately 1/8" slice of material with each cut. Let's say now that we fill in each cut with a 1/8" slice of ebony so we don't lose overall surface area when we glue it all up. The disc maintains its original surface area, but there is still less maple surface area with 8 slices than with 6. Using a 1/16" kerf blade will increase the ratio of maple surface area to ebony, but there will still be less maple surface area with 8 slices than with 6.
Now imagine the disc is actually a rectangle, and the pieces are squares instead of pizza slices. The maple is the photo-sensitive portion of the sensor, and the ebony is the border around each pixel. If sensor size and transistor size are constant, doesn't increasing the number of pixels increase the number of borders and transistors, and doesn't that reduce the portion of the overall sensor that receives light? Is moving from a 500nm process to a 180nm process like going from a 1/8" kerf to 9/200" kerf?
I'm obviously not a sensor geek, so I might be completely misunderstanding pixels, borders, et cetera. What am I missing in this analogy?
What you're missing is gapless microlenses, which essentially render the "blade kerf" largely moot by concentrating the light into the light-sensitive area between the "kerf lines".