Even newer cameras will produce those bright spots on a very long exposure. Just learn to process them out
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Another practical difference (think I already mentioned this) is that the 70-200 II + TC is weather-sealed (when used with a 7D), whereas the 100-400mm lacks the mount gasket (although the switches and extending zoom/focus ring are sealed).Just to chip in there, regardless of what sealing the 100-400L has, I'd consider it unsealed as far as wet weather usage is concerned. On more than one occasion using it unprotected in persisting moderate-heavy rain, I've had water ingress probably via the pump-zoom action which re-dispersed as condensation on the elements. My fix for that was getting the 70-300L in addition and in heavy rain testing so far that has held out. I considered going the 70-200II route too, but that just seemed unnecessarily expensive for a shorter zoom range where I have no need for possible faster apertures.
given nobody makes such fast zooms, it must be difficult to get decent image quality out of them, even with a smaller (APS-C) sensor
I don't really need the back LCD, but it will never go away in a mainstream camera. It is one of the features that attracted the masses to digital cameras, they can tell if they actually captured a photo, and many carry their cameras with them to use as a display gallery to show photos they took.It could be radical and still be mainstream. I'm not saying remove the ability to playback images on the body, I'm just saying remove it from the back. If they can come up with some kind of hybrid EVF like on the X100 for example, you could review that way.
The big user of space is the mirror. EF Lenses are designed with a focus distance to account for a FF mirror. Remove the mirror, design new lenses with a short distance to the sensor, and a huge reduction in size occurs. Thats why the 35mm film point and shoot cameras were much smaller.As before I was thinking in two parts, one of which was how small could you make a DSLR? Specifically one that would be compatible with existing accessories. As such, the mirror box stays in that case. I was looking at other areas where size optimisation could occur.
Once you remove the mirror and design a new set of lenses, the size of the sensor doesn't have much effect, its the lens design.Not entirely true... only shorter focal length lenses could get some benefit. A longer zoom or prime wouldn't get smaller just because you move the mount slightly closer to the sensor. Big sensor still means big lenses (for a given quality, FoV, equivalent f number, ignoring DoF). Look at m4/3 using various compromises to help make lenses simpler. Distortion is less corrected and they rely on software to fix it. Olympus claim a small 75-300, but that's in part because it is slower than anyone else's similar zoom.
The DSLR is bigger than the SLR due to the battery, memory cards, a whole bunch of electronics and motors inside the body. Plus every body wants a hand grip for the DSLR.Look at compact digital cameras, they also have a ton of electronics in them. I can imagine the "stuff" would easily sit in place of where the film rolls would otherwise go. The mechanics between a SLR and DSLR I think would be near enough the same. I do think the LCD on the back is one of the biggest consumers of volume, so removing that would allow bodies to get much smaller. That also removes the need for the power so batteries could be smaller too.