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The early "black" Konica Hexar AF had a silent mode that was very good. For complicated reasons Konica disabled it in later versions of the camera. But it was still there in the firmware and could be hacked back into existence. Plus it had a sweet 35/2. Plus active AF that focused perfectly in complete darkness. They even used IR for the active AF so there ...
There was a Canon Rebel model that had a semi transparent mirror, so half the light went to the viewfinder and half could pass to the film, so there was no need to flip the mirror, which is the loudest process on a SLR camera. On a tween lens camera there is no need to flip any mirror at all, so the cameras were very silent.
Actually, the reason lies in the manufacturing process. Pages 11-12 of an old Canon whitepaper detailing their full-frame sensor technology describes the economics of manufacturing image sensors of different sizes. Image sensors are semiconductor devices, like the CPU in a computer or the SoC in a smartphone or tablet, and are manufactured in batches by the ...
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