Bert found this interesting video/article about people working on an open camera platform. This could have a big impact in the long range.
There's talk and an animation of how the "Frankencamera" might work to combine a few near-simultaneous exposures to expand the dynamic range, with contrasty subjects. Interesting because it seems that for me the bulk of difficult subjects are so because of too high contrast.
Of course a single exposure would be best, and there is progress made. For example, RED camera claims their newer chips will be exceptional in this area.