Olympus SP-550 UZ: a compact monster with 18x optical zoom

Prepare to kick your pathetic, 3x optical zoomer to the curb kids. Olympus just announced what they are calling the world's first, wide 18x optical zoom on a compact digital camera. The SP-550 UZ features a smokin' 28-504mm (35mm camera equivalent) focal length with "Dual-Image stabilization" (high 6,400 ISO value combined with CCD-based mechanical image stabilizer) to protect against blurring. The 7.1 megapixel CCD is joined on the feature list by a 2.5-inch 230,000 pixel LCD, 15fps high-burst rate in 1.2 megapixel resolution, BrightCapture low light shooting technology, a super macro mode for taking shots as close as 1-cm, and xD-Picture Cards support with 4x AA batteries providing the juice. Available February 2007 for an estimated street price of $500.

[Thanks, David]