Olympus touts world's best optical zoom

CES is often a show of firsts. The biggest TV. The teeniest projector. Now Olympus is hoping that its new SP-590UZ (Ultra Zoom) can nab the bragging rights for 'world's most powerful zoom'.

In terms of technology, the SP-590UZ packs in a 12-Megapixel image sensor, Dual Image Stabilization and Face Detection. Not to mention Ultra High-Speed Sequential shooting and a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal II LCD.

Putting the 'Ultra' into zoom

The star of the package, however, is the 26mm, f2.8-5.0 lens, equipped with a 26x telephoto zoom. "The SP-590UZ offers the compact body of an ultra zoom with the flexibility of high-performance optics usually found in interchangeable lenses for DSLR cameras," says Olympus.

Like other Olympus cameras, the SP-590UZ's Dual Image Stabilization technology compensates for camera shake. The TruePic III Image Processor enables the camera to capture razor-sharp images at high ISO settings.

Advanced Face Detection (auto-focus and auto-exposure) can keep track of up to 16 people in group shots, while Perfect Fix In-camera editing enables you to tweak photos as you take them.

Advanced in-camera effects

The Olympus SP-590UZ also features 29 individual shooting modes and three pre-capture scene modes adopted from the Olympus E-30 DSLR.

The Multiple Exposure mode enables one photo to be overlaid or merged with another; Soft Background Focus adds an arty (but subtle) blur effect; while the Beauty Mode effectively lets you airbrush your subject, softening shadows and smoothing out wrinkles.

"The zoom is just one of many elements that set this camera apart," says Nadine Clark, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "Macro to wide-angle there are no compromises... Because of its compact size and an impressive zoom range, it's the ideal choice for travellers and everyone who enjoys the great outdoors."

Wireless Flash-friendly, the SP-590UZ will be available in March with an RRP of $449.99 (£296).