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Super-Duper-Zoom

It's the week of CES - the Consumer Electronics Show, the big tech expo of the year in the US - which means it's the week manufacturers show off a lot of their coolest new stuff. We're expecting lots of 3D (yawn), lots of tablets (seriously, lots), and lots of mirrorless 'Micro Four Thirds' cameras. But so far in the camera area, we've seen another trend: super-duper zoom.

With more and more people eschewing compact cameras for ever-more-high-quality mobile phone cameras, camera makers need to find new ways to make a 'proper' camera worth having. It looks like their chosen route is to ramp up the zoom factor. (This makes sense, as most phone cameras still don't have any optical zoom.)

Two manufacturers, Fujifilm and Kodak, have shown off compact-ish cameras with a whopping 30x optical zoom. In old money, that's the equivalent of a 24mm-720mm zoom lens! The Fujifilm, the HS20EXR, will be out later in Spring for $499 in the US; hopefully you'll get change for £400 in Europe. The Kodak, named the EasyShare Max, should also be out later in Spring for just $330, which'll hopefully translate into around £250.

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