Kodak releases camera with 24x optical zoom

12-megapixel Kodak Z980.

At the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Eastman Kodak announced a new 24x optical zoom digital camera, a zoom range that eclipses the 20x optical zoom mark held by the Olympus SP-570 UZ, Canon PowerShot SX10 IS, and Casio EX-FH20.

The 12-megapixel Kodak Z980, available for US$400 in the spring of this year, will offer a 26mm wide-angle to 624mm telephoto zoom range, as well as optical image stabilization, a Smart Capture mode that optimizes in-camera settings based on the shooting environment, and a detachable vertical grip and shutter button to allow for easier vertical shots. The Z980 will also have a high-definition movie mode, as well as a hot shoe.

That 24x optical zoom makes it the record-holding megazoom camera of note, but it's early yet. Expect all the major vendors to try to outdo each other in terms of megapixels, zoom ranges, pure portability, and in-camera features as the CES camera announcements roll in.

Kodak also announced one other addition to its digital camera line, the 10-megapixel Kodak EasyShare M380. The slim, 5x optical zoom camera will also have the Smart Capture feature and will be available in March for $180. The M380 is offered in three colors: black, red, and teal.

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