Olympus has unveiled its new flagship STYLUS SP-820UZ iHS Ultra Zoom compact camera. The 14-megapixel snapper features a 40x super-wide-angle optical zoom lens that promises to bring a subject located hundreds of feet away into sharp focus without changing lenses.

The iHS in the product name stands for Intelligent, High-Sensitivity and High-Speed technologies which include a 14-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor and a TruePic V image processor that work together to improve performance at low-lighting levels. At the same time, they also deliver fast CMOS contrast detection autofocus, Super-Resolution Zoom technology (where the focus distance is effectively doubled, resulting in up to 80x magnification), and three frames per second (fps) high-speed burst shooting at full resolution, increasing to 30 fps at a reduced resolution of 3-megapixels.

The STYLUS SP-820UZ iHS features a 4 - 160 mm (22.4 - 896 mm 35mm film equivalent) 40x optical zoom wide-angle lens with an f3.4 (wide) to f5.7 (telephoto) aperture range. Of course, that doesn't quite match the 42x optical zoom of the 24 - 1000 mm equivalent lens or the 16.1-megapixel BSI-sensor of the Nikon P510 that was announced back in February, but it is a hundred bucks cheaper.

Dual image stabilization brings together Sensor-Shift image stabilization with high ISO sensitivity (ISO 80 - 6400) and fast shutter speeds (1/2000 to 1/4 second, although that can be notched up to four seconds in Night Scene mode) to minimize the effects of camera shake for blur-free, clear images.

An intriguingly-named Hand-Held Starlight mode snaps multiple low light images and stitches them together into a single image with crisp detail. Other creativity modes include backlight HDR, in-camera panorama and a Beauty Make-Up mode that allows post-shot application of "everything from eyeliner and whitening teeth to eye shadow and blush."

As you might expect with a modern digital camera, the new flagship compact is capable of Full 1080p movie recording with multi-motion movie image stabilization to reduce blur and Linear PCM audio. It can also entertain 240 fps at HSQVGA quality for super-slo-mo action sequences. There's also a feature called Photo with video clip that records a video clip before and after an image is captured.

The camera additionally benefits from a built-in flash, USB 2.0 and HDMI Type D physical connectivity, SD/SDHC/SDXC media card support and Wi-Fi compatibility via an optional Eye-Fi SD memory card.

The STYLUS SP-820UZ iHS is available this month for an estimated street price of US$329.99.

Product page: SP-820UZ iHS

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