Recent developments in the digital camera market have given amateur photographers that require a decent optical zoom some reasonably priced point-and-shoot alternatives. Following announcements earlier this year by Kodak and Olympus, Samsung has released its own model - the HZ25W, a 12.5MP, 24x optical zoom camera that sports the most powerful lens ever offered on a Samsung compact digital model.

The integrated Schneider-Kreuznach lens has a 26mm wide-angle focal length and in addition to taking photos can record 720p HD video using the high definition H.264 codec. Other noteworthy features include optical and digital image stabilization to help manage the zoom-length without a tripod, full manual shooting for those who require additional control, and advanced auto-shooting which analyzes the current environment to choose between 11 optimized presets for the best possible image.

Photos can be cataloged and browsed easily with the Smart Album tool using criteria such as date and time taken, color tone and media type and additional features such as face recognition, face detection, blink detection and Samsung’s ‘Beauty Shot’ make this one of the most advanced point-and-shoots on the market.

Reid Sullivan, vice president of audio/video and digital imaging marketing at Samsung America emphasizes the approachable yet powerful nature of the HZ25W.

“Photographers of all skill levels are going to be drawn to the HZ25W’s features” he says. “The versatility of the lens gives any user, whether you’re a soccer mom on the sidelines or an enthusiast looking to create a stunning image, the ability to be prepared for just about any shooting scenario. Serious shooters will gravitate toward the HZ25W’s aperture and shutter priority modes as well as full manual control and RAW support. For the entry-level shooter, Samsung’s Smart Auto takes simplicity to a new level, ensuring a great shot every time without having to be concerned about camera settings.”

Available from October 2009, the Samsung HZ25W is priced at USD$399.99.

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