Olympus SP-820UZ Packs a Ridiculous 40x Lens, Great for Wildlife and Jousting

We’ve been saying that the “compact” camera will still have a spot in the camera market, even after cell phones drink most of its milkshake, due to the fact that they can be specialized in ways phones can’t. Here’s another example: the new Olympus Stylus SP-820UZ is a super-zoom compact camera that packs an absurdly long 40x zoom lens. In 35mm terms, this lens reaches from 22.4mm to 896mm — wide angle to super telephoto. In case that’s not enough reach for you (“we need to go deeper!”), the camera also features a “super-resolution zoom” that uses digital zoom to offer up to 80x.

The photo above doesn’t give a very good sense of how ridiculous the lens is; Check out this view from the top:

As you can see, you’ll need to make sure you don’t accidentally poke out the eyes of those around you while you’re using this camera.

Aside from the beastly lens, the SP-820UZ features a 14-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 1080p HD movie recording, a 3-inch 460K-dot LCD screen, dual image stabilization (a great help when you’re peering at the world at ~900mm), super macro mode, beauty make-up mode (you know, in case you’re shooting models from across the city), AA battery support, and an ISO max of 6400.

The camera will be available starting next month to anyone willing to drop $330 on it.