The Casio Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V7, at the time of this announcement, is the world's slimmest digital camera with a 7x optical zoom. The 7.2 megapixel V7 is only 24.3mm thick (about 0.95 inches) and also has a 2.5 inch LCD. Another major highlight is that the camera includes a CCD-shift image stabilization system. Casio will be showing off the new camera at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and it will be available in March for $399.
At the heart of the V7 is a new Exilim Engine 2.0 image processor which allows for some interesting new features. The extra processing power allows for "Auto Follow AF", which allows the camera to stay focused on a moving subject until the image is captured. It also allows the ability for noise reduction in selected areas of the image, like a blue sky. Instantaneous color correction and angle adjustment functions also become available with the extra power.
The 7x optical zoom lens has a 38-266mm equivalent focal length. To prevent blur from hand-shake at long zoom lengths or from slow shutter speeds, the V7 features a new CCD-shift stabilization mechanism to counteract camera movement. To aid with fast moving subjects, the camera also includes Casio's Anti-Shake DSP, which utilizes higher sensitivities and faster shutter speeds to reduce blur.
Also, you'll notice the "A", "S", and "M" on the mode dial in the picture above. The camera includes aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual exposure modes in addition to the standard auto mode and Casio's Best Shot system.
A next generation movie encoding method allows recording times about 1.5 times longer than, but with equal quality to, MPEG-4 encoded movies. Also, since the optical zoom is silent, it is available during movie capture and allows you to capture stereo sound without the whirring of a zoom motor.
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