In the world of technology, there's a number of ongoing todger- measuring battles that just won't go away. Manufacturers vie to make the biggest television, the slimmest mobile phone, and the lightest laptop for the five minutes before someone else punts out an ever , slimmer or model with twice the memory and a jetpack on the back. In the camera world the longest zoom is a crown that has just been in the run-up to , but a close runner-up is the new Fujifilm FinePix S8100fd.
The 10-megapixel S8100fd packs a whopping 18x zoom. In real money, that's a focal length of 27-486mm equivalent to a 35mm camera. If anyone thought superzooms were only good for looking at things far far away, the S8100fd proves them wrong with a 1cm macro function and by fitting more into the wide end of the lens than just about any consumer camera we can think of. The average compact manages 35mm, and 28mm only if you're lucky.
There's more to life than long zooms, of course, and the S8100fd also features a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen as well as a viewfinder, although it is electronic. You get manual control as well as shutter and aperture priority, and a 5 frame exposure bracketing mode is also available.
Fujifilm is trumpetting a burst rate of 15 frames per second, although this is at a reduced 1.2 megapixel resolution. A pre-capture mode is also available, buffering everything the camera is pointed at and saving up to five frames from before you hit the shutter.
Of course, all this won't come cheap. The S8100fd has yet to be priced for the UK but will be on sale in March 2008, if you're desperate to get your hands on one of the biggest zooms going. Until the next one, anyway. -Richard Trenholm