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Canon's skyscraper cam

The PowerShot TX1's 10x zoom lens fits by folding straight back rather than sideways.

Canon PowerShot TX1
Canon PowerShot TX1 Canon USA

Cramming large lenses into ultracompact cameras isn't very new. Neither is a vertically oriented digital camera design--in fact, most of the earliest models looked more like camcorders than traditional film cameras. But most manufacturers have been folding their optical path sideways to fit 4x-plus lenses into tiny cameras. But when Canon went looking for more interiorl real estate to fit a 10x 39-to-390mm-equivalent lens into its new 7-megapixel ultracompact, it took a New York approach and went vertical.

The lens completely retracts back into the camera when powered off, and extends just about a half-inch past the camera body when shooting.

Canon PowerShot TX1
Canon PowerShot TX1 Canon USA

Other notable specs include Face Detection AF (people only), which looks like the hot feature to have for 2007, optical image stabilization, and a 1280x720 30fps movie mode. Though it lacks an optical viewfinder, it does have a flip-and-twist LCD--a mighty small 1.8-incher. The TX1 incorporates Canon's latest image processor, Digic III, which makes the higher-resolution movie mode and the camera's claimed 2.2fps continuous-shooting speed possible.

There are some potential disappointments. Battery life is rated at a mere 160 shots (CIPA standard), the lens really lacks a wide-angle view, and there's no red-eye reduction or removal, despite the proximity of the lens to the flash. The camera will also be a bit pricey, $500 when it ships next month.