Casio's Big-zoomin' slim fittin' digicam

Slim cams with internally-zooming, nonprotruding lenses are nothing new. But Casio kicks it up a notch by squeezing a 7X (38mm - 266mm) zoomer into the one-inch thick Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V7. Lots of other goodies are inside, too. In addition to the anti-shake chip that it's been using to (somewhat successfully) process blur out of photos, Casio finally sprung for a mechanical antishake system that shifts the CCD to compensate for jitters — a la the mechanisms in some Pentax and Olympus cameras.

And the V7 sports Casio's shiny new EXILIM Engine 2.0 image processor, which it says will reduce fuzzy pixel noise and speed up shooting. The new chip also lets it automatically brighten up dark parts of photos - something you've been able to do manually on HP and Nikon cameras for a while. And it has an "Auto Follow AF" capability to hold focus on moving subjects like sugared-up kiddies.

The V7 can record video in stereo - a rare feature on point-and-shoots. And it uses the new H.264 video codec to squeeze about 50 percent more footage onto a card, sez Casio.

No word yet on when you can buy one of these puppies, or on how much it will cost.