And I thought fixed-lens zoom cameras got into ridiculous ranges when they exceeded 12X! Now a couple of brands have 40X models! The latest is Olympus SP-820UZ iHS (nifty likkle name there, rolls right off the tongue. And the memory).
Sporty-looking wee thing though.
Don't get me wrong though, I would never use anything except a zoom lens, if it wasn't for the fact that despite tons of technical progress, there are always compromises in size and/or image quality, and the longer the range, the more compromise. For example, if these super-zoom cameras didn't have tiny sensors, they'd have to be the size of a bread-box and weigh kilos. And cost many thousands of dollars, and even then there'd probably be compromises with image quality in parts of the range, compared to good prime (non-zoom) lenses.
The sensors in this kind of camera are only a little bigger than those in camera-phones.
But of course it depends on your needs. If you never make prints, large ones, you may never miss a large sensor and a divinely precise lens.
Pentax also has a new "Ultra-zoom" camera, the Pentax X-5 (now there's a nice, simple name). The most remarkable thing about it is how much it looks like Pentax's regular DSLR cameras, like the excellent K-5. It's so close that when I first saw it, I got all excited, thinking Pentax finally had a new DSLR model out. But in real life it's a little smaller of course.
About that likeness, Imaging-Resource comments:
...we have to wonder if it will present any confusion in the minds of consumers. We can imagine them wondering why their camera doesn't seem to perform as well as their friend's ("But it looks the same!"), or simply finding themselves hard-put to see the value in buying the DSLR when the X-5 looks much the same, but is smaller and vastly cheaper.