In a surprise announcement Canon have revealed a 10x zoom lens (35 mm - 350 mm) for digital cameras with lens-shift optical image stabilisation. "The lens's outstanding image performance and high 10x zoom ratio are made possible through the introduction of a new mechanical structure, which makes possible the precision movement of the correcting lens group, and a new optical design compatible with high resolving capability."

This appears to be a lens structure for use in new digital cameras (remember, Casio use a Canon lens on the QV-3000EX).. So now Canon are stomping on Sony's ground (but with Canon quality lenses).

Here's the official press release:

Canon develops industry's first 10x zoom lens for digital cameras to feature lens-shift optical image stabilization

TOKYO, May 22, 2000-Canon Inc. announced today in Japan the development of the industry's first ever digital camera-use 10x zoom lens equipped with lens-shift optical image-stabilizing technology. The company will use the lens unit in future Canon brand digital camera models and intends to market it to other manufacturers.

Demand now is strong for digital cameras featuring high pixel counts and equipped with high-performance, high zoom-ratio lenses. Generally speaking, however, zoom lenses offering higher zoom ratios are more susceptible to image blur caused by camera shake, increasing the expectation of zoom lenses equipped with image stabilization capability.

Canon began research and development in the area of image stabilizing technology early on, developing an optical image stabilizing system for video camcorders employing a Variangle Prism in 1992, and using the shift method in 1998. Both are featured in Canon-brand video camcorders. Furthermore, in 1995 the company developed a shift-method optical image stabilizing system for SLR cameras, which was incorporated into interchangeable lenses for Canon's line-up of EOS model AF SLR cameras.

The new shift-method optical Image Stabilizer-equipped 10x zoom lens adapts technology previously employed in video camcorders and SLR cameras for use in digital cameras. The lens's outstanding image performance and high 10x zoom ratio are made possible through the introduction of a new mechanical structure, which makes possible the precision movement of the correcting lens group, and a new optical design compatible with high resolving capability.

Many of the video camcorders now available utilize an electronic means of image stabilization, which results in degradation of image resolution and changes in angle of view. Furthermore, such systems do not correct for image shake when capturing still images. By contrast, Canon's newly developed shift-method Image Stabilizer; which corrects for image shake optically, results in absolutely no image resolution degradation or variations in angle of view, and delivers effective image-stabilizing performance during exposure for each and every still image that is captured.

Compared with image stabilizing technology using a Variangle prism, the Canon optical lens-shift Image Stabilizer realizes a compact size and a reduced number of components, which makes possible cost savings and contributes to products that are compact and lightweight.

Canon, drawing on its experience and expertise in optical technology as a leading camera manufacturer, will continue striving to develop digital camera products offering even higher image quality and performance. The company also intends to actively market this lens unit as a key device to other digital camera manufacturers.