Panasonic has launched a new digital camera on Monday that promises a big zoom in a small package.

Called the ZX1 in the UK and the ZR1 in the US, the new model will sport an 8x optical zoom, 25mm Ultra-Wide-Angle lens with a 12-megapixel sensor.

The result means users will have a zoom range of 25-200mm.

Another key feature of the ZR1/ZX1 will be its fast, high-speed Auto Focus (AF) says Panasonic, and its 1.1 second start-up time.

Specs wise the camera will feature a 2.7-inch screen, the promise of being able to take 330 pictures during a single charge and the usual array of Panasonic goodies such as intelligent auto (iA) mode, optical image stabilizer (O.I.S.), MEGA O.I.S, anti hand-shake technologies, face recognition and HDR mode.

On the video front you'll get 720p at 30fps, with a mini-HDMI video out enabling you to export straight to your HD TV.

The LUMIX DMC-ZX1 will have a retail price of around £280 and be hitting the shops around September 2009 in black, red, blue, and silver.

In America the DMC-ZR1 will feature identical specs but cost considerably less at $279.99.