Before I get to my meaning of this thread, may I digress a bit ?
My first 64meg CF card was AUS$399.
I can buy an 8Gb ExtremeIII for less than that now.
Technology and manufacturing has progressed so much over the years !
The cards are made faster and cheaper and in this case better.
OK, to the topic .....
Olympus has raised the bar in p&s with the SP550 (18 x optical zoom).
By the end of the year at least one other company I know of will also have one.
Looking at it, will this other camera manufacturer do it in a hurried fashion to take a place in the market ?
Slightly off topic .....
Manufacturers of our great lens have taken many many hours/years to perfect many of the lens we use and see today.
I don't believe a lens can be designed and produced to export quality overnight even given todays abilities.
Back to topic ....
With my mention about lens above, do you think that a company can produce a camera with 18x zoom to gain a place,
and do it in less than a year and in doing so short cut quality of lens design to get it out there
There are numerous other factors involved such as sensor/noise etc etc.
An example of what I mean....
Lets say I developed a p&s with 18 to 324mm lens with ISO of 2000 and virtual no noise below 800 ISO and it took years to perfect.
The camera took the world by storm and swamped the market.
6 months later X camera company came out with one. Would they have made one as good
Sorry for the long winded question and I hope you see a question that deserves a reply.