Casio has bolstered its Exilim compact range with what it claims is the ?world?s slimmest? digital camera with a 7x optical zoom.

Measuring 20.8mm at its thinnest point and sporting a ?non-protruding? lens the 7.2-million-pixel Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V7 is due in UK shops in April priced £299.99.

Explaining the move a Casio spokesman said: ?In recent years, a number of compact, high-performance digital cameras have appeared on the market, but the trade-off between zoom power and camera size was evident? Users who wanted to capture subjects at a distance have had to buy bulkier cameras. Others have made the hard choice to sacrifice zoom for portability.?

The 12-element-in-9-group lens is designed to deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 38-266mm. It includes an aspherical lens element.

Casio?s new baby also boasts CCD shift technology designed to help compensate for camera shake, while its Exilim Engine 2.0 image processor includes an ?Auto Tracking AF? function which aims to follow moving subjects to help keep them in focus until the image is captured.

There is also a feature allowing users to ?selectively eliminate noise in designated colour regions, such as the sky?.

Features include a 2.5in LCD screen, shutter and aperture priority, as well as manual focus and manual exposure options.

The newcomer weighs 149g (excluding rechargeable battery) and measures 95.5×59.8×25.5mm (excluding projections).