The optical zoom on today's digital cameras is just friggin' phenomenal.
I purchased a Canon S2 IS over the weekend with a 1 GB memory card. Of the many features it offers, one includes a 12x optical zoom lens.
The so-called "super-zoom" cameras are amazing. From time to time they have a bit of trouble focusing at the outside range of the 12x zoom, but for the most part they seem to be just fine.
I went flying today with Howard and took a ton of pictures. From an altitude of 4500 feet, I was able to zoom in on a red truck that was on the highway. Although I can't seem to make out the manufacturer, you can definitely tell that it's a newer model. And it's extended cab. See for yourself.