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Fujifilm FinePix Z33 WP review

Ben Pitt
21 Sep 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

Inside it's just a basic compact camera, but it's cheaper than other waterproof cameras, and good enough for casual photography.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (35-105mm equivalent), 110g

The FinePix Z33 WP is Fujifilm's first underwater camera.

A year ago, there were only a couple of manufacturers making waterproof cameras, but now it's a crowded market. Fujifilm's is the least expensive to date, and although it doesn't make any claims for being shockproof, as many of its competitors do, the curvy plastic shell seems robust.

It's waterproof down to three metres, and suitable for snorkelling as well as general beach use, skiing and wet weather. It's lighter, slimmer and more stylish than its competitors, but the small battery's 200-shot life isn't so impressive. Surprisingly, the battery will happily click into place when inserted the wrong way round, which could lead people into thinking that they have a faulty camera.

The back of the camera is a departure from previous Fujifilm designs, with two vertical strips of five buttons down the right side of the 2.7in screen. This means that the four-way navigation pad is arranged in an unusual T-shape, which took us a while to get used to. We're pleased to see a dedicated video record button, but the video mode isn't up to much. It has a basic 640x480 resolution, no zoom while recording, an auto-exposure that reacts in abrupt steps to changing lighting conditions and heavy image noise in low light - including most underwater scenes.

It was fairly quick to turn on and shoot, at 2.5 seconds, and its autofocus is acceptably fast. However, there was a delay of almost two seconds between taking a shot and the captured image appearing on the camera's screen, which will frustrate anyone trying to take pictures in quick succession. We measured an average of 3.7 seconds between shots. The continuous shooting mode was barely any faster, capturing at 0.3fps. At least the SR Auto mode, which analyses scenes to select a scene preset automatically, didn't slow the camera down any further, as it did on the Fujifilm FinePix S1500.

The Z33 WP fared a little better in our image quality tests. It displayed Fujifilm's usual knack for flattering colours in a range of lighting conditions. The corners of photos were fairly blurry in wide-angle shots and the centre wasn't razor-sharp, but detail levels were the right side of acceptable. Automatic exposures used well-chosen settings to balance blur against noise in low light, but the relatively gloomy f/3.7 maximum aperture and small sensor meant noise was visible even in brightly lit shots. Still, the noise-reduction processing helped the camera produce indoor photos that were good enough for posting online.

There are more affordable cameras that take better pictures more quickly, but the FinePix Z33 WP's waterproof design is unique at this price. None of its flaws is critical and, as such, it's a decent choice for causal snappers heading for the beach or ski slopes.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent35-105mm
Image stabilisationnone
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution640x480
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied50MB internal
Battery type3.7V 740mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)200 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
Body materialplastic
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight110g
Size60x92x21mm

Buying Information

Price£150
Supplierhttp://www.currys.co.uk
Detailswww.fujifilm.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangeauto
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets
Additional image controlsnone
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus8cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer