The FZ33WP is a small, sleek looking camera; at just 3.9 ounces, and 0.8 inches thick, it should fit into all but the smallest handbags and pockets. Fujifilm clams that the camera is water resistant up to 3 meters (about 10 feet), making it suitable for swimming, snorkelling or bathtime, but not for any serious diving. It's available in three colors: pink, green and black. We looked at the green model.
The main feature on the front of the FZ33WP is the lens, which is at the top right of the front of the camera body under the round protective cover. There is no lens cap or other protective coating, so if this cover got scratched, it would show up in photos. To the left of the lens is a light sensor, then the small flash. Below the flash is a small hole that is for the microphone used to record sound in movie mode. On the left is the raised ridge of the hand grip, and below this you can glimpse the edge of the battery and memory card port cover.
The main feature on the back of the FZ33WP is the screen, which is a 2.7-inch screen with 230k pixels. In our limited time with a pre-production unit, this screen looked clear and bright, although it has a lower resolution than many others that we have seen. To the right of the screen are the controls, with the two zoom buttons at the top, the delete and play buttons, then the macro and flash control buttons, and the self-timer and menu buttons. On the bottom row of the controls are the buttons for the display control, and the movie mode button.
There are relatively few features on the sides of the FZ33WP; the only major feature is the lanyard loop on the middle of the left side. Apart from this, there is nothing much here to discuss.
There are only two buttons on the top of the FZ33WP; the power button and the shutter button. The latter button is slightly curved so that the tip of the index finger sits on it and stays put. At the far left of the top of the camera is a series of small holes for the small speaker.
There are only two features on the bottom of the FZ33WP; a tripod socket (on the far right in our photo) and the cover of the port for the small battery and SDHC memory cards.
There is no viewfinder on the FZ33WP; photos are framed and shot using the LCD screen.
The LCD screen of the FZ33WP is a 2.7-inch LCD screen with 230,000-pixel resolution. That's pretty standard for cameras at this price point. We were only able to take a brief look at the LCD screen on the pre-production model, but it looked acceptably sharp and bright.
The small flash of the FZ33WP is located to the left of the lens on the front of the camera. We were not able to test this at the PMA show, but Fujifilm claims that it will illuminate subjects up to 12.7 feet out. This does seem a little optimistic; we don't usually see flashes of this size being much use beyond 5 or 6 feet.
The lens of the FZ33WP is completely internal; none of the lens mechanism projects beyond the camera body. This means that it is a relatively short 3x zoom lens, so you should not expect to be able to zoom in on subjects from great distances with this camera. The lens is equivalent to a 35mm to 105mm zoom range on a 35mm film camera, which is an acceptable range for general use. It doesn't go particularly wide, though; you won't be able to shoot large groups of people without backing up. The aperture range is also rather limited; the lens has a range of f/3.7 to f/8 at the widest zoom setting and f/4.0 to f/9 at the telephoto end. That is rather limited; the lack of a wider aperture means that the camera can't gather a lot of light, so it won't be great for low light shots. The lens is behind a clear plastic panel; there is no sliding lens cover or other protection.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
There aren't a huge number of ports on the FZ33WP; the camera's sole connection to the outside world is a single combination USB and video port next to the memory card socket. This supports USB 2.0 for transferring photos to a PC, and also outputs analog video and audio. Because this camera shoots just standard-definition video, it's no surprise that there are no digital video outputs on this camera. One thing to note here is that this is a non-standard port; if you lose the included cable, you'll have to buy another from Fuji; you can't use a generic cable. We aren't a big fan of this; we prefer standard ports that can use the more commonly available generic cables.
The FZ33WP is powered by a small battery that sits alongside the memory card. Fujifilm didn't specify either a capacity for this, or an expected battery life.
About 50MB of internal memory is built into the FZ33WP, but the main place for storing photos is the memory card slot. This supports SDHC cards, which come in capacities of up to 32GB. An 8GB card would have enough space to hold about 1600 images at the highest resolution and quality setting, so you are unlikely to run out of space unless you are a serious shutterbug.
Water resistant - The FZ33WP is dust and water resistant, up to a depth of about 3 meters (around 10 feet), so it should be fine for splashing around in the water at the beach or in the bathtub. It won't hold up to anything deeper than 10 feet though, so don't take it deep sea diving.
Design & Appearance
The Z33WP is, to coin a phrase, cute. The bright colors make it look rather like an oversize Jolly Rancher candy, so taking pictures with it could be a sweet experience. It's also available in pink, black and blue; photos of the pink and black model are below.
Size & Handling
The Z33WP is a small camera, which is a good thing for portability, but not usually for handling. Small cameras often have smaller controls and don't fit in the hand as well, but the Z33WP wasn't a big problem in this regard. A slight raised bump on the front gives the hand something to grip, and the shutter button falls under the index finger. The zoom control buttons are at the top of the set of controls on the rear of the camera, where they fall under the thumb, and a small raised ridge stops you pressing the other buttons by accident. However, the camera does have a habit of slipping when you use the zoom buttons, as you have to loosen your grip a bit.
One interesting handling touch is in the movie mode; the camera automatically starts recording when you press the movie button; most don't start recording until you hit the shutter. The reasoning behind this is that, as this is a water resistant camera, people are going to use it underwater, where you want to start taking movies quickly. If you do spot Jaws in your bathtub, you can get video to sell to Spielberg quickly.
Fujifilm's menus take the form of a series of options where you can scroll up and down. To change an option, scroll to the left and choose the setting. Generally, it works well, but some of the options are a long way down the menu so yo have to scroll to get to them. However, most of the options that you are likely to need to get to are at the top of the list.
The scene mode menu has a slightly different look to it; as well as the list of modes, the selected mode gets a short description and a sample photo.
Ease of Use
The Z33WP is designed to be a simple, straightforward camera, and generally it succeeds; in our tests at the PMA show in Las Vegas, we found that it was easy to take photos, change modes and do the myriad other tasks that taking pictures requires.
The Z33WP has two auto modes; the full auto mode and the scene recognition mode. In the former, the camera takes full control; the user can only set the image size and flash mode. In the scene recognition mode, the camera picks a scene mode to apply, depending on what it thinks is appropriate. We were not able to test this extensively, but it did seem to make good decisions in our brief tests.
Hitting the movie button at the bottom left corner of the camera puts it into movie mode and starts the recording. The movie mode is pretty standard; video is captured at a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels or 320 by 240 pixels, both at 30 frames per second with mono sound. The only limit on move length is the maximum capacity of the card. One interesting poinr to note here is the presence of a specific underwater white balance mode for video; because of the way that water filters light, movies recorded underwater tend to come out very blue in standard auto white balance mode.
The Z33WP is rather snail-like when it comes to shooting a series of images; it can only manage a rather paltry 0.6 frames per second, and it will only keep either the first 3 or the last 3 images it captures. That's rather disapointing, but is not unusual on compact cameras like this.
A good selection of playback controls are on offer; as well as the usual slideshow and favorites features, you can trim images and resize them, with an option to trim them down to a size suitable for blogging.
Custom Image Presets
Eighteen scene modes are available on the Z33WP, including the usual suspects of landscape, portrait, etc. There are a few interesting new ones, though; the natural light and flash mode takes two photos one after the other (one without flash, and one with), and the successive movie mode takes a series of short video clips and combines then into one, which could be useful for quickly creating a video of a birthday party, or other event.
Unusually for a compact model, a full manual mode is included, which gives the user the option to set the shutter and aperture directly.
Just two autofocus modes are on offer; auto and center. However, the Z33WP does include a lot of facial recognition features, including the ability to recognize up to eight faces in the frame. Another interesting feature is the group and couple timer, where the camera will hold off from taking a photo until it recognises the requested number of faces in the frame, which is a useful feature for couples who want holiday snaps without asking someone to take the photo for them.
The ISO range is pretty standard; it goes from 64 up to 1600, plus there is a full auto mode.
As well as the auto setting, there are six white balance presets: shade, fluorescent light (daylight), fluorescent light (warm white), Fluorescent (cool white) and incandescent. There is no evaluative white balance feature, but we doubt that most users will miss it.
Only one metering mode is on offer; an evaluative mode that uses 256 zones to judge the correct exposure.
The shutter speed ranges from 3 seconds (or 1/4 of a second in auto mode) down to 1/100 of a second.
The aperture range of the 3x zoom lens is a little on the small side; the widest aperture that the lens offers is f/3.7. This means it won't be able to gather that much light in darker conditions.
The Z33WP uses electronic image stabilization, wher the camera increases the shutter speed to try and avoid blurry photos. It does not include optical image stabilization, but few cameras at this price point do.
Picture Quality & Size Options
Six options are available for image size; 3648 by 2736, 3648 by 2432 (with a 3:2 aspect ratio), 2592 by 1944, 2048 by 1536, 1600 by 1200 and 640 by 480.
If you like to tweak your photos after taking them, there are a few filters that can tweak them, such as an illustration filter that turns them into line art and ten-level contrast control.
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