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According to Sony, the T33 will power up and record its first shot in less than a second.

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Front

The front of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 is completely flat. There are no finger grips or protrusions. Even when the camera is turned on, the lens remains within the body of the camera. The T33 is elegant in its simplicity, the entire face of the camera a smooth brushed aluminum color. In its top left is the "Sony" brand name polished across in silver. In the very top right corner is the self-labeled "Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar" lens. These words appear around the outer rim of the lens, along with its length and aperture ratings: "3.5-4.4/ 6.7-20.1." To the left of the lens is an oval pill-shaped flash. Below the built-in flash is the AF assist lamp. In the bottom right corner are the words, "Cyber-shot Optical 3x." Overall, the front of the T33 is quite attractive in its minimalism.

Back

The entire left side of the camera is dominated by the 2.5-inch LCD screen. Beneath the screen is the brand name: "Sony." On the right one-third of the camera back are the control buttons. At the top, within easy access of the thumb, is the zoom lever. On the left side is a "W" and an icon of a magnifying glass with a "-" (subtraction) symbol in it. This is, of course, the wide angle side of the zoom lever. On the right is a "T" and an icon of a magnifying glass with a "+" (addition) symbol in it, the telephoto function to the 3x optical zoom lens.

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Below the zoom lever is the LCD view button. When the button is pressed once, the LCD darkens. This option is best in low light. When the button is pressed again, picture info and a histogram appear across the LCD screen. To the right of the LCD view button is the speaker. To its right is the Mode Switch. The actual switch is on the right side of the camera, but the graphics extend onto its back. The switch includes three options: Movie Mode, Camera Mode, and Playback Mode. The Movie Mode is located at the top of the switch and is represented by a filmstrip icon. The Camera Mode is in the middle and symbolized by a camera icon. At the bottom is the Playback Mode, indicated with the typical Playback Mode symbol. Directly below the LCD view button is the self-labeled "Menu" button. Below it, and a bit to the right, is the four-way navigational dial. The dial is separated into five buttons, one in each direction and one in the middle. Besides scrolling through menus and selecting features, these buttons double in function. The top button serves as a Flash Mode selector and is labeled with a standard flash symbol. The right button has a picture of a flower on it, the common symbol for Macro Mode, and is pressed to select the focusing mode. The bottom button doubles as a self-timer function. The left button plays back the last image recorded, despite whatever shooting mode the user is in. In the middle of the dial is a black circular button, which is used to make selections like an OK button, although it is not labeled. Below the dial, there is one more button on the bottom left: the delete function. In the right bottom corner of the camera is the word "Reset" and an LED light. **** **Left Side** The left side of the Sony T33 is left completely blank.
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Right Side

The right side is cased in two-tone brushed aluminum. A band of polished aluminum extends from the top of the camera to the right side. In the center is a loop for threading the wrist strap. Just above it and toward the rear of the camera is the Mode Switch. The icons extend to the back, but the actual switch is located on the right side. Below the strap loop are the words, "Memory Stick Duo Pro." The words relate to the memory card, which goes into a slot next to the battery beneath a port door on the bottom of the camera.

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Top

The top of the camera has a polished metal plate. On the left of the top are a series of phrases describing the camera, "5.1 Megapixels," "MPEG Movie VX," and "DSC-T33." To the right of those phrases is the built-in microphone. To its right is the large shutter release button with an LED light below it. Next to the light is a flash symbol and "CHG," an abbreviation for a battery charge. All the way to the right is the self-labeled "Power" button, which has an LED light in its center.

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Viewfinder

The only viewfinder on this camera is the huge 2.5-inch LCD screen. There is no real image optical viewfinder.

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LCD Screen

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 has a 2.5-inch Clear Photo LCD that takes up nearly two-thirds of the back of the camera. The LCD claims to have improved visibility in all lighting situations, whether dark or bright. It uses 230,000 pixels to produce a clear image. The LCD functions as a viewfinder also, as there is no real image optical viewfinder.

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Flash

By pushing the top button of the four-way dial, the user can change flash modes easily. The following options are available: Auto, On, Off, Slow Synchro, and Red-Eye Reduction. The flash has an incredible range, reaching from 10 cm. to 6 m. By comparison, most compact cameras contain fixed flash units that extend 10-12 feet, so approximately 18 feet is quite impressive.

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Zoom Lens

The T33 is equipped with a built-in 3x optical zoom lens. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens measures from 6.7-20.1mm, which is equivalent to 38-114mm in 35mm format. When the camera turns on, a built-in lens cover snaps open. However, its lens is non-protruding, maintaining the T33’s slim profile. If the 3x zoom is not enough, there is a 2x digital zoom and a 4x ‘Smart Zoom,’ as Sony calls it. There aren’t many Smart aspects to digital zoom. It only compromises the picture, making it pixilated and unworthy to print or show.

Model Design/Appearance

The body of the camera is a single tone, light brushed aluminum color. The front is very simple, baring few features and a completely flat face. The back is two-thirds LCD screen and one-third control buttons. The buttons are a bit scattered about, but all within easy reach because of the camera’s compact overall size. The slight 0.8-inch thick frame gives the Sony Cyber-shot T33 a gracefulness only achieved by the slimmest digital cameras. Sony combines style and functionality with a smart and attractive design in the modified T33.

Size/Portability

The predominant feature of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 is its compact frame. It measures 3.9 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches and weighs 4.4 ounces unloaded and 5.3 ounces loaded. This makes it lighter than the T3, but larger in its dimensions. The T33 has a wrist strap, making it easy to tote around alone. It is also small enough to fit easily within a pocket. Since both sides are completely flat, the digital camera fits comfortably into small spaces without your having to worry about snagging extraneous protrusions.

Handling Ability

Don’t handle this camera after slathering yourself with sun-block. There aren’t any finger grips on the body of the camera. This gives the T33 a simple, flat, and attractive look but takes away from gripping and control. Nevertheless, the small size of the Sony T33 compensates and makes it comfortable and easy to handle. The buttons are positioned for easy access. Switching modes and functions requires just a few movements of the thumb. The left-hand fingers need to be conscious of their movement though. The lens is in the upper right corner of the front, in prime position for getting covered by lingering digits.

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Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size

Because of its small size, all controls on the back of the Sony Cyber-shot T33 are within easy reach of the thumb. I would have preferred the four-way dial closer to the top for even easier access—I would have swapped its place with that of the less important speaker that’s in its way. The buttons are large enough and clearly labeled, especially if you are familiar with Sony cameras. All buttons are properly spaced and adequately sized for comfortable and fast shooting.

Ease of Use

The Sony Cyber-shot T33 looks simple in its demeanor and is just as simple to use. The camera is small, easy to hold, and comfortable to shoot with. All of the buttons are clearly labeled and within easy reach. The Mode Switch makes finding the right shooting mode simple. Overall, the T33 is a good camera for a beginner or an intermediate user who wants a portable camera that’s very easy to use.

Movie Mode

There are three shooting settings within the Movie Mode. The Fine mode shoots at 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second. The Standard mode shoots at the same resolution, but at 16.6 frames per second. The Video Mail Mode shoots 8.3 frames per second at 320 x 116. All of these options capture movies with audio in MPEG file format. Clips are only limited by the memory card’s capacity.

Drive/Burst Mode

There are several burst modes on the T33, but none are very impressive. There is a Multi-Burst mode that takes 16 consecutive shots at 320 x 240 and strings them together into a single 1280 x 960 picture. At full resolution, the T33 takes a leisurely one frame per second. In the 4-shot burst mode, the camera can shoot a frame every 0.33 seconds. There is also a 100-shot burst mode that can capture a still photo every 0.71 seconds. The resolution is at 5 megapixels for the 4-shot burst mode, but the 100-shot mode is only at 640 x 480 resolution. These burst modes will suit most digital camera users, but will be insufficient for a sports shooter who wants to shoot more than 4 frames at full resolution.

Playback Mode

The Playback Mode is accessed by pushing the Mode Switch, which is on the right side of the T33, to the bottom. Still photos and movies can be played back with audio, thanks to the built-in speaker on the back of the Sony camera.

Custom Image Presets

Within the Menu, there are nine scene modes for users to choose from: Beach, Candle, Fireworks, High Speed Shutter, Landscape, Magnifying Glass mode, Snow, Twilight, and Twilight Portrait. This is a decent selection, but misses one of the most important scene selections on most digital cameras: Portrait. As most people use their cameras to take pictures of people, a regular portrait mode is a welcome feature for beginner and point-and-shoot users. Once novices advance in their picture-taking skills, scene modes aren’t as necessary as good manual functions.

Focus

Auto

The Cyber-shot T33 has an auto focus system that can focus as close as 0.4 inches in the Magnifying Glass Mode. This is an incredibly short distance; most cameras’ macro modes can focus around 6 inches or so. There are three focusing modes: Normal, Macro, and Magnifying Glass. In Macro Mode, the lens can focus as close as 3.1 inches. In the Normal Mode, the T33 focuses from 19.7 inches to as far as the lens can see. There is a five-area multi-point auto focus included on the T33. This Cyber-shot has an AF assist lamp located on the front of the camera to illuminate subjects in tough lighting so the camera can focus accurately.

Exposure

The Cyber-shot DSC-T33 has an exposure compensation mode with the standard range: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.

White Balance

There are six white balance modes available on the T33: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, and Flash. This is a decent range, but a manual mode would certainly be appreciated.


ISO

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 has four ISO settings that can be manually chosen: Auto, 100, 200, and 400. This is a standard range, but for a $450 camera, I would expect a least an 800 or 80 rating as well.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speeds depend on the selected shooting mode. In the Automatic mode, users can shoot at speeds of 1/8th to 1/1000th of a second. The Program Auto range is slightly larger: 1 to 1/1000th of a second. When in the High Speed Shutter preset mode, shutter speeds really don’t get any faster. They range from 1/250th to 1/1000th of a second.

Aperture

The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens on the T33 has a 3x optical zoom. At its widest setting, apertures range from f/3.5-f/5.6. When the lens is fully zoomed in on a distant subject, the aperture range extends from f/4.4.-f/10.

Resolution

The 5.1-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 has a 1/2.4-inch Super HAD CCD with a Sony Real Imaging Processor.

Picture Quality/ Size Options

The following size options are available on the Sony T33: 2592 x 1944, 2595 x 1728, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960, and 640 x 480. The second selection offers a differing aspect ratio of 3:2, optimized for 4 x 6 prints. All other settings maintain the typical 4:3 aspect ratio. Users can easily print images with the 2595 x 1728 3:2 mode or can play a slideshow on their television with the 4:3 2592 x 1944 mode. This range is wide enough for users of the T33. In my estimation, five megapixels will blow up to form clean 16 x 20 prints without apparent pixilatation, although manufacturer’s like to believe 5 megapixels equates to prints closer to 20 x 30.

Picture Effects Mode

The T33 has a Black & White color effect mode to bring out stellar contrasts and a Sepia color effect mode to create a softer, more old-fashioned look.

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Connectivity

Software

The following software comes with the Sony T33: Picture Package for Sony version 1.1 for Windows, Pixela ImageMixer VCD2 for Macintosh, ImageData Converter version 1.5 for Macintosh, USB Driver, and the Cyber-shot tutorial for Windows.

Jacks, Ports, Plugs

This camera comes with a Cyber-shot Station USB cradle, which can charge the camera’s batteries, play slideshows to the TV, transfer photos to a PC, and print to a PictBridge compatible printer. The camera body does not have any cable jacks on it except for the jack on the bottom that connects the T33 to the USB cradle. The cradle has jacks for an

AV out cable and a USB cord. While this cradle is supposed to add convenience by enabling one-touch printing and such, hauling the cradle on vacation would prove to be less space-efficient than a cord.

Direct Print Options

Photos can be transferred to any PictBridge compatible printer via the USB cradle.

Memory

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 has a slot for either Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards. The Duo works solely for still images. If users want to capture movie clips, the Pro Duo card is required. The Pro Duo can store both still and movie images. The files are stored as JPEG and MPEG files. The camera comes with a 32MB card, but can accept cards up to 512MB.

Other Features

There is a 10-second self-timer that can be activated by pressing the bottom portion of the four-way dial.

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Value

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 will be available in the United States and parts of Europe in March 2005 for a retail price of $450 (USD). This isn’t a conservative price for 5 megapixels, but Sony, as always, relies on the simple elegant style to attract consumers searching for style and appeal. At Sony, size matters. And the smaller the camera, the better. The street price will probably be at least fifty bucks cheaper, making this an affordable choice. The budget crowd may avoid this one, but fat-pocketed consumers will enjoy the T33 for its style and compact form.

**Conclusion

**The slim 5.1-megapixel Sony T33 will hit shelves March 2005 for $450 (USD). Its 1/2.4-inch CCD and Sony Real Imaging Processor are identical to its missing twin, the Sony T3, which never made its scheduled debut in the United States. These two digital cameras have the same large 2.5-inch LCDs and 3x optical zoom lenses, but differ in size and weight. The new T33 weighs 5.3 ounces, while the T3 is a heavier 6 ounces. The T33 is also thicker by a tenth of an inch. There aren’t many differences, so it’s good to see Sony coming out with a replacement for the missing T3. The Cyber-shot DSC-T33 is a strong point-and-shoot camera, offering ease of use to beginners as well as appealing to the crowd of users looking for style and portability.

**Specs Table

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Meet the tester

Emily Raymond

Emily Raymond

Editor

Emily Raymond is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

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