Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP review: Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP

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The Good Nice design; decent features for the money; waterproof to 10 feet.

The Bad Soft, grainy photos; slow performance.

The Bottom Line A simple, inexpensive waterproof camera to keep poolside, the Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP is nonetheless lacking in photo quality and performance.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 4
  • Image quality 5

The Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP is a pool/beach camera. Only waterproof down to 10 feet for up to 2 hours consecutively, it's not designed for serious diving photography. However, it is well-suited and priced for a secondary camera for snapshots in dusty, dirty, or damp conditions where you would not want to use a typical point-and-shoot camera. The photos and performance from the Z33WP are not the best, though, so consider this camera only if you need the waterproofing and you're on a budget.

Key specs Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP
Price (MSRP) $149.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 4.6 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 3x, f3.7-4.2, 35-105mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 3,648x2,736 pixels/640x480 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Digital
Battery type, rated life Li-ion rechargeable, 200 shots

Like the rest of Fujifilm's Z-series cameras, this one is small and stylish. You can pick it up in black, hot pink, or the glowing green we tested. It is very compact and lightweight, effortlessly slipped into a pocket or bag. The lens is completely internal, sealed up tight behind a piece of glass that's easily wiped clean of water and dirt. On top is a power button and shutter release that has an unfortunate swooping design that frequently resulted in me missing shots because I wasn't pressing in the right spot. Once you adjust to it you're fine, but until then it's a bit frustrating. The Z33WP has an atypical control layout on back with its buttons clustered into two columns. If you've used any other digital cameras, it takes a bit of adjusting to, but eventually you remember where everything is. Worth noting is the Movie mode button at the bottom right on the back that lets you go straight to recording video clips. Unfortunately it's not instantaneous, taking about 3 to 4 seconds to switch over and start capturing video.

The interface is basic, but attractive. Instead of using an F-mode button for accessing shooting-mode-specific settings like some other Fujifilm models, all shooting options are reached with a press of the Menu/OK button. That menu also contains a separate Setup menu for the camera's system settings. It's a menu structure that lends itself well to point-and-shoot models since it puts everything in one place, under one button.

General shooting options Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent Warm white), Fluorescent (Cool white), Incandescent
Recording modes SR Auto, Auto, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Manual, Anti-blur, Successive Movie
Focus Center AF, Multi AF
Metering Multi
Color effects Standard, Chrome, Black & White
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

As far as shooting options go, the Z33WP is fairly lean, as it's designed for simple snapshot photography. There's an Auto mode for general photography, an SR Auto option that analyzes what's in the frame and automatically selects the appropriate scene settings, and 16 scene modes, including one for underwater shooting. Even its Manual mode only allows you to change ISO, exposure compensation, and white balance. The Movie mode is VGA quality, and you don't get use of the zoom lens while recording. Also, if you tend to take a bunch a short movie clips, the Successive Movie mode lets you stitch the clips together into one movie.

The Z33WP is a slow camera. About the only thing it does somewhat quickly is turn on; from off to first shot is 1.8 seconds. Shot-to-shot times without using the flash average 3.5 seconds; using the flash extends that average to 3.8 seconds between snaps. Shutter lag is noticeably long. It takes 0.6 second to capture a photo in bright conditions once the shutter release is pressed. In low-light situations it takes 1.4 seconds. The continuous shooting speed is sluggish, too, at 0.3 frames per second.