Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP

Summer might be winding down but its never too late to buy water toys and gadgets. The best part is often times towards the end of the season you can find some great deals out there. Over the last few months I've been watching prices on a select group of ‘waterproof’ cameras with my main focus being on the sub $200 range.

Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP 10 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom (Green)

Last month the timing was right for me to make my purchase and when it was all said and done I ended up with the Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP. Currently priced from $145-179 the FinePix Z33WP falls in the same price range as the OLYMPUS Stylus 550WP, the Polaroid t833 and just below the OLYMPUS Stylus 850WP and Stylus 1050SW.

Featuring 10 megapixels CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom and waterproofing up to 3m (10ft) this little camera looked like the perfect companion for my many rafting trips. It was compact enough and easy enough to carry that it wouldn't be bothersome, yet had enough features to make shooting pictures fun and easy.

Picture Quality

One of the hardest things to find in a budget camera is one that does it all and unfortunately the Z33WP didn't handle many of the tasks I threw at it. The camera is equipped with 6 scene SR AUTO (Scene Recognition Auto) which is supposed to automatically detect and select one of the 6 appropriate camera settings: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait, and Backlit Portrait. Sadly this really didn't help much.

Picture quality during the day was top notch however during low light or night time shots it was horrible. Being someone that has an active nightlife a camera that could take great night time pics is a must. Pictures often turned out blurry, grainy, dark or just plain bad. Even manually adjusting the setting couldn't help. This was really disappointing considering the quality of the day time shots.

Functions and Features

The Z33Wp has several great functions and features as well as several shooting modes that actually worked well. Shooting modes Underwater and Auction mode for instance really came out well when utilized. Shooting shots in the pool using underwater mode adjusted the color about perfectly while auction mode took great snap shots with just the right amount of flash and good color balance.

Movie recording left a lot to be desired as did some of the other shooting modes like Night, Party, Flower and Text. As mentioned night shots were horrible!

In terms of effectiveness the waterproofing and dustproofing were great. I never attempted to test the actual depth but I did do a lot of swimming and photo taking with the camera around my wrist. We even dunked it into a pitcher off beer to show it off at the nightclub (not a recommended test). I strongly recommend the floating strap as the camera is pretty small and easily dropped!


I didn't keep my FinePix Z33WP had I had it a little longer I might have found a way to work around the issues with night time shooting but its toward the end of summer and I need a better camera for shooting shots in the club. Overall its a nice little camera and would be great for fun in the sun days, parties at the beach or for those moments at the pool. For anyone looking for an all around camera though I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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