Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera Review

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Curvaceous and modern looking, the Nikon Coolpix S33 is designed to be a simple, no-nonsense waterproof camera. If you don’t need the super-deep depth of its big brother theAW130 (which can descend to the astounding depth of 100 feet) and if you prefer simpler controls and a smaller size (and price tag), then the S33 may be just the rugged camera you’ve been looking for.

Retailing for less than half the price of the AW130 ($150 vs $350) it clearly has family shooters in mind, and anyone wanting to travel light during their rugged shooting adventures. With an exterior appearing virtually identical to last year’s S32, let’s peek under the hood and see what’s new in this year’s model.

For starters, in the rugged specs trio the S33 is now freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C) where the S32 was not. The other rugged parameters remain at the same rating of being waterproof to 33ft (10m) and shockproof from a fall of up to 5ft (1.5m). The addition of freezeproofing will surely come in handy for the snowboarding crowd, especially with its winter-white appeal and curvy lines (better for ski coat pockets!).

Getting creative, there are now 16 scene modes including Underwater Face Framing mode, up from 14 on the S32, and there are also 11 settings for performing in-camera editing after the shot, including the ability to simply copy a shot and preserve the original.

Identical in the specs department to the S32 are a 1/3.1″ 13.2-megapixel CMOS sensor at the core, and a 3x optical zoom with the same 35mm-equivalent range of 30mm-90mm. The available apertures remain the same at f/3.3-5.9 across the zoom range, and the lens employs a simple 6 elements in 5 groups configuration. The lens is not equipped with stabilization, and the camera relies on electronic VR to handle shake control by raising the ISO sensitivity in order to boost shutter speeds.

Full HD video (1920×1080) is available at 30p, and several VGA resolutions are offered for smaller online needs. The ISO sensitivity range remains the same at 125 – 1600, with no options for higher expanded settings. This is likely a good thing, as the sensor is quite small and not likely able to handle anything over ~ISO 800 without a lot of noise being introduced into the images or video.

The most highly touted aspect of the S33 is overall ease of use, with several one-touch buttons offering beginners an easier introduction into shooting. The 2.7-inch 230k-dot LCD is a bit smaller than the 3″ displays found on most enthusiast point-and-shoots these days, but that’s a logical trade-off of going smaller and less expensive.

Exposure metering can be set to Matrix, Center-weighted or Spot, and there are three AF modes consisting of Center, Face Detection and Target-finding AF. For burst shooting the S33 is rated at 4.7fps at up to 11 continuous shots, and while this is not lightning quick it’s still a very convenient feature for attempting to capture something like a child jumping off a diving board at just the right moment…(Splash!).

Basic Specifications
Full model name: Nikon Coolpix S33
Resolution: 13.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/3.1 inch
Lens: 3.00x zoom
(30-90mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 125-1600
Shutter: 4-1/2000
Max Aperture: 3.3
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in.
(110 x 67 x 38 mm)
Weight: 6.3 oz (180 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $150
Availability: 03/2015
Manufacturer: Nikon
Full specs: Nikon S33 specifications

+/- 2.0 EV exposure compensation is possible in 1/3 EV steps, with 7 white balance modes available. Power is provided via an EN-EL19 rechargeable lithium ion battery rated at 220 shots per charge and is recharged in-camera with an included AC/USB adapter.

The Nikon Coolpix S33 will be available from March 2015 for ~US$150 retail and will be offered in both blue and white , pink, yellow colors.




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