Pentax Optio 33WR review
I got this camera specifically for outdoor, all-weather use - whitewater boating, sailing, winter sports, and so on. It takes decent pictures (especially when considering the diameter of the lens, and size of the sensor). But more importantly, it's a VERY handy package that can be tossed in a shirt pocket, backpack, car console, you name it.... I've soaked it numerous times (including a few intentional underwater photos that didn't turn out too well).
From a pure digital photography standpoint, it's a mediocre camera - only 3.3 MP, marginal low-light performance, fairly slow autofocus (although the AF has been very accurate for me, even when the lens is halfway obscured with water drops). White balance is good in natural light. Contrast is great in full sunlight. In fact, with a clean, dry, lens, this camera produces sharper jpegs than many of the higher-end digital P&S cameras I've seen. Since most "wet" outdoor activities will probably be photographed in the middle of the day, I'd say this camera takes more than adequate pictures.
The price (at the time of this review, the Optio 4.3WR and the Optio WP are out, so you can probably find this camera for $150 new) is right for an extremely compact camera that can hold up to almost any envirornment. I'd recommend this camera for any outdoor activity, other than actual underwater photography.
As stated in previous reviews, this camera needs (1) protection for the LCD screen and (2) protection for the lens.
As per (1), I left the adhesive plastic film on the LCD when I first opened the camera box. A year later, the film has a few dings, but I can't complain as I take this camera everywhere (literally). If it gets real bad, I'll peel the film off and replace it with tape or something.
(2) can't do much about the "lens", other than remember to dry it off every once in a while. Note that the exposed "lens" is actually a lens cover (which hides the zoom mechanism), so it gives an extra level of protection. I've got a lot of pictures with waterspots and foggy areas, but have never scratched or harmed the "lens" permanently.
I would like to see a "flip-up" sealed rubber lens cover that automatically releases when the camera is turned on - possible feature for the Optio 8.0 or 10.0 WR?
As others have stated, battery performance (it holds 2 AAs) isn't the greatest. Especially at cold temperatures. I have taken this camera on backcountry skiing expeditions at 5 degrees F, and get a lot of "Battery depleted" messages unless I carry it near my body.