Pentax Optio 33WR review
A very nice little camera. I got it for the water-resistance and thus the ability to take it anywhere and not worry about a bit of rain, spray, high humidity, sand, etc. Also for the small size, again as a take-with-always camera.
Image quality is really very good as compared to other ~3 MP cameras I have seen or used. The fine jpeg mode is finer than at least some; for example Nikon Coolpix SQ only saves 4 bits/pixel in finest mode, while the 33WR saves 5. It is good enough that jpeg artifacts are very rare. It has a very flexible intervalometer mode that I expect to use to monitor animal locations in eological experiments. Overall, I would recommend this camera.
Two real complaints, and a few minor wishes or gripes: it doesn't come with a case, and the case that Pentax sells appears to be useless. I want to take this camera everywhere. It doesn't have any protection for the lens cover and the LCD. The Pentax case, from what I can see in pioctures of it on Web sites, actually deliberately leaves these exposed, so the camera is always ready to use, but the lens cover and LCD will be scraping against whatever gear you have in your bag. I would REALLY like a nice neoprene case with a zipper around 3 sides that fit the thing tightly, and maybe had iinternal thin plastic stiffeners over the lens and the LCD. It should come with the camera, as it is almost unusable for its real purpose as a take-anywhere device without some sort of case. Second problem--in manual focus mode, the LCD shows a nice magnified image that should make it possible to evaluate focus. The problem with this is that it reverts back to non-magnified within 2 seconds after you stop pressing the arrows to change focus. If you are using it for macro, this is NOT LONG ENOUGH, PENTAX! I have to keep pressing the arrow button at intervals less than 2 seconds, which tends to move the camera a bit, which makes it very hard to judge focus. There should be a firmware upgrade that makes the magnification stick until you partially depress the shutter release, or at least gives you this option.
A third thing, though more minor, is that although the fine jpeg mode is very good, I would still like a TIFF or even better, a RAW option. This can't be that difficult or expensive to implement, and would at least give the option of getting maximum quality if you come across that once-in-a-lifetime subject. Finally, it would be really great if there was a camera with all of the features this one has, plus the problems above fixed, and, say, 5 or 6 MP resolution (I can wish, anyway).