Pentax Optio 33L Review

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Pentax Optio 33L

Review posted 5/13/03

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Optio 33L

The Optio 33L is a compact 3-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens that offers a wide range of handy shooting modes, including an innovative 3D-image mode for stereoscopic shooting. For greater versatility, the Optio 33L has a bright, 1.5 inch LCD monitor that both swings up and rotates a full 180°. The Optio 33L is a perfect digital camera choice for self-portraits, group shots and high or low angle photography. With all these features, you might expect it to be something of a handful but, thanks to PENTAX advanced technology and a newly designed lens, the remarkably compact and stylish Optio 33L fits easily into your pocket.

A newly developed image processing circuit in the Optio 33L offer simple operation. Images play back at the touch of a button, and new images may be recorded any time the camera power is on - even during playback modes. A virtual mode dial on the LCD monitor makes shooting mode selection easier. Simply select the most appropriate mode from the ample choice of Program, Picture, Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, Panorama Assist, Auto Bracketing or Digital Filter modes. Optio 33L also features standalone buttons for frequently used functions related to the composition and playback of images.

The Optio 33L has a 5-point autofocus system with selectable Spot AF. Macro mode allows you to compose shots at a distance of just 0.33ft (0.1m) from your subject and zoom in or out as you please. There's also Infinity-Landscape mode, which is ideal for capturing landscapes and scenery, even when you are shooting through a window. The manual focus function gives you the freedom to achieve exactly the kind of focus you want, while viewing the subject on the LCD monitor. The Optio 33L can even zoom in on one part of the shot for more accurate focusing.

Advanced features abound with White Balance settings for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light and manual preset. Exposure metering can be selected according to your subject. Choose from Multi-segment, Center-weighted, and Spot metering. Sensitivity to light can be automatic, or manually set to 100, 200 or 400 equivalent. Exposure compensation can be adjusted with a range of +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps. A choice of color, black & white, sepia and a host of Digital Filter modes allow further creative freedom. Sharpness, saturation and contrast can be also be set in 3 different levels to produce the desired results.

Pentax Optio 33L

There are times when you want to take a shot of yourself. On such occasions, the Optio 33L makes composition much easier with its high-resolution, 1.5 inch LCD monitor that swings up and rotates 180°. You can see exactly how you appear in the frame while still holding the camera. Self portraits can now be composed with the same ease as shots of other people, and you can easily join someone else in the shot. And of the color LCD allows you to check the picture as soon as you have taken it.

The Optio 33L can be connected to a TV for viewing of recorded images and movies and is compatible with both NTSC and PAL systems. The camera is powered by two AA (lithium, NiMH, or alkaline) batteries, one lithium CR-V3 battery or an optional AC adapter. Images and movies are stored on inexpensive CompactFlash memory cards, a 16MB card is supplied.

Optio 33L Features:

  • Compact 4.1" x 2.5" x 1.6" and weighs only 6.3 oz.
  • 3.2-megapixel CCD for images up to 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • 3x optical zoom (38-114mm) with 3x digital zoom
  • Macro mode focuses as close as 3.93"
  • 1.5-inch color LCD monitor swings up and rotates 180°
  • Shooting modes: Program AE, Picture, Digital Filter, Night Scene, Movie, 3D, Panorama Assist, Auto Bracket
  • Picture modes: Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Illustration, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow and Sunset
  • Single, Continuous, High Speed and Selftimer Drive modes
  • Multi-segment, Center-weighted or Spot-metering
  • Exposure, White Balance, Saturation, Sharpness and Contrast Bracketing
  • Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast in three different levels
  • Movie mode records 30 secs w/out audio in AVI format
  • Built-in flash with Auto, Fill and Red-eye Reduction modes
  • Digital Filters: B&W, Sepia, Red, Blue, Green, B&W+Red, B&W+Green, B&W+Blue
  • White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Manual
  • USB Mass Storage compatible for PC and Mac OS
  • Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching II compatible
  • CompactFlash Type I memory cards
  • World Time function displays the time in 62 countries

The Optio 33L includes the following: 16MB CompactFlash, USB cable, video cable, ACDSee™ software, Stereo Viewer, neck strap and lithium CR-V3 battery.

Physical Views

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L and the Minolta DiMAGE Xt for comparison

Pentax Optio 33L

Pentax Optio 33L and a standard CD for size comparison

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Pentax Optio 33L Specifications

Type: Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash.
Effective Pixels: 3.2 megapixels
Sensor: 3.34 megapixels (total pixels) 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter.
Color Depth: 12 bit x 3 colors.
Recorded Pixels: Still:
2048 x 1536 pixels
1600 x 1200 pixels
1024 x 768 pixels
640 x 480 pixels

320 x 240 pixels

Sensitivity: Auto, fixed (equivalent to ISO 100, 200, 400)
File Formats: Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF, DPOF. Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG Format) approx. 15 fps., soundless
Quality Levels: "Best", "Better", "Good".
Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF) card Type I, 16MB included
Lens: Pentax power zoom 5.8mm-17.4mm. (Equivalent to 38mm-114mm in 35mm format) f/2.6-f/5.0, 6 elements in 5 groups (1 aspherical element.)
Digital Zoom: 1X - approx. 3X
Focusing System:
Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus system. Manual focus/Infinity-landscape mode available.
Focusing Areas: 5-point autofocus, Spot autofocus.
Focusing Range: Autofocus: Normal - 1.31 ft. (0.4m) to infinity. Macro - 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to 1.64 ft. (0.5m). Manual focus: 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinity.
Exposure Control:
Metering System: TTL metering: Choice of Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, Spot metering.
Exposure Modes: Standard, Picture mode (Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Illustration), Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, Auto Bracket.
Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV (1/3 steps).
Movie: Shooting time: approx. 1 sec. - 30 sec.
Shutter: Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter. Shutter speed: approx. 1/1500 sec. to 4 sec.
Drive Modes: One shot, Continuous, Self-timer (2 or 10 secs).
Flash: Built-in series-control auto flash. Automatic discharge under low lighting condition in auto modes. Flash-on and flash-off modes. Effective Range: 1) approx. 0.66 ft. - 16 ft. (0.2m - 5.0m) (5.8mm at ISO Auto); 2) approx. 0.33 ft. - 8.9 ft. (0.1m - 2.7m) (17.4mm at ISO Auto). "Red-eye" reduction function employs a single discharge.
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual setting.
Digital Filter: Black & White, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue, B&W+Red, B&W+Green, B&W+Blue
Optical Viewfinder: none
LCD Monitor: 1.5 inch, TFD color LCD, swings up and rotates 180°
LCD Function: Nine-image and 1X-12X magnification available in playback mode.
Interfaces: Video output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal.
Video Output: Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats.
Power Sources: Lithium battery CR-V3 allows approximately 650 shots to be taken*, two AA (lithium, alkaline, rechargeable Ni-MH) batteries. Optional AC adapter also available. * According to tests conducted in-house by Pentax.
Dimensions: 4.1 (W) x 2.5 (H) x 1.6 (D) inches (105mm x 63mm x 41.5mm) (D: max 34.5mm) (Excluding protrusions.)
Weight: 8.1 oz. (230g) loaded and ready. 6.3 oz. (180g) without battery and CF card.
OS Compatibility: Mac Requirements - OS: Mac OS 8.6 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space:6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port

PC Requirements - OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory:64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port

Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

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