Nikon Coolpix S33 is a basic point and shoot waterproof camera. I have had it since November 2016. Played around with it for 3 trips. Sample photos and video included. Here’s my thought.

Nikon-Coolpix-S33-review-8544.JPGMy smart phones have been waterproof since 2014. So my expectation of a waterproof camera is pretty much ability to be in deeper water for longer, clear photo and hardiness in the sand / drop. I bought this as an “occasional” camera, with the sole purpose for beach holidays and SCUBA.Nikon-Coolpix-S33-review-8547.JPGI have always regretted not filming underwater when I did shark cage diving, so this time I decided to invest in a camera. Let’s face it, as a blog post, it was pretty shitty to not have the actual underwater filmed. But then again, I’m not a professional blogger. I did consider other “action cameras”. There are not that many basic options. E.g. Canon’s waterproof only had D30, which is EUR200+ Other brands are mostly EUR300+ Go-Pro specs are terrible, especially at their price point; I can’t understand their hype. Olympus Tough TG-5, you’re a beautiful machine but I am not worthy, because I won’t use you enough etc. I don’t live under water and no adrenalin junkie. It’ll be ridiculous to invest in any EUR300+ camera that I know I’ll not use regularly.Nikon-Coolpix-S33-review-8550.JPGMy rational is: For a gadget that has less than 5 expected use per year, should cost under EUR100.


So in the end, I decided to go as basic as possible. I paid EUR69 for this camera; bought it from FNAC at a discount because mine was their display camera. Their original price was EUR89.



The menu is intuitive. Shooting mode is categorised by subject e.g. food, underwater, people. It’s easy to understand. I do like it that it has chunky physical buttons. It makes selection easier.


The response is rather slow, mild lag; I’m talking about split seconds here, but it is split seconds that I can feel. It is annoying. Putting things into perspective though, I only need to do the setting once before I start to shoot up a storm, so it is bearable. It can also be that I have a natural preference for the Canon interface. I have owned 4 Canon point and shoot cameras in the past, none of them have had this lag.


Photo quality

I have only experimented it in daylight / outdoor conditions. I didn’t bother with night time, the camera is f/3.3 and my phone is f/2.0; what’s the point in comparing? For walking around (above water) sort of photos, it performed okay. A bit more noisy than I’d like, but viewing on the phone / ipad mini, no one can tell that there’s grain.


All sample photos and video used have no photo editing beyond watermark and compression.

40% compression, original photo was 5.58MB. f/3.3
40% compression 5.48MB. f/3.3
40% compression, original was 6.06MB. f/6.6
40% compression, original 5.91MB, f/3.3

For underwater, it definitely did better than my phones. It’s probably because of the better flash? Also the fact it has some sort of auto adjustment.

7m under water, 40% compression, 6.09M
Under water, no zoom, near the water surface, 40% compression, 6.38m
3x optizoom 2m under water. Compression 40%, original was 6.11MB.

Video quality

It has grains, but I’m happy with it.. Here’s a clip with zero editing straight from the camera. Forest, humid condition; fast moving object.

The underwater video was probably it’s best attribute. Can see clearly what’s happening. Not much difference in what I saw in real life.

Reason to buy this camera?

  • Affordable
  • Family photo / memory without breaking the bank
  • Great option if you only need a hardy camera occasionally. Like under 5 use per year.
  • Fuzz free, frill free shooting
  • Hardy, no need to worry about drop or water
  • Light weight (180g include battery and SD card)
  • Great camera for young kids
  • Bright fun colour options – comes in blue, pink, yellow and white


Reason not to buy this camera?

  • You want high density, razor sharp photos
  • Cannot stand slow menu reaction
  • Can’t go deeper than 10m diving
  • Intend to shoot 300+ photos without spare battery (the battery died on me before 300 photos)



For best under water photo, be as close to the object as possible.


**Photos of the camera were taken by Canon 5D mark 3. Contrast and white balance has been adjusted.


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  1. I think for the price point, this is a really nice camera! I mean, it is waterproof too and I didn’t think it was possible in that price point. I have a Canon camera which is more point and shoot. I like Canon because it’s easy to operate and the quality is usually high but I am lazy to use it! Also, the battery isn’t great but maybe I should just replace my battery. XD

    • Ja, I was really surprised that I can get this quality at this price point! I prefer Canon too. It’s just so much easier. With Canon point and shoot, I normally buy a spare battery 😉

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