Fujifilm's rugged FinePix XP30 is dustproof, freezeproof, shockproof and waterproof. At around £160, it also costs less than many similar cameras. As such, it could be an interesting budget option for adventurous travellers and sporty types.
Bit of rough
The XP30 looks similar to most other rugged cameras, with a hardened exterior adorned by strong-looking bolts and rubber edges. The shape and available colours -- black, blue, green, orange and silver -- lend the camera a youthful appearance.
The battery, SD card and USB slots are all sealed by dustproof and waterproof covers, while the folded zoom lens is protected by its own layer of reinforced glass.
The XP30 is waterproof to 5m. You're never going to be able to take snaps of those weird see-through creatures that lurk at the very bottom of the ocean, but the XP30's comparative immunity to the wet stuff means it isn't going to conk out on you if you take it to the beach or white-water rafting. The camera certainly survived being plopped into a washing-up bowl during our tests.
Similarly, the camera is freezeproof down to -10°C. That means it's perfect for a spot of seasonal après-ski in Gstaad, say, but not so good for a truly extreme trip to the South Pole. And, while Fujifilm claims that the XP30 can survive a fall of around 1.5m, you wouldn't necessarily want to take it with you on a parachute jump unless you were absolutely certain that your pocket were zipped up tight.
Something else that may interest outdoors types is the fact that the XP30 has a built-in GPS system. As with other cameras that bear this feature, the main benefit is the ability to geotag your photos, providing you with accurate data as to precisely where you were when each shot was taken. It's worth mentioning, however, that the GPS doesn't always work well indoors and can also have a significant impact on battery life.
Let's talk numbers
The XP30 is based around a 14-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor. The 5x zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 28mm-140mm on a 35mm camera. The camera's sensitivity range is ISO 100 to 3,200. The LCD screen on the rear measures 2.7 inches and the video mode allows you to capture footage at up to a 720p resolution, with mono sound. All of that is roughly average for a mid-range digital camera these days.
The curved shape of the XP30 makes it very comfortable to hold and use, although we did find that some of the buttons, including the power button and shutter release, were rather hard to press. This might not sound like much of a problem but it can cause you to tilt the device slightly while taking a shot, which can, in turn, lead to some composition issues.