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Fujifilm FinePix XP30 review: Fujifilm FinePix XP30

The XP30 is a jack of all trades, master of none. Its rugged credentials can't make up for its average image quality and troublesome side-locking door.

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Lexy Savvides
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Lexy Savvides

Principal Video Producer

Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.

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3 min read

Is this an attractive waterproof camera I see before me?

Fujifilm-XP30_1.jpg
7.0

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

The Good

Stylish exterior. Good GPS.

The Bad

Battery and card flap door comes open too easily. Slow performance times. Some image quality issues. Terrible video and audio quality.

The Bottom Line

The XP30 is a jack of all trades, master of none. Its rugged credentials can't make up for its average image quality and troublesome side-locking door.

Design and features

With apologies to Shakespeare, the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 could possibly be the best-looking rugged camera around. It's slim, compact and has a decent grip-to-curves ratio, with a soft-touch plastic casing around parts of the body.

On to the key specifications, which take in a 14.2-megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7-inch LCD screen and waterproofing down to 5 metres, shockproofing from 1.5m, freezeproofing to -10 degrees Celsius and dustproofing. There's also a GPS on-board for capturing location information alongside images, for plotting on maps and recording trip details post-adventure. Shooting modes include the regular automatic and scene options, motion panorama and underwater just to name a few.

The XP30 also sports a 5x optical zoom lens with an internal mechanism, opening to 28mm at its widest end. All this sounds good so far, though there is one rather glaring design fault: when the XP30 is dropped or even nudged a little too hard, the battery/card compartment door opens. Time to invest in a double-locking door like that found on the bigger Olympus TG-810.

The buttons are placed within easy-enough reach, and there's a simple array of controls with a dedicated video record button, four-way directional pad and a decent little zoom rocker on the top. Connectivity is via one small proprietary mini-USB port underneath a flap on the side. The XP30 is compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

GPS

Like the other Fuji camera we recently tested, the GPS unit in the XP30 is quick to lock on to a location when there's no obstructions like trees or buildings in the way. It takes approximately one minute to get a signal for the first time or in a new area, which reduces dramatically to approximately 10 seconds when the camera is turned off or repositioned. Users have the option of keeping the GPS permanently switched on, even when the camera is powered off, maintaining tracking data or displaying location data (where applicable) on the screen.

XP30

An example of plotting location data on Google Maps using Picasa and an image from the XP30. (Screenshot by CBSi)

Compared to

FT10 vs. 6010 vs. XP30

Panasonic Lumix FT10 Olympus Tough 6010 Fujifilm XP30
14 megapixels 12 megapixels 14.2 megapixels
2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD
Waterproof to 3m, drop proof to 1.5m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius Waterproof to 3m, drop proof to 1.5m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius Waterproof to 5m, drop proof to 1.5m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius
HD video (720p, motion JPEG) Video (VGA resolution, motion JPEG) HD video (720p, motion JPEG)
AU$399 AU$399 AU$299

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • Shutter lag
  • Shot-to-shot time
  • Fujifilm XP304.32.61.2
  • Panasonic FT101.90.81
  • Olympus Tough 80104.50.94
  • Olympus Tough 60102.10.92

Image quality

The images from the XP30 are fine for using at a reduced resolution, such as for web display, but definitely aren't up to scratch for large prints or cropping extensively. When viewed at full magnification, detail is lost and looks over-processed, whereas colours start to shift slightly. Even low ISO levels suffer from over-processing.

Focusing too also feels a little cumbersome, as sometimes the AF will lock on to an appropriate target, but sometimes it won't. Image stabilisation also feels hit-and-miss, particularly at shutter speeds of 1/60 and below. The lens produces visible distortion at the wide-end when composing images on the screen, though this levels out when images are taken as the XP30 must automatically correct some barrel distortion during processing.

Colour rendition, on the other hand, is decent with a good amount of saturation across all channels.

Video quality is very poor, despite being at 720p. The image is grainy and lacking detail, and the less said about the microphone the better. It exhibits a really strong hissing noise and hardly picks up any other audio at all.

Image samples

Exposure: 1/420, f/4.9, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/250, f/3.9, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/150, f/3.9, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/150, f/3.9, ISO 100

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The XP30 is a jack of all trades, master of none. Its rugged credentials can't make up for its average image quality and troublesome side-locking door.


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