Fujifilm FinePix XP10 Review

June 25, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |


The Fujifilm FinePix XP10 is a new all-action digital camera. Replacing the Z33WP model, the FinePix XP10 is waterproof up to 10 feet / 3m, shockproof up to 3 feet / 1m, freezeproof down to 14°F / -10°, and dustproof. The Fujifilm XP10 has a 12 megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7 inch LCD screen, 5x periscopic optical zoom lens with a reinforced protective lens barrier, and measures just 21.7 mm thick. It also features 720p HD movie recording and an automatic Facebook / YouTube Automatic Web Upload function. Available in a choice of three different colors, silver, black and green, the Fujifilm FinePix XP10 costs £169.99 / $199.95.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm FinePix XP10 is a pleasingly compact digital camera, with a youthful two-tone dark and light blue plastic body that's shaped like a lozenge, becoming narrower in height on the left-hand side. To remind you why you bought the camera, the words "Water / Shock / Dust / Freeze Proof" are highlighted on the front of the alongside the rather prominent XP branding. The XP10 is a diminutive camera that's easily small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, measuring just 95.6 (W) x 63.8 (H) x 23.2 (D) mm. The XP10 is quite slim for this class of camera, making it well suited to either a trouser or shirt pocket or handbag, and it weighs just 135g without the battery or memory card fitted.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP10 features an internal non-extending 5x optical zoom lens that's equivalent to a focal length of 36-180mm in 35mm terms, offering a long telephoto length that makes it ideal for candid head and shoulder portraits. The 36mm wide-angle setting isn't that wide by modern standards though , often making me wish for a 28mm or even wider setting. The maximum aperture is a rather slow f/4 at the wide end but a more respectable f/4.8 at the other extreme of the zoom range. For those with kids or subjects that don't stay put the XP10's auto-focus tracking ability will doubtless come in handy.

Despite its all-plastic construction, the XP10 is one of the better models around in terms of build quality. The overall finish is good, looking and feeling more expensive than its price-tag might suggest. The only minor criticisms are the rather ineffective handgrip on the front, making the camera more difficult to hold than it really should be, and the poorly located plastic tripod mount and the cheap plastic battery compartment latch, which are strangely out of keeping with the rest of the camera.

Although we can't entirely vouch for the Fujifilm FinePix XP10's ability to survive extreme depths, it did handle our more down-to-earth tests with aplomb. Submerging it in a sink full of cold water and burying it in a pile of sand didn't cause any undue harm, and we also didn't notice any unwanted dust in our pictures, not that this is usually a problem for compact cameras with non-interchangeable lenses. Dropping it from within the specified height left the camera intact, albeit with a few cosmetic scratches, and it also survived a night left in the freezer compartment. All in all we're confident that the XP10 would handle most things that you or your family could throw at it, or throw it at.

Fujifilm FinePix XP10 Fujifilm FinePix XP10
Front Rear

Given the telephoto lens reach of 180mm, image stabilisation is a welcome inclusion, albeit a less effective digital system which increases the ISO speed rather than the more advanced CCD-shift anti shake found on other models in Fujifilm's extensive range. In practice therefore with the Fujifilm FinePix XP10 it's mostly a case of a half press of the shutter release button and the camera does the rest, particularly with Fujifilm including an 'auto everything' scene recognition (SR) auto mode. Although far from infallible - if you're not paying close attention and it's presented with a busy scene it'll call up landscape when macro is needed and vice versa - it adds to the beginner-friendly feel.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP10 has relatively few external controls, just 8 in total, which reflects the fact that this is a simple camera in functionality terms, with very limited photographic control on offer. All the controls are clearly labeled using industry-standard symbols and terminology. Located on top of the XP10 are the tiny Microphone holes, On / Off button and the tactile Shutter button. On the bottom are the plastic tripod mount, unhelpfully located in the extreme left-hand corner, and the battery compartment, which also houses the SD memory card slot and the PC / AV Out port. The latter accepts both the USB interface cable required to connect the camera to a printer or computer and the AV cable.

On the rear of the XP10 is the 2.7 inch, 230k-dot LCD screen, with a number of controls to the right, including a traditional navigation pad. You can directly access the various flash options by clicking right on the navigation pad, the self-timer modes via down, the focus modes via left, and exposure compensation and delete via up. The Menu / OK button in the middle performs two main tasks - it opens the intuitive Main Menu system and then selects the menu options. Press this button in anything but auto mode and you're presented with two clearly read screens of shooting options when in capture mode or review mode (if shooting using one of the auto settings, options are abbreviated to turning self timer or high speed shooting on or off, plus access to the set up menu). The set up menu itself is divided into three folders allowing the adjustment of operational volumes, screen brightness, and the ability to format the inserted memory card or internal memory.

The Shooting Mode menu option provides a list of all the various modes. Starting with Program, the shooting mode with the largest amount of configurable options and then full auto mode, we then come to one of the camera's main selling points, the aforementioned SR (Scene Recognition) auto, which cleverly chooses the most applicable scene mode 80% of the time.

Fujifilm FinePix XP10 Fujifilm FinePix XP10
Front Front

Next up are two modes for improving low-light photos. The Natural Light mode forces the XP10 to select a fast shutter speed in order to freeze subject movement more effectively, whilst setting a fast ISO speed without firing the flash for more natural results. It's an effective automatic way of taking photos of children indoors, for example. Natural Light and Flash is a little more exciting. When selected, the camera instantly takes 2 photos, one with flash, one without, giving you the option of which one to choose later (both are saved by the camera).

Finally an extensive range of scene modes feature standard pre-optimised settings for familiar scenes and subjects, including portraits, landscapes, sunsets and fireworks amongst its selection. Face detection, which biases the focus and exposure toward any faces in the frame, is activated in the main menu system, as is the Red Eye Removal setting.

Above the navigation pad, the XP10 uses thumb-operated buttons for zooming in and out, marked W and T, a sensible choice given the intended use of the camera, although the buttons are coated with a protective rubber which makes them a little unresponsive. The camera takes just under four seconds to move through the range from maximum wideangle to telephoto, and full resolution JPEG images are saved almost instantaneously when shooting in single shot mode.

Fujifilm FinePix XP10 Fujifilm FinePix XP10
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Directly below the navigation pad are the self-explanatory Playback and Display /Back buttons, the latter cycling through the various LCD display settings, turning off the visible icons on screen and/or calling up a nine zone compositional grid when in capture mode,, plus a very handy Movie button which makes it easy to instantly start recording moving footage, with all three also covered in the same protective rubber.

The XP10 captures 1280 x 720 pixel footage at 30fps with mono sound, with full use of the 5x zoom and a maximum recording time of 15 minutes per clip. Alternatively there are also 640 x 480 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels modes, also at 30 fps. Although there's no built-in HDMI port, you could use Fujifilm's optional HD Player Kit instead, which includes an HD card reader that connects the camera to your HDTV, and even a wireless remote control. The in-camera Movie Edit function allows you to make your movies black and white, sepia or even add backlight correction to correct the exposure.

Fujifilm have chosen the more widely available SD than retaining historical loyalty to the now outgunned (in terms of available capacity) xD-Picture Card, a slot for which is provided at the base of the camera where it's shared with the lithium-ion battery required for power. This means that if you're shooting with the camera on a tripod via the plastic mount, you have to first remove the camera to remove the card, which is a bit of a pain but far from uncommon. The right hand flank of the XP10 (when viewed from the back) features a a metal eyelet for attaching the provided wrist strap, and on the left side is the speaker and a rather incongruous plastic flap which covers a strange port that's described as "not for customer use" in the manual.