Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Review

April 20, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 is the world’s first water, shock, dust and freeze proof camera to feature built-in GPS. Replacing the XP10 model, the FinePix XP30 is waterproof up to 16.5 feet / 5m, shockproof up to 5 feet / 1.5m, freezeproof down to 14°F / -10°, and dustproof. The Fujifilm XP30 has a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7 inch LCD screen, and a 5x periscopic optical zoom lens with a focal range of 28-140mm. It also features 720p HD movie recording and an automatic Facebook / YouTube Automatic Web Upload function. Available in a choice of five different colors, silver, black, blue, orange and green, the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 costs £199.99 / $239.95.

Ease of Use

Looking at the Fujifilm FinePix XP30, you wouldn't initially think that it was a waterproof camera simply because it's not covered in rubber and plastic. The watertight seals are hidden away with a subtlety of design but on the front are two screws that, in fairness, are probably unnecessary but they make the camera look more set up for underwater use.

The unusual thing is that we've never seen a waterproof camera that has the lens stuck out of the corner of the body, but despite this the XP30 looks more like a waterproof camera than a typical digital compact . Maybe it's because the large round lens bears a fleeting resemblance to a porthole on a ship? The important thing to know is that the XP30 is pretty solid and can take a serious amount of abuse regardless of how it looks.

Because of the lens' position on the camera, we had to avoid placing our fingers in the corners of the camera. We still placed our index finger on the top over the lens but had to curl our other fingers over more than usual and after a while holding the XP30 this way, it became uncomfortable. Our right hand was positioned great for shooting, although we found that because of the position of our left hand, we placed more weight onto our right little finger which was under the camera. Again over time, our little finger began to feel the strain and the camera also has four "feet" which dug into our finger causing discomfort. We photographed a basket ball game with the XP30 and this is where we discovered these problems, as we were using the camera constantly for over an hour.

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Front Rear

The waterproof seals are internal with rubber linings around the battery/SD card bay on the bottom. The XP30 feels heavy for such a small unit which is down to the high construction quality. On the top of the camera, there's two buttons; one for powering it on and one for taking pictures. There's also a small rocker switch for zooming in and out. We always find it interesting that the buttons and switches aren't sealed under a rubber covering to repel water.

As with most digital compacts these days, there are minimal buttons on the back of the camera and on the Fujifilm FinePix XP30, this is no different. In fact, all it sports is the menu button with the navigation pad wrapped around it, and direct playback, display and dedicated video buttons. The rest of the camera's back is reserved for the 2.7 inch screen. Generally larger controls are used on underwater cameras because of the distortion and difficult conditions to see in. However, this isn't a camera that would be used heavily in scuba photography, it's only good for 5m or 16ft which sounds sufficient but when you're exploring the depths of the sea, 5m isn't that far. It's come on a lot since these cameras first surfaced (no pun intended) though.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 's LCD screen is nice and bright and doesn't suffer from motion blur or the purple bleeding when it goes over a bright area such as a window. The rear area is covered in a plastic casing with metal only covering small portions of the top, front, bottom and sides.

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Water-proof Dust-proof

Moving into the menu, it has the usual Fujifilm set up which is intuitive and easy to navigate. To the left of the main screen are two tabs for shooting options and set up. The shooting menu will allow more or less access depending on the mode that you're in at the time. The first option is for setting the mode and you can choose from scene recognition, auto, program (like auto but opens up more features in the menu), natural and flash, natural light and then 16 different scene modes to help the scenarios you may find yourself in.

Interesting scene modes include a portrait enhancer, motion panorama, night shot while using a tripod and three underwater modes. The primary underwater mode is used for general subaquatic shots then the other two expand your options for shooting at wide angle and at macro. This doesn't mean that the XP30 won't allow wide angle shooting in the normal mode, the camera will still zoom in and out, it just means that the wide setting is prepared for the distortion of being underwater and the barrel distortion of being at wide angle.

The 5x optical zoom is fast and responsive. It goes through the range in steps and we managed to get 15 steps but felt that it could possibly do better than that. One problem that it has it the sheer noise that it makes. Even holding it at arms length, we could still hear a clicking noise as the camera was scrolled through the zoom range. Unfortunately, in video mode, the clicking sounds like it's been run through an amplifier as it's much louder and in this day and age, it shouldn't be making any noise at all.

Start up time is fast on the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 at less than a second although you have to hold the power button down for longer than is normal on a digital compact camera. Focusing is also relatively fast and there are three types of focusing available on the camera. As well as standard and face detection, there is also a AF subject tracker found in the menu system. To enable the tracking, you must press the left button of the navigation pad and then press it again if you want to cancel it. While it's locked on the subject, it won't release focus of that area unless it leaves the frame or you press the cancel button. One area that we found problematic was at the basket ball game. We kept missing the vital baskets because the camera couldn't respond fast enough even in sports mode. We had to compensate by around a second which then also lost focus and despite the hall being well lit, the XP30 still had exposure issues.

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Scratch-proof Shock-proof

One thing we always liked about the Fujfilm digital compacts was the film replication settings in the Colour menu. Previously the cameras have offered options of slide and colour film as well as more in depth simulations such as Velvia and Provia. The processor would use slight inflections in colour and saturation to give the feel of these well known film types. Unfortunately, these days, it seems to be relegated to a few higher specification cameras and the XP30 only offers monochrome (black and white), sepia and chrome (slide film) options on top of the standard colour.

The biggest feature that Fujifilm are shouting about on the XP30 is geo tagging. The technology has been around for a while now with lots of digital compact cameras being fitted out with it, but this is one of the first tough cameras to sport it. If you're unfamiliar with this feature, it works in a similar way to a GPS satellite navigation unit in the way that it communicates with a satellite to give the precise location of the camera. Now, before you start getting all excited about having a built-in compass, the camera doesn't work exactly  like that although it does take existing GPS tracking one step further. As you record the GPS information, you can have it displayed on the screen in longitude and latitude when you're reviewing your pictures in the playback menu. You can also add place names and search for them in the menu system. This allows you to also create a photobook documentary using the Fujifilm software that comes in the box. The GPS system will also let you know how far away you are from the location of a previously taken picture using the GPS from that picture, which is a cool idea.

You can still do what other GPS systems are used for and correlate the information from the EXIF data. It uses the date and time from the camera along with the location details from the GPS and will pin-point exactly when and where you were on Google Maps. We tested how long it took for the camera to locate the satellite and from start up of the camera, sat in a room around 2ft from a window, it failed to get a signal. Putting the camera at the window, it also failed to get a signal which is a problem with the UK weather system. To tell us that it couldn't get a signal took around 4 minutes. It's a weak system and won't work unless you're outside and it's a clear day. There are GPS units available that will work indoors so the technology is available and has been for a while. If you want to use the system abroad, be careful where you use it because there are some countries that restrict GPS such as China. Check with your travel agent when you book your trip for clear guidelines.

There's always a dedicated picture viewing software program included in the box and the Fujifilm has FinePix Studio version 2.1. The same CD also holds the owner's manual and the only paper based instructions included is a quick start guide. There's also a lithium ion battery, charger and USB cable. The charger doesn't have a lead, it's plugged directly into the socket which can make it difficult to use on awkward sockets. Being a diverse company, Fujifilm offer a few different optional extras that you may not normally find in this section. There are two cases available; the Mini Multi-Purpose Case which is capable of storing lots of things along with the camera or you could choose the flamboyantly named FinePix XP Action Jacket. It's made from Neoprene and a karabiner for clipping to scuba gear if that's what you're using it for. There's also a battery, charger, AC adapter and a coupler which seems to only extend the AC adapter by replacing the battery and slotting into the battery compartment.

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Throughout our time using the Fujifilm FinePix XP30, we tested all the features within tolerance parameters of what the manufacturer have stated the camera is capable of. During the shockproof test, we dropped it from a maximum height of 10cm (Fujifilm state that the camera can withstand drops from up to 1.5m). The camera still works after the test but it's worth noting that the battery door snapped open. The card and battery remained inside but we thought the door shouldn't open like that. The door also had trouble closing again because of what looked like a problem with the catch. The catch is spring loaded to open the battery door but when it's closed, you also need to pull it right back as a sort of double lock which Fujifilm say is to ensure total waterproofing. It's a good idea and it's better to be safe than sorry.

During the sand and dust test, we placed the XP30 in a sand pit, covered it over with sand and removed it straight away. We washed it under the tap before using it but some sand had still got caught in the zoom rocker rendering it inoperable to zoom in. It worked itself free eventually, but the stepping zoom feature no longer works, the camera goes from tele straight to wide-angle. We had no problems with the freeze and water proof testing and were perfectly happy with the camera's performance in those two categories.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 takes a lithium ion battery that's dedicated to the camera. It slots in the side of the camera and shares space with the SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card. Life of the battery is very good although it does get a hammering when the GPS is switched on. Using the GPS in the always on position drained the battery in 24 hours while using it when just switched on doesn't deplete it as much. However, using the latter takes longer to get a fix on your location. Inserting the battery can be a problem because it's a symmetrical shape and the camera lets you insert it even if it's the wrong way round.

After some of the problems that we encountered, we contacted Fujifilm and they offered to send a secondary unit out to us to compare it in case it was a specific camera that was at fault. We received a green model which looks beautiful. The issues we raised in the testing were: the battery door snapping open when dropped and sand getting into the zoom rocker. We dropped the new model from around 10cm (the same as the first blue model) and we had the same problem with the door falling open. Our issue is that if you were taking pictures at the seaside and dropped it into a rock pool, the camera would be ruined. As for the sand test, we placed it in the same sand pit covered with the same amount of sand for just a few seconds and the camera worked perfectly after being washed under the tap.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The XP30's lens is a standard Fujinon zoom lens which are actually quite good. Fujfilm have been making cameras and lenses for decades (one of our first film SLRs was a Fujica ST801 from the 1970s) so they have an indication of how to make them. There is some lens distortion at the wide-angle setting which we found is exacerbated when photographing up buildings towards the sky.

At low ISO or in controlled lighting, the Fujfilm FinePix XP30 provides very good picture quality. Primary colours are recorded realistically with yellows coming out nice and bright even in dull weather. Red and green also recorded nicely.  The most surprising colour result was from purple. It can be a challenge for sensors but the FinePix XP30 CCD coped admirably. It also did well with subtle colours and contrasting blacks and whites had no issue for the sensor.

On the whole, the metering works well. We had some issues with the subject under exposing when the sky was predominantly in the frame or when the sun was in the background but that's to be expected and for a small compact, the XP30 managed nicely.

There's a good amount of detail in the pictures which is pleasing but this can quickly dissipate when the ISO is raised. We had severe problems with noise when we started getting to around ISO 400 and above, which isn't too bad for a digital compact camera with a small sensor. Noise is present at lower settings, but it's possible to cope with it.


The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 has a sensitivity range of ISO100-3200. Looking at the pictures normal size on a computer screen or printing them out to a standard album size of either 6x4 or 7x5, you won't notice the loss of image detail due to the noise that creeps in even at ISO100. Noise control is working on the colour artifacts but it can't cope with the salt and pepper noise which is noticeable in the dark areas. The levels stay around the same at ISO200 showing that the noise reduction system on the camera is still working ok. Move up to ISO400 and the noise reduction starts going into over-drive as the detail starts to smooth out massively. From then on, colour invasion gets too much for the camera and it comes in aggressively. ISO3200 loses nearly all detail all over the picture.

There are 5 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix XP30. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Fujifilm FinePix XP30's 5x zoom lens provides a focal length of 28-140mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.




The pictures straight from camera come out a little bit soft and certainly benefit from the standard sharpening in an editing tool. We used Adobe Photoshop CS4 for the test and it sharpened the picture sufficiently without the need for fine tuning using the unsharp mask.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File quality

At full resolution on the fine setting, a typical image from the XP30 is around 5.3Mb while simply knocking it down to the normal setting drops the file size down to less than 3Mb.

14M Fine (100% Crop) 14M Normal (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review. Some purple fringing was present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The specification sheet for the XP30 states that the camera has a macro close focusing facility that can get as close as 9cm from the subject. This isn't entirely accurate because we were shooting much closer. A great result for a little digital compact camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


There are four flash modes on the Fujfilm FinePix XP30 digital compact camera. As well as the auto mode, there's also two flash over rides to constantly fire it regardless of the light conditions and to switch it off even if it's really dark. Over-riding to forced flash is good for backlit subjects who may otherwise be silhouetted. There's also a slow synchro flash which will fire the flash to light a subject in the foreground then use a slow shutter speed to illuminate the background. A steady tripod or perch is necessary for this setting. At wide-angle, there's a very mild amount of vignetting where the image is dark. At telephoto vignetting all but disappears but the spread of light is even enough.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto or Red-eye reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


To get the best possible quality from the camera, it has to be used in program mode so that the ISO can be adjusted. Herein lies the problem, though because the slowest shutter speed is 1/4sec. For a long exposure night time shot, the picture comes out horribly under exposed. To compensate, it's possible to use the night shot with tripod setting that can go as slow as 4 seconds but you can't control the ISO.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x640 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 19 second movie is 53.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera - Water-proof

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera - Scratch-proof

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera - Dust-proof

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera - Drop-proof

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Rear of the Camera - Image Displayed


Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Rear of the Camera - Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Rear of the Camera - Main Menu

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Rear of the Camera - GPS Menu

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix XP30

Battery Compartment


For the family in need of a camera to be used in a variety of situations from birthdays to days out and holidays, on the surface, the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 looks perfect with its impressive line-up of features and quality of construction. The build quality is good although you could argue that it has to be to cope with being dropped and dunked in water or sand.

In reality, the XP30 has problems when sand invades the holes and cracks. After two weeks of testing, the battery door of our review sample popped open with a small knock. The zoom rocker normally springs back into the middle position after releasing it which then stops the zoom. Once the camera had been put through the sand test, it stuck when zooming out to the telephoto setting.

Ergonomically, the XP30 has a quirky, attractive design that looks nice and everything falls happily to hand. We had problems with how we held the camera because of the feet on the bottom of the camera. It's always best to get into a shop and try the camera out before you buy it from them and more so with the XP30.

Putting GPS on the camera is a great idea, but living in England as we do, we couldn't get it to work because of the bad weather we experienced at the time of testing. There are good GPS systems on the market that can get a signal when indoors and in tunnels but the XP30 can't even get through clouds.

The XP30 is a family camera and family pictures will be looked at on the computer screen or printed to small sizes. For those types of pictures, the image quality is great. Colours are rendered nicely and we're happy with how the camera produced them. The XP30 only struggled with chromatic aberrations in the most extreme cases. If it wasn't for the noise reduction facility that the camera has, noise would be coming through at ISO100. As it stands it works well up until around ISO800 when the noise reduction gives up.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP30 is a good enough camera for the happy snapper that either has kids or enjoys the more extreme side of life and needs a camera that can cope with abuse. For a price point of less than £200 it's a great little compact to take places thanks to its small size, internal functions and easy to use menu. If you can live with the problems that we experienced throughout the test then you'll find this camera will meet all of your family's needs.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Fujifilm FinePix XP30 from around the web.

trustedreviews.com »

The XP30 is a keenly priced and stylish addition to the burgeoning tough compact market. Easy to use and thoughtfully laid out in terms of controls it's capable of decent, if not great, results. The addition of GPS functionality is a fun, if somewhat battery depleting, feature too. Our only real concerns are with lens sharpness and image noise. It's to be hoped that the next model in the series will address these issues by dropping the megapixel count down to something more manageable. In the meantime, the XP30 is certainly worth a look if you're in the market for a tough compact on a budget.
Read the full review »

expertreviews.co.uk »

A handsome little camera that's built to withstand water, impacts and cold. Sadly, image quality is astonishingly bad.
Read the full review »

neocamera.com »

The Fuji Finepix XP30 is a rugged ultra-compact camera with a built-in GPS designed for adventurers on a budget. It is waterproof down to a depth of 5m and sealed against rain, moisture and dust. The body of the Fuji XP30 is shockproof to drops of up to 1.5m onto concrete and freezeproof to temperatures down to -10C.
Read the full review »


Number of effective pixels

14.2 million pixels

CCD sensor

1/2.3-inch CCD with primary color filter

Storage media

Internal memory (Approx. 10MB) SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card

File format

Still image - JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3) (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible) Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG) Sound - WAVE format, Monaural sound


Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens

Lens focal length

f=5.0 - 25.0 mm, equivalent to 28-140 mm on a 35 mm camera


Mode - Single AF / Continuous AF (SR AUTO) Type - TTL contrast AF AF frame selection - Center / Tracking

Focus distance

Normal - Wide : Approx. 60 cm to infinity / 2.0 ft to infinity Telephoto : Approx. 1.0 m to infinity / 3.3 ft to infinity Macro - Wide : Approx. 9 cm - 80 cm / 3.5 in.- 2.6 ft. Telephoto : Approx. 40 cm - 80 cm / 1.3 ft.- 2.6 ft

Shutter speed

(Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/2000sec., (All other modes) 4sec. to 1/2000sec.


F3.9 / F6.2 (Wide) F4.9 / F8 (Telephoto)


Auto / ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200

Exposure modes

Programmed AE

White balance

Automatic scene recognition. Preset - Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light

LCD Monitor

2.7-inch, approx. 230,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 96 % coverage


Approx. 10sec. / 2sec. delay, Couple Timer, Group Timer

Video Output

NTSC / PAL selectable with monaural sound

Digital Interface

USB 2.0 High-speed

Power source

NP-45A Li-ion battery (included)


99.2(W) x 67.7(H) x 23.9(D) mm / 3.9(W) x 2.7(H) x 0.9(D) in. (Minimum depth :23.1 mm / 0.9in.)


Approx. 148g / 5.2oz. (excluding accessories, battery and memory card) Approx. 165g / 5.8oz. (including accessories, battery and memory card)

Digital Zoom

approx. 6.8x (up to approx. 34x , with 5x optical zoom)

Shooting modes

AUTO, P, SR AUTO, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, Portrait, Portrait enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Sunset, Snow, Beach, Under water, Under water (Wide), Under water (Macro), Party, Flower, Text, Motion panorama

Movie recording

1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels (30frames/sec.) with monaural sound * Optical zoom can be used.


Face Detection, Photobook assist, Image Search, Erase selected frames, Slide show, Auto red-eye removal, Protect, Crop, Resize, Image rotate, Mark for upload, Multi-frame playback (with microthumbnail), Favorite, Location info, Photo navigation, Panorama

Voice memo

WAVE format, Monaural sound

Your Comments

Loading comments…