Fujifilm FinePix XP30 review
1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140m equivalent), 165g
Underwater cameras aren't just for scuba-divers. They're ideal for the beach, ski slopes, boating trips and walks in British weather too. Now that most also offer protection from knocks, they're also an excellent choice for children, thrill-seekers and clumsy people.
The XP30 is particularly appealing for two reasons. One is that it's much cheaper than its stylish, rugged design suggests. Normal cameras with similar specs are available from around £120, so this isn't much of a premium to pay for its rugged stats: waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5 and freeze-proof to -10 degrees centigrade. It's a little more expensive than the very similar Olympus TG-310, but if you're happy to settle with a silver exterior, rather than this striking blue, the price drops to £156 at Amazon.
The other stand-out feature is a GPS radio for tagging photos' coordinates - just the thing for a camera that's likely to be taken to some interesting places. This isn't the first GPS-enabled camera we've seen but it's the best implementation to date. There's an option to leave the GPS radio on when the camera is turned off, which meant we didn't have to wait 10 minutes for it to get a lock after powering up. It could still be slow to update and sometimes applied the last known position to photos taken much later and miles away, but the majority of outdoor photos were tagged with reasonable accuracy. It was even able to tell us where we were - or where a photo was taken - thanks to a database of place names.
Sadly, that's where the XP30's charms start to run out. The controls will satisfy only the most steadfast point-and-shoot snappers, with etched button labels that are hard to read in less friendly environments, let alone in more hazardous ones. The scant photographic options are tucked away in the menu, which is unfortunate because the automatic settings failed to cope well with low light, using long exposure times that lead to blurry shots.