Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fujifilm's New More Rugged FinePix XP30 Featuring GPS

Waterproof digital cameras are becoming all the rage these days. Last year several companies got their feet wet introducing their first ever waterproof offerings. With several other companies such as Olympus and Fujifilm introducing updated offerings. This year marks a first for the waterproof, rugged camera line with Fujifilm raising the bar by introducing the new FinePix XP30; the world's first water, shock, dust and freeze proof model featuring built-in GPS functionality.

The FinePix XP30 picks up where the FinePix XP10 left off featuring the same 4-way durability only with slightly more rugged specifications.You get a newly designed look with a riveted front that is waterproof to 5 metres/16.4ft as opposed to only 3m with the XP10. You'll also get shockproof protections for drops up to 1.5 metres/4.9ft, or a full foot and a half more protection over the XP10. Add to that the same Dust / Sandproofing as well as freezeproof protection down to −10°C.

To add to the cameras durability new is a new shockproof bumper design to shield the LCD screen in case of accident drops. A new rubberized grip to help keep the camera in your hands during tough conditions and a a strengthened glass lens cover providing better protection for that all too important lens.

The most emphasized new feature is the built in GPS sensor for geo-tagging support. Locations can be displayed either as longitude and latitude or by place name. The FinePix XP30 has an embedded list featuring around half a million places of interest across the globe. When a shot is taken, the image is tagged with location information, enabling you to quickly find shots of a place you've visited. Should users then want to create a photobook of a specific location they can do so using the Photobook Assist function where you can tag images then turn the pages of the book on the camera's rear LCD.

But that's not all. If you visit a location that you want to return to but can't remember which way to go, the Photo Navigation mode is invaluable. Simply find a shot of the location and the FinePix XP30 will not only tell you how far it is from your current spot, it'll show you the direction you need to travel to get there.

For those who want to re-trace their steps and map a route of their travels, the Route Logging function is sure to appeal. The FinePix XP30 stores location data every 10 minutes and, once the images are downloaded to a PC through MyFinePix Studio (bundled image viewing software), a map of the route, along with the pictures you took along the way is created using Google Maps.

Fujifilm FinePix XP30 / XP20 key features:
  • 14.2 megapixel resolution
  • GPS functionality - The XP20 drops the GPS function
  • 5x wide optical zoom covering 28 - 140 mm (35 mm equivalent)
  • CCD shift image stabilization
  • 2.7 inch rear LCD with 230,000 pixels
  • Waterproof to five metres
  • Shockproof up to 1.5 metres
  • Freezeproof to −10°C
  • Dust / Sandproof
  • Motion Panorama mode
  • Available in Black, Silver, Orange, Blue, Green and White

Pricing on the new XP30 is $240 or $200 for the XP20 without the GPS. The cameras are available now for pre-order however they won't be available until mid-February for shipping.

My thoughts:

I've been watching the waterproof digital camera market since I did my review of the FinePix Z33Wp back on Aug of '09 and had been keeping a close eye on the XP10 since it was released. So naturally when I saw the data on the new XP30 I was a bit intrigued. I'll have to say that I'm not going to be an early adopter on this one. Given the drawbacks I faced with Z33WP I'm a bit shy of Fujifilm's cameras. I know these basic waterproof cameras are supposed to be pretty much point and shoot and you shouldn't expect something top notch but I'm a bit picky.

Right now the XP10 can be purchased for around $100 so at $240 the XP30 seems like an expensive alternative. After-all, GPS aside you aren't gaining much in terms of actual performance. Sure you get a rubberized feel that offers more protection and a few extra feet of waterproofing and drop resistance but that hardly seems worth it to me. I really do like the sounds of the GPS and Photo Navigation mode. I'm just not sure I'd actually use it that much. Hopefully we'll see some reviews soon and that will sway me one way or the other.

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