If you're in the market specifically for waterproof compact to take to the beach or on holiday then be sure to take a look at our round-up of the Best Waterproof Cameras.
The Fuji XP150 is the new flagship model within Fuji’s XP range of ruggedised compact digital cameras and sits directly above the cheaper XP100 and XP50 models. As with all XP models it is purpose built for active use outdoors in all weathers, and as such is waterproofed to 10m, freeze-proofed to -10˚C, shock-proofed to 2m and sealed against dust and dirt.
Internally, the XP150 gets a 1/2.3in 14.4MP CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-140mm. There’s also built-in GPS functionality that allows you to geotag your images at source or even to navigate via the electronic compass that can be set to display on the 2.7in, 230k-dot LCD screen. If you’re looking for a camera to take white-water rafting, mountain biking or snowboarding, the XP150 is exactly the kind of camera you should be looking for. Or is it?
About this time last year ago we had a look at the Fujifilm XP30 and while wasn’t a bad camera it wasn’t quite the best in class. Like the XP150 we have here, the XP30 also offered a 14MP sensor, a 5x optical zoom and built-in GPS functionality. While we liked the XP30’s ease-of-use and relatively attractive pricing (now even more so) we did have some issues with image quality, specifically lens sharpness and mid to high ISO performance – something we hoped Fuji might fix with successive XP models. Has the XP150 managed this, or is it just another middle-of-the-field racehorse dressed up in some shiny new livery?
Out of the box, first impressions are actually quite good. The XP150 retains the same basic shape of the XP30 albeit with a couple of subtle design tweaks. The most noticeable of these is the addition of a small metallic plate on the front where your fingers sit, which extends around to the battery/memory card latch. The raised profile of this plate combined with the rubberised finger grip that’s been inset into it gives a little something extra to wrap your fingers around, which in turn results in a slightly more secure hold overall. It’s a shame that the dimpled thumb rest found on the back of the XP30 has been removed though.
Buttons all fall within easy reach and are all quite large and well spaced as well to allow for slightly easier use. There’s no clever Tap Control function though, as seen on the Olympus TG-820 we reviewed last week, so if you can’t operate the camera while wearing thick ski gloves or suchlike you may have to stop what you’re doing and take one off. In terms of button layout the only change over the XP30 is the addition of a dedicated GPS button on the top plate.
Speaking of GPS, this has been given some added functionality with a new built-in digital compass now able to record which way you were facing as well as the co-ordinates. There are many factors that control how quickly the XP150 can get a lock on passing satellites and in testing we found that it could take as little as 30 seconds or as long as three or four minutes. We were unable to get a single satellite lock while using the camera indoors though, even with the camera propped right up against a (double-glazed) window. Battery performance does take a pretty significant knock when GPS is permanently switched on too, so you may want to consider only turning it on when you need it – or at the very least disabling it when the camera is switched off.
Shooting modes are all of the point-and-shoot variety, although there’s a fairly generous selection of Scene modes to choose from plus a couple of low-light and high dynamic range options that appear to have been ‘borrowed’ from Fuji’s EXR range, both of which rely on the in-camera blending of multiple exposures to improve image quality. Should you want to wrestle back a little bit of control there’s also a Program mode that allows you to choose your own ISO or white balance settings. There are no built-in digital filters although there is an easy-to-use one-touch Panoramic mode.
Movie capabilities are catered for with the option to record Full HD movies at 30fps with sound captured in mono. Fallback options include 720/30p HD recording and standard definition 640 x 480. Last but not least are three high-speed options that can capture 640 x 480 at 80fps, or 320 x 240 at either 160fps or 240fps – useful for capturing radical tricks and stunts no doubt.