The back of the camera gets a 2.7-inch, 230k-dot LCD monitor, which is fairly standard for a £150 compact. While the monitor’s resolution is fine for navigating through menu settings and reviewing basic composition with, more detailed viewing on it proves less rewarding as there’s also a tendency for it to make images appear slightly darker than they actually are. It’s also very difficult to use in bright sunlight, though this is somewhat typical of these toughened compacts.
The XP30 is very much a point-and-shoot camera and, accordingly, the range of shooting modes on offer is fairly limited. In addition to fully Automatic mode, the XP30 also offers a Scene Recognition mode that automatically selects the best individual scene mode based on the subject; a Program mode that selects shutter speed and aperture, but allows the user to adjust parameters such as ISO, white balance and AF mode; 17 individual Scene modes ranging from portrait to landscape and underwater; and finally, an easy-to-use Panorama mode that takes three pictures and stitches them together in-camera to create a single 180-degree panorama.
Movie recording is catered for with a choice of either 1280×720 Hi-Def or 640×480 VGA quality at 30fps. Both record audio in mono and movies are stored as Motion-JPEG files. Hi-Def movie quality isn’t the greatest we’ve seen, displaying some noticeable choppiness with moving subjects and there’s a general lack of fine detail – an issue that, as we shall be highlighting shortly, extends to the camera’s still image quality.
One neat little touch, though, is the addition of a red-dot instant movie record button on the back of the camera where the XP10’s zoom controls used to sit. Although single-touch movie recording buttons are becoming increasingly common on cheaper point-and-shoot compacts, it’s a feature that was absent on the XP10 so it’s good to see the addition here.
Within the Playback menu, there are basic image editing tools to crop images or alter their contrast, colour and brightness, along with a red-eye removal feature and a face pixelator. Users can also set the camera up to automatically upload content to YouTube and Facebook the moment the camera is connected to a computer.
Two other playback features of note include a built-in Photobook Assist function that uses embedded GPS data to create digital scrapbooks of images from specific locations that you can then browse through on the XP30. In principle it’s a nice touch, however the low resolution of the monitor does make it a bit of a flat experience.
More useful – at least for budding explorers in unfamiliar environments – is the camera’s Photo Navigation mode that displays the distance and compass direction to any previously GPS-tagged images from your present location.
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