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Customer Review

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to promises, perfect if this isn't your "primary" camera..., October 19, 2012
This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix XP50 Digital Camera (Orange) (Electronics)
Length:: 0:10 Mins

I do want to add that expectations from this camera make a huge difference on how satisfied you will be with the performance. It really is a matter of making the right comparison of apples to apples. So I'll compare this to other waterproof camera methods, and other waterproof cameras in this price range. I've also uploaded a bunch of photos taken at max resolution and a video recorded at full HD 1920p 30fps. The video was taken on a foggy and overcast day. The actual quality of photos and video won't show up correctly on Amazon but it should give you at least an idea of what to expect.

From a hobbyist's perspective:

I had my reservations about this camera but purchased it anyway because I like the design and orange color. Most waterproof point and shoot cameras currently on the market are a little on the bulky side, expensive, and have major problems with leakage (faulty latches over battery/sd card doors). This being an upgraded model comes with a safety lock that keeps you from accidentally opening the latch and letting water in...a nice plus. It is very difficult to unlatch the XP50 door accidentally since both "locks" have to be unlocked or relocked -in the proper sequence- to open/close the door. I wonder if some of the reviewers may have confused this camera with its near identical predecessor which had only one, non-locking latch.

When researching for a waterproof camera solution, I have tried the following:

1. Pouches ie. Dicapacs - Vinyl pouches that zip closed basically like putting your camera in a super-Ziploc bag. These for the most part work well and have never failed on me. They are relatively inexpensive and universally sized. However, controls are often difficult to operate or access, they make your equipment extra bulky and difficult to hold, zoom lenses aren't always compatible, and unless you purchase a really good quality version you may end up with fuzzy pictures because of the not so crystal clear (or scratched) pouch. You also have to be very careful to keep the insides immaculately clean and dry, even the smallest amount of moisture will cause the pouch and your camera lens to fog.

2. Custom underwater cases made specifically for certain camera models (ie. compact Canon cameras) - Work extremely well, allows complete access to controls and functionality of camera features, enhances underwater photography. More often than not these cases are well made with latches all around and heavier duty rubber seals. They look really cool too. Unfortunately they are very expensive, model specific, and add weight to your gear. If you have an older model, favorite camera of yours, you may be able to find a custom case for it for $20. I just saw one for a Canon Elph 3MP camera (that's old!) for $20 on Ebay. If you can't find a used one expect to pay upwards of $150-$200.

3. Various dedicated underwater point and shoot cameras..both disposable and non-disposable. There is a large price range for them so it's really a matter of balancing features, purpose, and what you're willing to spend. There are many pros and cons but too many to list for each model I've tried. So below is what I think of the Fuji XP50.

Design:
Personally I think it looks quite attractive. I purchased the orange because it gives it a rugged, outdoorsy, look. Chrome accents all around and rubber surround the screen and anyplace your hands might need a little extra grip. There's a nice extra wide shutter button, toggle zoom, and the usual menu/record buttons on back. If you have used point and shoot digital cameras before, then you will find that buttons and menu are pretty self-explanatory. No instruction manual needed. There is only one door, with two locks on it covering the battery, sd card, and hdmi/usb. Perhaps my only concern would be the durability of the rubber seal inside this door. If I had to describe it, it sort of looks like a thin small rubber band and it's the only thing keeping the water out of your camera. As with all "waterproof" camera solutions, I ALWAYS test before I put to actual use. In the sink, in the bathtub, at the pool, in the rain, whatever you need to do to make sure there are no surprises later. I kid you not, I've actually tested cameras in jacuzzis just to see how well seals would hold up. (Not that I am advocating this to people who buy from stores with strict return policies.) I also rinse off the camera EVERY time it's been in or near chlorine, saltwater, etc.

Performance:
There is a slight lag from pressing the shutter button to taking a photo. Indoor pictures were mediocre.... Photos were consistently grainy, dark, and blurred. The flash helps a lot for subjects that are close, but not for subjects on the other side of the room (very dark). I could see that this would be an automatic deal breaker for some people.

However, this camera really is marketed for outdoor use. There is no mention of it's ability to take photos indoors or in low light on the carton. Not that it couldn't, but it just wasn't designed with that in mind. (Most cameras boast about their sensitivity to low light). As an outdoors camera, it works pretty darn well. Color reproduction was very good and photos (even viewed on a 20" screen) were very acceptable.

I'm also very happy with the optical zoom (5X) and the digital zoom. Though pictures come out slightly grainy as expected, I can take photos of houses over a half mile away. Many cameras, even higher end ones, take blurry, unidentifiable photos on digital zoom.

The built in photo enhancement settings (ie. scenes, macro, 360 deg panoramic, underwater, landscape, etc.) also seemed to do a pretty good job of helping me achieve the look that I wanted in my photos. There are also settings for movie trimming/joining, red eye removal, in camera cropping and rotate, and marking for upload to facebook and youtube. I've also found that continuous focus modes (both movie and still) as well as facial recognition bonuses to have. I've taken self portraits of myself at arms length and pictures came out very sharp and my face, though off center, is very much in focus.

Movies came out extremely nice at Full HD 30FPS 1920p and we have viewed these on a 20" monitor in HD quality. It was impressive coming from a $100+ camera. The microphone is located on the front of the camera and speaker on the side. Speaker is pretty good and you can hear a voice clearly on it. The mic will pick up sounds clearly if you are in front of it, but speaking from behind the camera results in a muffled recording. Though I'm not happy about the usb cable they provided (wish they would have included a micro hdmi) since I rarely hook up cameras to pc's.

Summary:
Overall a good buy for the $100 dollar range. I paid about $140 and also received an 8gb sd card, a floating wrist strap, a neoprene arm strap, a regular wrist strap, a camera case with neck strap...a certificate for a free custom photo book, I'd say I got a great deal.

It is not the best waterproof point and shoot but it's definitely not the worst. It has so far been a solid performer and durable for me, but it's hard to say if there are just a lot of lemons out there or only people who have lemons post reviews because many have stated theirs crapped out on them the first day. So far my camera is living up to what was promised. For the record Nikon makes a similarly priced waterproof camera that is humongous and has horrible reviews. Just goes to show how little effort is put into this niche market.

There are definitely models out there that combine a good indoor and outdoor camera in one but you will spend 2 to 3 times more. What I enjoy most is that this relatively low cost camera is just used for my outdoor activities and as such, I can "manhandle" it a little more than I would my $1000 DSLR...heck I wouldn't even manhandle a $200-$300 Canon point and shoot...but I'm less worried about my equipment and having more fun on the jetski with the Fuji XP50. I also want to mention that this is not my primary camera. I use this for anything I can't (rather, shouldn't) do with my DSLR.
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