We're inclined to like this green version of the XP10, with its tropical fish design vibe (eye in the front, tapered toward the back – it even has little grey scales), but others may prefer the black, silver, blue or pink models. The look is more streamlined, the paint job flashier (with metallic flecks) and the grey bumps a useful, grippable add-on when compared to its predecessor, the Z33WP (reviewed here). The new camera also bumps up the zoom lens, from 3x to 5x, adds 720p video recording, and costs $60 more.
The round pedestal at the right is part of the PMA trade show display, not a camera feature.
The camera has membrane-coated buttons on the right to maintain a waterproof seal, plus a more conventional four-way controller. One of these buttons is dedicated to stopping and starting video recording, a useful feature.
The LCD measures 2.7 inches, with 230,000-dot resolution.
Several controls are protected by a flexible black covering.
The left side of the camera is home to the I/O port and speaker; the right has a wrist strap connector.
The left side, with speaker and I/O port.
The right side, with wrist strap connector.
The camera top has a mono mic on the left, the power and shutter button on the right.
Camera top, with mic at far left
The camera body has a securely latched battery / memory card compartment (the better to cope with the watery environment) and a tripod socket uncomfortably all the way off to the side, being used here to tether the XP10 to its trade show display stand.
Camera bottom, with watertight battery compartment
Design & Appearance
We like the look of the XP10. Unlike some of the more serious, rectangular waterproof offerings from Olympus or Pentax, the XP10 has a youthful, fun appearance that befits a snorkeling/snowboarding/poolside lifestyle.
Size & Handling
At 3.8 x 2.5 x 0.9 inches (95.6 x 63.8 x 23.2mm), and weighing in at 4.8 oz. (135g), the XP10 is compact enough to slip easily into a pair of shorts or your jacket pocket on the slopes. It feels comfortable in the hand, particularly with the raised rubberized dimples on the camera front, which create a substantial gripping surface that should be very helpful in difficult handling situations in the water or the cold.
On the pre-production sample we tried, the membrane-covered controls for zooming, playback mode, video recording and display toggle received mixed reviews. It's an effective strategy to ensure that water doesn't leak in, even with high-velocity streams and we expect this design keeps costs down versus individually providing waterproof gaskets for several separate buttons. However, it seemed difficult to press the controls with the balls of your fingers, requiring fingernail pressure instead.
Unlike most cameras we've seen recently, there is no quick menu to make adjustments; instead, you press the menu button and a full-screen display pops up. On the other hand, there aren't that many adjustments to be made: most of them are seen in the screen shot below.
Ease of Use
With a limited number of options, a simple shooting menu and direct access to settings for exposure compensation, flash, macro mode and self-timer through the four-way controller, the XP10 is a simple camera to operate.
When set to scene recognition mode, the camera analyzes the shooting situation and attempts to identify it as a portrait, landscape, night, macro, backlit portrait or night portrait shot, adjusting settings accordingly. Face detection and continuous autofocus are set to 'on' in this mode.
If none of these scene situations are recognized, the camera shoots in the basic Auto mode, which adjusts camera settings based entirely on light readings and locks out most user setting adjustments.
Videos can be recorded in 720p high-def (1280x720), or with 640x480, or 320x240 resolution. Instead of switching to a separate movie mode, pressing the dedicated video button on the camera back starts recording. If you want to watch your videos on a TV screen, you're going to have to invest in an optional AV output cable. And if you want to watch your 720p videos in high def, your only option is the computer screen, since the camera has no high-def output capability.
There is a sort of burst mode, delivering one shot per second on a good day. There's also a fairly elaborate self-timer. In addition to the usual 2- or 10-second timed delays, the couple timer will wait until two people are in the shot, with an adjustable distance between them, and the group timer will wait until the desired number of people (from 1 to 4) are in frame.
There are two full-screen playback views, one with photo info overlaid, the other with a clean screen. Shots can also be magnified or viewed in groups of two, nine or a hundred. The two-image view is handy for comparing similar shots side by side. You can use the image search function to find photos based on date, scene recognition mode, type (still, movies), or face detection.
Photos can be cropped, with or without changed aspect ratio, and resized for easy upload. Brightness, contrast and color can all be tweaked. You can also add brief voice memos to your photos. Movies can be trimmed down, backlight correction can be applied, and video can be transformed into black and white or sepia. All in all, this is a decent array in-camera editing options.
Preset Scene Modes
With no manual controls at hand, the best you can do to tailor the camera settings to the current situation is choose a preset scene mode. These include natural light (for flash-less low-light photography), portrait, portrait enhancer (improved skin tones), landscape, sport, night, night (tripod), sunset, snow, beach, underwater, party, flower and text. Auction mode is interesting for eBay types: it combines up to four shots in a single 640x480 image to simplify product postings. And, as mentioned in the Flash section above, there is also a mode that takes two photos in rapid succession, one with flash and one without.
There is very little manual control flexibility on the XP10. You can shoot in program mode, which allows the user to set exposure compensation, white balance, and autofocus mode, but there is no manual control over shutter speed or aperture, and no manual focus option.
There are four focus modes; full auto, AF center, AF tracking and face detection. Macro mode, with focus down to 3.5 inches from the lens, is also available.
The XP10 has an auto ISO mode, or manual settings from ISO 100-1600.
White balance presets include direct sunlight, shade, three different types of fluorescent bulbs and incandescent lighting. There is also an auto white balance setting, but no way to take a manual white balance reading.
There is no user control over metering. Exposure compensation is available in a ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV increments.
Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 1/4 second; users can't set the shutter speed manually.
The aperture range at the widest lens setting is f/4.0-f/6,7. At the full 5x zoom, it's f/4.8-f/8.0.
There is digital image stabilization processing, but no lens- or sensor-shift system.
Picture Quality & Size Options
The XP10 has a maximum 12-megapixel resolution, with a 4:3 aspect ratio. There are eight image size options in all: 12M, 10M (3:2), 9M (16:9), 6M, 3M, 2M (16:9), 2M, and 0.3M.
There are two available JPEG compression settings, fine and normal. RAW shooting is not supported.
The camera has four color modes: standard, chrome (for more vivid colors), black and white and sepia.
The optical viewfinder was a useful compact camera feature, back in the day: it meant you could line up a shot even in the brightest sunlight, and could steady the camera by holding it up to your eye. None of the PMA compact camera announcements, though, including this one, feature a viewfinder.
The XP10 has an ordinary 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD, which seemed a bit dim in the pre-production sample we handled. Of course, this could improve in the final version, and you can adjust brightness on an 11-point scale.
While shooting, pressing the DISP/BACK button repeatedly cycles between a clean screen display, one with basic settings overlaid, and a 9-block grid overlay that's handy for precisely framing your shots.
The flash has been redesigned from the Z33WP version, which we found underwhelming. This one appears a bit larger, though Fujfilm's spec for flash range is actually a bit lower than the previous camera. Flash can be set to auto fill flash, slow sync for night shots with illuminated foreground and background still visible, or the flash can be turned off.
One Fujifilm flash feature we've applauded for the past few years (and are surprised hasn't been picked up by other manufacturers) is the Natural + Flash dual-shot mode, which automatically takes two photos, one with flash and one without, in rapid succession. Often you'd prefer to take a photo in available light, to avoid the harsh glare and shadows of flash photography, but don't want to miss losing the photo entirely to inadequate light. This mode lets you shoot first and ask questions later.
The lens is a 5x zoom, 6.4-32.0mm, which is equivalent to a 36-180mm on a 35mm camera. That's not much wide angle coverage, limiting your scenic shot options. The lens speed is also unimpressive, at f/4.0, of particular concern if you're trying to shoot in an already dark underwater environment.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
The sole input/output connector is found under a waterproof door on the left side of the camera. The XP10 ships with a USB cable but, oddly, with no AV cable for video output. And while the camera supports 720p high-def output, you can't connect directly to your HDTV and view your recordings; there's no HDMI or component video output.
The slim rechargeable Lithium ion battery fits in a securely latched compartment on the camera bottom along with the memory card. Fujifilm estimates you'll get 165 shots per charge, a modest capacity if you're planning a day of vacation shooting.
The XP10 accepts SD and SDHC memory cards, and has 13MB of internal memory. Fujifilm hasn't started supporting new higher-capacity SDXC cards yet.
Rugged Construction: The metal-bodied Fujifilm XP10 is built to withstand 10-foot (3m) depths, a 3.3-foot (1m) fall, temperatures down to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C), and is dustproof. The body is made of metal
Meet the tester
Steve Morgenstern is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
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