Waterproof cameras and housings used to be prohibitively expensive for the average user. For any type of underwater imagery, huge set-ups were needed which were only accessible to professionals or those with deep pockets. But like most technology, entry prices drop over the years to the extent where the likes of the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 can be picked up for the same amount as a cheap compact camera.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is the latest update to the XP range, with the same 16-megapixel sensor and 5x zoom, but now with an extra 5m depth and 4K video.
This on the surface is a fantastic video upgrade, but it only works at 15 fps. However, the 1080p modes with up to 60 fps and slow-motion at 720p are far more usable. ISO has also been boosted to 12800, along with a Face auto self-timer mode and new image filters.
Along with the camera’s waterproofing down to 25m, it’s also shockproof from 1.8m and freezeproof down to 14°F / -10°C. The 16.4MP CMOS sensor is accompanied by an equivalent focal length 28-140mm lens, which can also be increased to a 10x digital zoom, with sensor-shift image stabilization.
The camera benefits from built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which can be used for geotagging, transferring images, and also remote control of the camera via a smartphone app.
The body of the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 feels extremely sleek and rugged, with a three-inch 920k-dot rear LCD screen that has an anti-reflective coating applied. As per the rest of the XP line, the controls have been kept simple, with a large shutter button, on/off switch, and video button on the top of the camera. Also, a very secure and sealed locking system has been put in place for all the compartments for the likes of the battery, memory cards, and ports.
On the rear of the camera, a function button has been added to the four-way controller which can control various exposure settings. Again, this is a simple layout with the most obvious features easily at hand.
Other pertinent features include a built-in flash and autofocus/self timer lamp and a very tactile, rubberized feel to the whole camera. Easily, this camera can be seen as a straightforward and fun solution.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 in Use
When shooting exclusively in JPEG mode, it’s no surprise that the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 produces excellent color renditions. One of the main benefits of this camera is that it’s extremely straightforward to use. With decent results straight out of the camera using the standard settings.
The camera may only have an f/3.9 maximum aperture, but the backlit sensor goes a long way to helping out in low-light conditions. It also has a very respectable close focusing distance of 9cm, which works great for the smallest of subject matter.
Although the ISO levels can go all the way up to 12,800, it’s best to stick to ISO800 and below for the most detail. The highest levels are just there to get the shot when there is no other way to light a scene.
The focal range of the lens ranges from a reasonably wide 28mm to a medium telephoto 140mm. Both ends of the focal range are clear and crisp as long as the ISO level isn’t ramped up too high. This gives plenty of maneuverability for scenic shots down to close-up subjects images.
The built-in flash, although respectable for subjects up to 1.5m away, isn’t going to take the place of a regular speedlite. The flash produces noticeable vignetting with wide-angle shots, but copes much better at the longer focal lengths.
How Does It Compare?
The Nikon Coolpix W150 is a worthy adversary to the XP140, also being water, shock, and freeze proof, with point-and-shoot sensibilities. It doesn’t have the same pixel count, water depth or ISO range (ISO125 to 1,600) of the Fuji, but the camera does have a very friendly price point that would make it a great solution for the whole family.
The Nikon feels extremely rugged and the standard settings can produce good color and sharpness as long as there are good sources of light available. In other words, if you need a camera solution that can take the rigors of a family vacation, from being dropped in the sand or the nearest ocean, either of these cameras is a worthwhile choice, excluding cameras that need expensive waterproof casing.
|Fujifilm FinePix XP140||Nikon Coolpix W150|
|Image Stabilization||Sensor Shift||Digital|
We are quite surprised with the amount of features and quality which have been packed into this very robust and usable camera. The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 does exhibit edge softness at the widest focal length, but it’s still quite acceptable at this price point. Although the camera won’t be able to compete with a dedicated mirrorless camera and interchangeable lens, the image quality is still respectable.
Plus points in this area are the excellent color profiles and image filters, which are a common trait of Fuji cameras. Video quality is also reasonable, as long as you stick to the 1080p format and you don’t require too many advanced features.
Where this camera does excel is being a straightforward point-and-shoot camera that can produce good quality images without further processing. Therefore, it’s a good solution if you need quality above the average smartphone that can also be taken into very harsh environments.
One thing’s for sure with the Fujifilm FinePix XP140, is that this underwater camera provides excellent value for money, capturing stills and video equally well on land and underwater.