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Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Fujifilm FinePix XP20, a budget digital camera that is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof.

|  Fujifilm FinePix XP20 in Compact Cameras
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1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100
Front angled

The Fujifilm FinePix XP20 was released in January 2011 at the same time as the XP30, which is identical to the XP20 except it has GPS and is an upgrade to the XP10. The XP20 is available in black and blue for around £120.

1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Features

The XP20 has a 14.2 megapixel sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 140mm. To help take images with as little blur as possible there is CCD Shift Image Stabilisation and ISO up to 3200. The camera is waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to –10°C.

Motion Panorama mode makes it easy to shoot panoramic images, similar to Sony's method, you just press the shutter and sweep the camera in the correct direction. The camera then stitches the images together to create your panoramic image.

In SR auto the camera automatically selects the correct settings based upon siz scenes including Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait and Backlit Portrait. Other scene modes which can be selected by the user are Program, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, Portrait Enhancer, Sport, Snow, Sunset, Night (Tripod), Beach, Underwater, Underwater (Wide), Underwater (Macro), Party, Flower and Text.

The XP20 is also armed with a range of features for taking pictures of people. Face Detection, recognising up to six faces,  optimises peoples faced by automatically adjusting focus and exposure. Red-eye removal will also remove red-eye when detected.

Face Detection optimizes people pictures by identifying faces and adjusting focus and exposure to ensure bright, clear results. To take an automatic group shot there is Face Detection Timer Function which automatically releases the shutter when number and position of faces in a scene are detected. If there is just the two of you then there is Couple Timer, where you can select from Near, Close Up and Super Close.

Other features include One Touch Underwater Movie Recording, Tracking Auto Focus, Tagging Technology, Favorites Rank and easy uploading to Youtube & Facebook via MyFinePix Studio.

Videos can be recorded at 720p HD and 640 x 480 at 30 fps with the use of optical zoom.
1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100

Key Features

  • 14.2 megapixel resolution
  • 5x wide optical zoom covering 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
  • CCD shift image stabilisation
  • Waterproof to 5 metres
  • Shockproof up to 1.5 metres
  • Freezeproof to –10°C
  • Dust/Sandproof
  • Motion Panorama
  • Available in 2 colours: Black and Blue
  • 2.7 inch rear LCD with 230,000 pixels
1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Handling

The XP20 has an unusual design as it is not rectangular like many compact cameras and it is quite tricky to stand the camera on its bottom, although it is possible to stand it on one of its ends as well. The buttons are generally easy to press except for the on/off button, it is a pain. You have to give it a really firm press and normally took two or three goes. The camera is very much made of plastic and doesn't feel as tough as other cameras such as the Olympus Tough TG-610 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3, which have more of a metal construction. Beginners to photography will have no problems navigating the XP20's menu system.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 200 shots which is fairly good, although it may struggle to last a full day of shooting. Once you get the camera to switch on it is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds. The camera is a little sluggish at focusing and has a modest continuous shooting rate of just 0.8 fps.
1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Performance

Images taken by the XP are generally well exposed with good colour reproduction and not much signs of purple fringing. The images are let down by the amount of detail in the images. Macro images are good and the camera is able to focus closer than the 9cm stated by Fuji, but detail is lacking when shooting wide and even worse when using the lens at its longest.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Lens test images

Even at ISO 100 noise is clearly affecting image quality. It steadily worses through ISO 200 and ISO 400, with ISO 800 producing the kind of images you are only going to use for sharing on the web. Noise is terrible at ISO 1600 and it's amazing that Fujifilm included ISO 3200 as the images are awful even when viewed small.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 ISO test images

Below are example images using some of the scene modes available. In sunny conditions the camera takes a very pleasant landscape shot, with superb blues and greens. The camera also takes good portrait shots and although there is some red-eye, it is quite dark.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Scene modes

Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/6.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/6.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100

Under our incandescent lighting in the studio the auto white-balance gives a slight magenta cast in the image, with the incandescent preset producing the better image. When switching to the fluorescent lights, the AWB performs much better than any of the fluorescent presets.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 White-balance test images

As well as Standard, the XP20 can shoot pictures using Chrome, Sepia and Black and White filters.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Digital filters

Video Mode

Videos can be shot at 720p HD and 640 x 320 VGA, both at 30 fps. Optical zoom is available during recording, an example can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The XP20 is one of the cheapest waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof compact digital cameras on the market. The XP30 is more commonly available, and only costs around an extra £10 and has GPS.

Waterproof Shockproof Freezeproof Price
Fujifilm FinePix XP10 3m 1m -10°C £108.99
Fujifilm FinePix XP20 5m 1.5m -10°C £119.99
Olympus Tough TG-310 3m 1.5m -10°C £128.99
Fujifilm FinePix XP30 5m 1.5m -10°C £128.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10 3m 1.5m -10°C £149.99
Ricoh PX 3m 1.5m n/a £159.95
Olympus Tough TG-610 5m 1.5m -10°C £188.00
Canon PowerShot D10 10m 1.2m -10°C £214.99
Olympus Tough TG-810 10m 2m -10°C £224.99
Pentax Optio WG-1 (GPS) 10m 1.5m -10°C £208.99 (£228.99)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 10m 2m -10°C £248.99
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 5m 1.5m -10°C £294.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 12m 2m -10°C £298.99
Ricoh G700 5m 2m -10°C £449.00
Ricoh G700SE 5m 2m -10°C £649.00

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Verdict

If you are on a budget but want a camera that is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, the XP20 ticks the box. You can spend a little more and get the XP30 which has GPS. The camera isn't going to win any prizes for image quality, and if this is important to you then look elsewhere. But for your money, the XP20 offers images with good colour reproduction which are going to look great on Facebook and Flickr, as long as they haven't been taken using ISO 3200.

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Pros

Good colour reproduction
Good value for money

Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Cons

Difficult to switch on
Poor noise performance
Detail in images isn't good


Fujifilm FinePix XP20 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.9 - f/4.9
35mm equivalent28mm - 140mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels14.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4320
Pixels (H)3240
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus9cm
Focusing modes
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting0.8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30 fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-45A rechargeable battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery NP-45A, Charger BC45B, USB cable, Hand strap, Manual booklet, Warranty card, CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix XP20

Tire TowerFallsPacific, Long BeachPlaying at Long Beach.bell shape flower

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24 Aug 2011 2:05PM
Another stupid-looking camera from Fuji. Cannot understand why Fuji spends so much resources developing cameras that look really queer, in this case, like a bar of soap. Come on who wants to buy this ? Probably only attracts toddlers under age of two. Looks nice to bite, to ease teething blues!

With 1/2.3" sensor, why on earth is there a need to cram 14MP into it and destroy the image quality? go back to basics, the F31 had a 6MP sensor of size 1/1.6". Why not improve on that sensor without increasing the pixel density ?

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