Underwater with the Fujifilm Finepix XP90

June 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

http://leighmiller.zenfolio.com I recently spent some time on the island of Bonaire with the new Fuji XP90 camera. I've previously reviewed the XP80 last year [XP80] but that time it was strictly stills. As a general point and shoot camera it works really well and it's small enough to fit into pockets, bags or purses with no trouble at all. Part of the reason I liked it was the sealed and rugged construction. It's a camera you can take anywhere without worrying about sand, water and all the other gunk that can find it's way into a camera.

I recently spent some time on the island of Bonaire with the new Fuji XP90 camera. I've previously reviewed the XP80 last year [XP80] but that time it was strictly stills. As a general point and shoot camera it works really well and it's small enough to fit into pockets, bags or purses with no trouble at all. Part of the reason I liked it was the sealed and rugged construction. It's a camera you can take anywhere without worrying about sand, water and all the other gunk that can find it's way into a camera.

The Testing Conditions

My test subject has lot's of experience snorkelling but hasn't done any underwater stills or video so I was curious to see how long it would take to become familiar with the camera functions and it's operation in the water. To take guesswork out of the equation the camera was set to SR Auto mode. In this configuration it will judge the shooting conditions and determine exposure, color/contrast etc. I also selected Continuous Auto Focus as I was curious how that would work in moderate lighting underwater. The video was the standard 1920X1080 at 30fps.

The water itself wasn't the calmest and though it was a hot, mostly sunny day the waves moved the swimmer around a bit as you can see from the video. If you have ever attempted this yourself, you know it takes a bit of practice to keep your bearings as the water shifts your position with each wave.

Summary

For the money the XP90 delivered more than I expected. The footage was pretty good and only required minor adjustments in post processing to shift the white balance and add a little contrast. I didn't need to sharpen it at all...and frankly I'm not sure it would hold up to much of that anyway. The continuous auto focusing worked really well. In the instances when it lost focus, the camera only required a second or two to reacquire it. You can of course get more consistent results by setting the focus manually. The water depth was about 5 to 6ft and somewhere around 30ft off-shore. It's rated for much deeper water but I didn't push it.

The significance of the XP90 is that just about anyone with reasonably good swimming skills can capture underwater photos and videos on vacation without a pricey investment. This camera sells for somewhere around $240 and comes ready to use. Just add a memory card. By comparison the last camera I used for underwater shooting was an Olympus O-MD E-M1 and the housing costs upwards of $1400 big ones... I don't know of any average consumer that buys one of those when they plan to spend a week in the Carribean. 


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