Fujifilm FinePix XP170 Overview
Are you the kind of person who hates to be tied to a desk? Do you think your camera should have just as much freedom from the cord as you do? Well, then the Fuji FinePix XP170 might be for you. Crowned with shockproof bumpers and a rubber grip, its rugged body can accompany you pretty-much anywhere you go, and it allows cable-free sharing of your photos and video direct from the camera.
The Fujifilm XP170 offers what its manufacturer refers to as Four-Way Protection. This consists of waterproofing to 33 feet (10 meters), dustproofing, shockproofing against a 6.5 foot (two meter) fall, and freezeproofing to as low as 14°F (-10°C). The water and dustproofing combine to merit the IEC60529 IP68 rating, while the shockproofing meets MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5.
Inside, the Fuji XP170 is based around a 14 megapixel CMOS image sensor that yields sensitivities from ISO 100 to 3,200 equivalents at full resolution. Burst shooting is possible at three, five, or a swift ten frames per second, although we don't yet know whether this is at full resolution, nor what the burst depth is at each speed.
On the front panel is a FUJINON-branded 5x optical zoom lens with a useful 28mm wide angle and a moderate 140mm telephoto. Unfortunately, the maximum aperture is rather dim, varying from f/3.9 to f/4.9 across the zoom range. (It's also a two-step aperture, and so most exposure control must be handled with shutter speed and ISO sensitivity.) On the plus side, the lens sits safe behind a reinforced glass barrier with a water-repellent coating, contributing to the camera's overall shoot-anywhere design. There's also a sensor-shift type image stabilization system, which should make it easier to get blur-free photos in less-than-ideal light. The contrast-detection autofocus system includes a tracking function locked automatically when the shutter button is half-pressed.
There are a couple of other external features of note. On the rear panel is a slightly smaller-than-average 2.7-inch LCD panel, which also has rather low resolution at just 230,000 dots. With manufacturer-rated 96% coverage, it's also just a little tight. Fujifilm does note, however, that it is brighter and easier to see in direct sunlight or underwater. There's also a seven-mode flash strobe with red-eye reduction and slow-sync features, and an LED lamp for autofocus assist.
The XP170 offers four main exposure modes: Auto, Program, Scene Recognition Auto, and 20 scene modes, three of them for underwater use. The SR Auto mode recognizes and automatically selects settings appropriate to one of six common scene types: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait, and Backlit Portrait.
Among the scene modes are several less common choices. A 360° Motion Panorama Mode seen previously in F600EXR and Z950EXR can automatically capture and stitch together several photos to create a full 360-degree panorama as you sweep your camera across a scene. Another mode called Pro Low-light captures four high ISO exposures, and then stacks them to create a single image with reduced noise levels. Dynamic Range mode is similar, but varies exposure between frames and merges the result into a single high dynamic range image. The Natural Light & with Flash mode captures each shot twice, once with flash and once with higher sensitivity and natural light only; you can then choose one or keep both.
Perhaps the most unusual feature, though, is related to the Face Detection technology, which is now able to locate up to 6 faces simultaneously. As well as the fairly common red-eye correction, it can also be set to capture a photo automatically based on face detection. That in itself isn't unusual, but the implementation is. You can specify the number of faces that must be recognized before the shutter is tripped, up to a maximum of four faces. Also for couple photos, you can choose how close together those faces should be (near, close, or super-close).
As well as still images, the FinePix XP170 can capture Full HD movies; that's 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, at 30 frames per second. Alternate resolutions include 720p (1,280 x 720) and VGA (640 x 480). These are recorded with monaural sound using H.264 compression, and saved in a .MOV file. There's a dedicated Movie record button, and it's possible to record movies underwater with a One-Touch mode that configures the camera appropriately. There are also several high-speed movie modes that operate at greatly reduced resolution. If you drop to standard-def VGA (640 x 480 pixels), you can record at 80 frames per second. Reduce the resolution further to just QVGA (320 x 240), and you'll gain access to 160fps and 240 fps modes. The maximum clip length for movies is a two gigabyte file or 29 minutes of capture time, whichever is reached first.
The XP170 includes a generous range of connectivity options: both standard-definition composite and high-definition Micro HDMI video outputs, a USB 2.0 High Speed data connection, and built-in wireless networking. This last allows users to transfer images and videos wirelessly to any Android smartphone or tablet, or Apple's popular iPhone and iPad devices. From there, you can upload images to the Internet for use on social networking sites, etc. This requires a free application called "FUJIFILM Photo Receiver" be installed on the phone or tablet. Before upload, you can edit photos (aspect, crop, sepia, color, contrast, brightness, face mosaic) and trim / join movies in-camera. Once you're done, you press the XP170's dedicated connect button to connect to the remote device. This feature was first seen on the FinePix Z1000EXR and Z1010EXR, announced earlier this year. As well as sharing photos online, you can also create photobook folders in-camera, then order photobooks online with the MyFinePix Studio app on your computer, or place an order in some retail stores. For those photographers who view their photos on a TV frequently, an optional HD Player accessory kit includes a wireless remote control, which may be a worthwhile purchase. Note that the HDMI cable itself is also an optional extra.
The Fuji XP170 stores data in 95MB of built-in memory, or on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary NP-50A rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, said to be good for up to 300 shots on a charge. Interestingly, the battery compartment has a double-locked design to prevent users accidentally opening the camera underwater.
Pricing for the Fujifilm FinePix XP170 is set at around US$280, with availability from June 2012. Two body colors will be available: blue and orange. Another optional accessory is a kit containing an adjustable float strap, protective silicone skin and a neoprene sports case. This will be available at the same time as the camera itself, with no set price.