Holiday Snaps

Travelling with the Finepix XP120

So, you want spend your holiday snorkelling, swimming, strolling the beach and playing in, on and around the water? And you want to take photos, but you don’t want to lug around a lot of gear or worry about something happening to your precocious X or GFX cameras? This is the situation I found myself in before departing for two weeks to Hawaii with my wife. My solution was to bring along the very portable and waterproof XP120. In lime green!


I spend a lot of time around the water at home, including paddling surfski in BC’s coastal waters. I have often wanted to have a camera with me when paddling, however I haven’t been willing to risk any of my “good” cameras while in the boat. So the idea of owning a portable, waterproof camera has long held appeal. Our trip to Kauai and the Big Island provided me with the excuse to purchase the XP120.

The XP120 sports an internal, telephoto lens (28-140mm equivalent) and a 12 MB sensor. The lens isn’t the fastest (f/3.9-f/8), but since I was mostly shooting in bright sunlight, that was rarely an issue. For the low contrast, lower light underwater shots, switching the camera to underwater mode made a significant difference. Also, in the lower light evening and night shots, I simply placed the camera on a steady surface and let the XP120 fire away at 1/8 second or slower. To get the most out of this camera (all cameras?) be sure to read the manual. It’s amazing what you will learn!

The camera only produces JPEGs, but does shoot 1080p video. As the photos I was taking were intended to share with family and friends, the resulting images from the camera were more than adequate. I printed a handful of 5 x 7 prints from the files to put up on one wall of our house that needs a little colour and they turned out great. Some people might argue that my photography needs a lot more colour, but that’s a blog post for another day.

Initially, I missed some of the features, mostly around focusing and exposure compensation, that I rely upon on the X and GFX cameras. The small sensor doesn’t have the dynamic range of those cameras either, but it competes favourably with the newest smartphone cameras, plus it has an optical telephoto lens and IT’S WATERPROOF!

Given the WiFi capabilities of the XP120 (it works just like it’s X siblings), I was able to transfer photos to my iPad mini, edit in LR mobile and upload to a private Flickr account to share with a select few people. Since I took a complete break (boy, did that feel good!) from social media, I didn’t bother with Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Although that would have been a simple next step.

So was the XP120 a success on our trip? You bet. I would certainly take it again for any trip that will have me in and around the water. It was unbelievably cool to turn the camera on underwater, adjust settings and then shoot stills or video of the amazing fish swimming nearby. And, now I will also take it the next time I go paddling. Which might not be for a couple of months; the water here is a lot colder than the water in Hawaii!

Hau’oli Makahiki hou!

NB: All images captured with the Fujifilm Finepix XP120 (the lime green one!).

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