The Fujifilm FinePix XP90 waterproof adventure camera is a new update to its rugged XP line — it replaces the Fujifilm XP80, which we took fly fishing and playing on rivers and lakes. That experience proved that the XP80 is one of the best overall values you can find in a rugged waterproof camera, and the XP90 is no exception.
So what’s the update all about?
The XP90 gains a slightly larger 3-inch and sharper 920,000 dot LCD rear screen display (the predecessor was a 2.7-inch 460,000 dot screen).
Why does this matter? When it comes to photo and video quality, the XP90 will shoot the same photos and video as the XP80 — all the camera’s internals, including the lens, are the same. The newer screen, it turns out, will give you a very slight advantage when it comes time to frame your shots. Sometimes in bright sunlight it’s hard to tell if your subject is in focus, and a sharper screen might alert you that something is amiss before you start taking video. Still, that’s a minor point.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP90 Feature Review
The 16.4 megapixel Fujifilm FinePix XP90 is waterproof down to 50 feet, dustproof, shockproof from drops from 5.8 feet, and freezeproof down to 14-degrees fahrenheit. It uses a 28mm wide angle lens with a 5x optical zoom and optical image stabilization.
For photos and video, it covers all the basics, letting you fire off 10 frames-per-second bursts at full resolution. Plus it records Full HD 1080p video at 60 fames per second (fps). The XP90 has an interval timer for timelapse photography — which is cool when you hit the beach with your family and set it up to take a photo every 60 seconds. In twenty minutes, you’ll have a bunch of great photos . . . where you’re in the picture, too, instead of behind the camera.
For video, the XP90 includes a handy Wind Filter setting that reduces wind noise.
With the free Fujifilm Camera Remote app, you can use the built-in wireless functionality to remotely control the XP90 — even to zoom in. The wireless feature also lets you wirelessly transfer your photos to smartphones, tablets, or computers.
As you might expect, the XP90 comes with 11 artsy filter options, like sketch for line-drawing-like photos, color pop, and soft focus. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature captures two images to help you keep detail with two exposures — for example, to give you one photo that keeps the details in bright white clouds while also showing details in dark shadows. It works pretty well.
No GPS in the XP90?
What the XP90 does not have is a built-in GPS chip that tags your photos with location data and provides you with GPS coordinates and a compass. Frankly, most rugged adventure camera owners aren’t worried about this feature — they just want to get photos and video when they’re outside playing in wet or dirty conditions. (Personally, this feature is low on my list of must-haves, but if you want built-in GPS, I would point you toward the Olympus TG-870 instead.)
The FinePix XP90 Value Proposition
All of this brings us to the conclusion, which is that the Fujifilm XP90 is one of the best overall values available in a rugged waterproof camera that you can take snorkeling or submerge at the waterpark. The controls are easy to use, startup is snappy, and the overall quality is close to the best waterproof cameras in this class that cost well over a hundred dollars more. If you’re on a budget, the XP90 provides the best overall rugged camera value going today. In our usage, it was a pleasant surprise. It’s easy to recommend — and don’t hesitate to snag the predecessor XP80 as supplies dwindle and the price drops. Oh, one more thing: Because you can shoot 1080p video at 60 fps, be sure to get a high-quality, fast SD card that can keep up with the image data as it writes to your card — I recommend the SanDisk Extreme Pro series for the great cost-to-value ratio.