Review: Fujifilm XP70 waterproof camera in Turks & Caicos

“Where did he go?” I asked the boat captain, as I peered at an empty expanse of turquoise water. There’s nothing quite as heart-stopping as losing sight of your 9-year-old grandson in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

“There he is. Look. See his fins?” he answered, pointing to a pair of flippers disappearing under the water’s surface. “It looks like he’s removed his lifebelt and is free diving.”

pristine cays with Big Blue Unlimited

Where did everybody go? Exploring pristine cays with Big Blue Unlimited in Turks and Caicos

Moored off Fort George Cay  I was participating in a snorkelling excursion with Big Blue Unlimited an eco-adventure operator based on  the island of Providenciales.  Thinking I’d be able to watch my grandson better from the boat rather than with my head in the water,  I hadn’t really anticipated that  both he and Jason the dive instructor would disappear from sight. Although the water was about as deep as our local swimming pool in Toronto,  I watched, my heart suspended in anxiety, until a few minutes later, he rose to the surface  with Jason right beside him.

“I got it,” he shouted, waving the camera in the air. “A perfect photo of a pufferfish!”

I breathed a sigh of relief and waved encouragingly back.

Home to the world’s third largest barrier reef with more than 300 species of fish and 60 species of coral, the Turks and Caicos is an underwater photographer’s paradise. It’s a natural place to test an underwater camera. So, when I received a magazine assignment to write about the islands, who better to accompany me and take photos than the best swimmer in the family? So my grandson and I headed to the island of Providenciales for a week of eco-adventure.

Here’s what we learned about the Fujifilm FinePix XP70 Waterproof camera:

Learning how to use the Fujifilm XP70 at Ocean Club West at Grace Bay Beach

Learning how to use the Fujifilm XP70 at Ocean Club West at Grace Bay Beach

1. The FinePix XP70 is very easy to use. My grandson didn’t consult the instructions but instead headed out into the clear waters  in front of our condo at Ocean Club West Resort on Grace Bay Beach  to test out the 13 different modes. The FinePix XP70 offers panoramic option that worked really well even in low light conditions. The  modes we used most frequently were Underwater, Sunset, Sport, Beach and Party ( just for the fun of it)

2. The FinePix XP70 is known as an all-season camera as it’s waterproof ( to 33 feet), freeze proof, dustproof and shockproof. The dustrproof quality turned out to be more important than I’d originally expected as it kept sand out of the battery and memory card slot. In fact it was so well sealed it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to open the camera. When in doubt, ask a  9-year old for help.

Ready to snorkel in Turks and Caicos

Ready to snorkel off Fort George Cay in Turks and Caicos Islands

3. FinePix XP70 is available in yellow, blue and orange. I chose  a cheery yellow so it would be easier to find if it fell into the ocean by accident –sort of similar to my reasoning that one should wear a red bathing suit if you can’t swim. It’s easier for people to find you when you’re drowning.  FujiFilm Canada had lent us the camera and I didn’t want to have to report we’d lost it in a coral reef.

 

Underwater photo in Turks and Caicos taken with Fujifilm XP70

My 9-year old photographer – photo taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP70

4. The FinePix XP70 has two underwater modes, under water and underwater macro, and it was easy to switch between them even while swimming.

Underwater Underwater photo in Turks and Caicos taken with Fujifilm XP70

This camera makes it look as though I can swim

5. The Fujifilm FinePix XP70 viewfinder screen was easy to see without glare or condensation.

Underwater  photo with Fujifilm xp70

First fish photo in Turks and Caicos

6. Shutter speed was fast enough to be able to catch a photo of a fast-moving fish without shifting shooting modes.

7. Fujifilm FinePix XP70 comes with wireless image transfer which sounds handy but we didn’t use it so I can’t report on how it functioned. I just transferred the images to my MacBook Pro  via the SD memory card.

Provo Ponies in Providenciales

Don’t worry about dropping the camera in the water at Provo Ponies

8. The Fujifilm XP70’s 16.4 Megapixels delivered magazine-quality images with up to 4608 x 3456 pixels resolution both in and out of water.

Horse underwater taken with Fujifilm XP70

Count on a 9-year old to take unconventional underwater shots

Summary: 

  • The Fujifilm FinePix XP70 is one tough camera. It weathered sand, sun, water and bumps without a problem.
  •  It’s easy and intuitive to use
  • At $199.00 retail at Best Buy, it seems a very good deal. It delivers excellent quality images out of the water as well as under water so could easily serve as an all-purpose camera.
  • The FinePix XP70 would suit beginners and intermediate photographers looking for a versatile and hardy “point and shoot”.
  • Unlike my Nikon D90 DSLR that’s so heavy it often feels like a ball and chain around my neck, the small size of the FinePix XP70 makes it easy to slip into a pocket, purse or backpack.
  • The FinePix XP70 also fits easily in a small kid’s hand and that combined with its intuitive shooting modes makes it a very good camera for young children.
  • The only caution is that the Fujifilm FinePix XP70 is such a fun camera to use, you might find yourself wishing as I did that the hand strap was long enough to tether an enthusiastic 9-year old photographer a little closer to the boat.

 

Snorkelling with Big Blue Unlimited

Got camera? Ready to go snorkelling with Big Blue Unlimited

Disclosure: Fujifilm Canada lent us a FinePix XP70 camera to use and review during this trip. As always, opinions on the camera are completely my own. I suspect I’ll be buying one of these cameras for my grandson for Christmas.

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Showing 22 comments
  • Lesley Peterson
    Reply

    The photos you show as taken underwater with the Fujifilm XP70 are much better/clearer than the ones my husband has been able to get with the two shatterproof/waterproof cameras he bought at nearly double the price. I’m not a snorkeler or freediver but have damaged a couple of cameras with beach sand and saltwater spray while riding on boats. The FinePix XP70 looks an exceptional value, judging by the picture quality and famous Fuji color.

  • esperanza
    Reply

    Trust a kid to fearlessly figure out how to work this type of camera and immediately leap into the ocean to try it out! Good shots, intrepid smarty!!

  • Heather
    Reply

    Wow I wish I could take pics that realistic, the colors in the sunset shot are stunning!

  • noel
    Reply

    That looks like the perfect type of camera that is almost fool proof for anyone to use and maybe even be a little reckless with, great review.

  • Patti
    Reply

    That sunset photo is beautiful – and it looks as if your trial of the camera gave your grandson the perfect opportunity to have some fun!

  • Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    Reply

    Your grandson is adorable! I’d love to have him around for tech support AND entertainment! Great photos; we had guests recently who had a GoPro and this looks much easier.

  • The GypsyNesters
    Reply

    The camera seems to do a very good job, and how cool is that shot of the horses under water? Extremely.

  • Lisa Chavis
    Reply

    I love that you brought your grandson along! He took some amazing shots for a 9 year old – I think you might have an aspiring travel photographer in the family 🙂 We’re always looking for new gear and the Fujifilm FinePix XP70 is now on the Christmas list for sure!

  • sarah
    Reply

    I’ve been considering picking up this camera as a handier backup to our DSLR. We did have a GoPro but it left us in Mexico and we’re reluctant to invest in another. Did you use this camera for video at all?

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      No I didn’t use it for video but I have a friend who used it for video and she created some stunning footage.

  • Suzanne Stavert
    Reply

    You did a great job sharing the benefits of this camera. Your grandson is precious and Turks and Caicos is gorgeous!

  • alison @GreenWithRenvy
    Reply

    What a great trip to be able to enjoy with your grandson! No better tester for a camera like that than someone who will give it a good, hard core workout. Sounds like a good investment if you’re in the market.

  • Wandering Carol
    Reply

    You’re too young to have a grandson. But how handy to have a techie in the family. Fun pics.

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    Great post; great model (the kid); great beta-tester—and sounds like a great camera!

  • Linda ~ Journey Jottings
    Reply

    I love underwater cameras and this one looks a ripper!
    Particularly great for activities just when you’re near water… not necessarily in it 😉

  • Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    Reply

    We are diehard Panasonic Lumix fans and love their little cameras that fit right in our pockets. For a point-and-shoot camera we’ve been very happy with the quality of photos for these workhorses. However, we’ve been thinking about getting a small waterproof camera so your review came in handy, plus we certainly can’t argue with the quality of the photos!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Great to meet another Panasonic Lumix fan! I’ve got a little DMC ZS10 and have been really happy with the photos too. I think you’d like the Fuji as a waterproof option as it’s a similar size.

  • Sue Campbell
    Reply

    I recommended that camera to Michelle and I have captured excellent videos with it as well, stingray city, baby sea turtles… I adore it, I bought my daughter one as well and big it is rugged! I do a lot of travel writing in the tropics and it is greta not ever having to worry about it getting it wet and always having it on hand for underwater sightings of marine life.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Yes, thanks so much for the recommendation and contacts. Now, if I could just learn to snorkel as well as you do Mermaid Sue!

  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    Great pictures from this little point and shoot and the price point is terrific. Only one question where’s the picture of the puffer fish? 😉

  • Michelle
    Reply

    This looks like so much fun! I have never taken a photo underwater, but the Fujifilm XP70 looks like a winner. Thank you for the review!

  • Paper Boat Sailor
    Reply

    Oh I’ve been meaning to buy a good underwater camera, and this one sounds just perfect. My partner loves snorkeling but always gets a little carried away and veers off to places where I can’t spot him anymore. But those days are numbered, ha!

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