Photography / Hands-on Review

Tough and Friendly: The Fuji FinePix XP170 Digital Camera


The Fuji FinePix XP170 is the latest edition to Fuji’s “tough” line of point and shoots. These are called tough cameras because they can withstand outdoor conditions that other cameras balk at—and while the latest Fuji XP is indeed tough, it’s also friendly:  its most notable development is the ability to network socially. Swapping out the GPS function of the previous XP150 for wireless connectivity, the XP170 allows you to link the camera wirelessly to your smart phone or tablet, transfer the photos with the push of a button and send them out just seconds after taking them. Take photos rock climbing, snowboarding or snorkeling, immediately share those pictures with friends and family—then accidentally drop the camera overboard!  Wait! Well, in fact, that’s not a problem. Dive in after the camera, grab it before 30 feet, start searching for a signal on the way back to the surface and send those photos out too! Not that you would actually ever do that, but with the XP170 you could. This camera is waterproof to 33', shockproof to 6.5', freeze proof to 14° F and dust proof as well.

Let’s talk about this a little. Those specs mean that this is a camera you just don’t have to worry about. You can take it with you on vacation, throw it in your backpack or pocket and not be too concerned that it won’t work next time you grab it. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, it’s perfect. It fits easily into jacket pockets and has a reinforced glass shield over the lens with a water-repellent coating—water droplets and condensation won’t fog up your picture. If you’re a hiker or climber, it’s nice to know that dropping it won’t break it (the rubber bumper, shockproof construction and double-lock battery door  will prevent major damage) but, better, the anti-slip grip and easy-hold design should mean that you won’t drop it, even when shooting with one hand, a function that this camera makes very easy.  

Of course, this is the ideal beach camera. Dust proofing prevents damage from the sand and as mentioned, it’s waterproof to 33', so take it with you when you go for a swim and let the kids play with it in the pool. The anti-reflection LCD means no more twisting and angling because it’s too sunny to see your images. This is a great touch and it is also effective when viewing the LCD underwater. This is the perfect camera for photos of kids splashing in the surf or even when (if!) you make it to that surfing lesson.

Compared to the XP150 and previous Fuji tough cameras, the XP170 shares many specs, but its defining feature is its wireless capability. This too can be considered a “tough” component because wirelessly transferring images to your smart phone translates to less chance for damage—it eliminates the need to open up the camera and take out the memory card on the beach or the slopes. However, we all know that ease of instant communication is what we’re after here and the XP170 offers that. 

After you’ve installed the free Fujifilm Photo Receiver app on your Android smart phone, tablet, iPhone or iPad, connecting the camera to the phone is easy. Simply push the one dedicated button, conveniently located on the top of the camera, at the same time you send out the signal from your smart phone and, assuming good signal levels, your camera and phone will be synched immediately and you can begin choosing the photos you want to transfer. Once you’ve chosen the photos, sending them to your wireless device is also a one-button operation.  It’s really quite easy. You can even retouch, crop or creatively color your photos in-camera before you send.

As mentioned above, the XP170 has not changed many of its specs from the XP150. (Why mess with a good thing?) It still carries a high resolution 14.4MP CMOS sensor with a 5x optical zoom lens and 6.8x digital zoom. It still shoots Full HD Video, even underwater, and even at up to 240 fps slow motion if you like. And the Movie recording button is conveniently accessible near where your thumb rests on the back of the camera, just one push and you’re shooting videos. Shift image stabilization means that camera movements and shakiness will be compensated for, giving you sharp images even when you’re moving. 

In addition to these quality standards, the ISO sensitivity ranges up to 3200, which will help you get nice shots even in low-light situations, and the XP170 offers a nice touch: an LED light on the front of the camera, which can serve as just that, a light, but it can also be used as an alternative to the built-in flash which sometimes provides too much light. With that in mind, the Natural Light mode is a great feature that shoots the same scene twice simultaneously, first with flash and the second in a high sensitivity low-light mode, but without flash, allowing you to later choose which image works best for you.

The burst rate on this camera is pretty nice too, offering three levels: 3, 5 and 10 frames per second. With the ability to shoot 10 frames per second, you’ll never miss an action shot, which obviously fits well with its “tough” nature. Features that also serve well while on vacation include Motion Panorama 360 Mode, which allows for easy 360° shots and tracking autofocus, which keep moving subjects in focus until you’re ready to shoot.

High Dynamic Range and Pro Low-Light Mode are great for shots in tricky light, combining multiple takes of the same shot into one perfectly balanced photo. Face Detection for up to six faces and twenty Auto Scene Modes (three for underwater!) round out these great assistive features. There’s really no reason that anyone can’t take great shots with this simple, ultra-durable camera.  And, of course, then share them instantly!  

Effective Pixels 14.4MP
Image Sensor 1/2.3" CMOS
Storage Media SD, SDHC, SDHX
Internal memory 95MB
File Format JPEG, H.264 (MOV)
Resolutions 4320 x 3240, 3072 x 2304, 2048 x 1536, 4320 x 3072, 4320 x 2432, 3072 x 1728, 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratios 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Lens Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens
Focal length 5.0-25.0mm, equivalent to 28-140mm on 35mm camera
Full Aperture f/3.9-4.9
Constitution 13 elements, 11 groups
Digital zoom 6.8x
Aperture Wide: f/3.9 - 6.2 ~ Telephoto: f/4.9 - 8
Focus Distance: Normal Wide: 2.0' (60 cm) - infinity
Normal Tele: 3.3' (1.0 m) - infinity
Macro Wide: 3.5" (9.0 cm) - 2.6' (80 cm)
Macro Tele: 1.3' (40 cm) - 2.6' (80 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (Standard Output Sensitivity)
Exposure Control TTL 256-zones metering
Exposure Mode Programmed AE
Shooting Modes SR AUTO, AUTO, P, Pro low-light, Dynamic Range, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Underwater (Wide), Underwater (Macro), Party, Flower, Text, Motion Panorama360
Image Stabilizer CMOS shift type
Face Detection Yes
Exposure Compensation -2.0EV to +2.0EV, at 1/3 EV steps
Shutter Speed Auto Mode: 1/4 sec - 1/2000 sec
All other modes 4 sec - 1/2000 sec
Continuous Shooting

L: Max 12 frames at 3.0 fps

M: Max 12 frames at 5.0 fps

H: Max 12 frames at 10 fps

Focus Mode Single AF, continuous AF (SP Auto)
Focus Type TTL contrast AF
AF Frame Selection Center, Tracking
White balance Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent Light (Daylight), Fluorescent Light (Warm White), Fluorescent Light (Cool White), Incandescent Light 
Self-Timer 10 sec delay, 2.0 sec delay, Couple Timer, Group Timer
Flash Auto flash (i-flash)
Flash Range Normal Wide: 2.3' - 10.2' (70 cm - 3.1 m)
Normal Telephoto: 2.3' - 8.9 ' (70 cm-2.7 m)
Macro: 1.0' - 2.6' (30 cm - 80 cm)
Flash Modes Red-eye Removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro
Red-eye Removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction and Slow Synchro
Hot shoe No
LCD 2.7"
230,000 pixels
TFT color
96% coverage
Movie Recording 1920 x 1080 pixels
1280 x 720 pixels
640 x 480 pixels
30 fps with monaural sound
(Zoom function can be used when recording)
Photography Functions SR AUTO, Face Detection, Auto Red-eye Removal, Framing Guide, Automatic LCD Brightness Adjustment, Frame No. Memory, Motion Panorama360, High Speed Movie(80 / 160 / 240 fps), Date Stamp
Playback Functions Face Detection, Photobook Assist, Image Search, Erase Selected Frames, Slide Show, Auto Red-eye Removal, Protect, Crop, Resize, Image Rotate, Mark for Upload, Multi-Frame Playback (with micro thumbnail), Favorite, Panorama, Movie Edit, Connect to Smartphone
Other Functions PictBridge, Exif Print, 35 Languages Selection, Time Difference, Silent mode
Dustproof IP6X
Waterproof IPX8 - up to 33' (10 m), within 120 min
Anti-shock Method, MIL-STD-810F-516.5 Fuji's Standard: 6.5' (2.0 m)
Video Output NTSC/PAL selectable
Digital Interface USB 2.0
HDMI output HDMI micro connector
Power Supply Li-ion Battery NP-50A (included)
Dimensions 4.0 x 2.8 x 1.0" (10.3 x 7.1 x 2.7 cm)
Weight 7.2oz. (205 g) including battery and memory card
Operating Temperature 14°- 104° F (-10° to 40° C)
Operating Humidity 10 - 80% (no condensation)

Items discussed in article


I own the XP150 (=100 with GPS) camera. I used the camera during one holiday. The camera is not as good as the advertising of Fuji suggests. The Camera was designed for versatile use as climbing, skiing, mountain biking and diving. My camera lasted less than one holiday . When using it in the city, I handled the camera  apparently too rough: I did lose the rubber bottom rubber of the camera. Fuji service centre found out that the tiny screws that secure the 'bumper' were torn off ​​. It is a complete  mystery to me how this could happen. One thing is clear to me: The construction of the bumper / the way it is attached to the body is wrong. Therefore the camera  is not as robust as suggested by far. Fuji

What I really mind is the service of Fuji. Repair / assembly of a new 'bumper' costs more than 125 euros. And when I asked them if it was possible for me to order a bumper, so I could do the repair myself the answer was clear: NO
Note: I paid 100 euro’s for the camera in the shop.

My conclusion:
- Camera is not really robust camera
- The service of Fuji is not very good ;-(

would this camera be suitable for shooting the aurora boriallis in the actic in Feb? If not, do you have an inexpensive camera that would work. Thanks

It is a waterproof camera, but the operating humidity range says 10 - 80% non-condensing? That makes no sense to me!!