Operator Error ? Sad people only write reviews when they have bad experiences.
(Clarence B. — 11/13/2010)
I've had the xp 10 for about 3 months. I got it USED from a friend, a General Contractor, so you can imagine what condition it is in after bouncing around on the dash of his truck going from job to job for a year before I got it. It looks totally beat to death, he never had any problems with it AND I can testify that this camera takes SENSATIONAL QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHS !
I was amazed considering its physical condition and previous owners use of it in construction debris. I wanted to have it for a cruise we're taking and wanted to have it for the Underwater capability when we go snorkeling. We have several digital cameras in our family of various brands Sony, Canon, Nikon all of which are current models and retail for more than the XP10 as well as a Vivitar which is a little less $. We've also had a few models that were retired from drops, loss and thefts. I wanted to get to know the XP10 before our cruise because I'm an avid photographer and work quickly expecting quality. I hate wasting my day trying to figure out camera setups. I've taken the XP10 on photo outings about 20 times. Here is what I can tell you so far...
I am flat out blown away by the quality of the photos from this beat up POS looking thing! The subtle tones and shadings in the landscape and on individual blades of grass are better than I've gotten from any of the other cameras. I'm amazed at the detail. It has a good Optical Zoom range of 5x most other cameras are into the grainy digital zoom range by the time they reach that magnitude.
I like the menus I find them fast, intuitive, easy to see and use. I Have NO IDEA What you people are talking about for battery Life! I go for a week or two using it daily without a recharge. It delivers better battery life than any of the other cameras we have, and a meter that tells you what you have left.
Plus you can buy NEW batteries for the XP10 on Ebay for as little as 3.00 I've forked over $20 or more for extras for the other cameras. I also find that the chargers, batteries and cables are all interchangeable with the Nikon Stuff we have. Speaking of E-bay, I sell a lot on E-bay, this camera has a special feature just for ebay where it takes 4 photos and combines them into a photo collage of just one photo, so you can upload just 1 picture to your e-bay auction descriptions instead of 4. This saves .45 cents on every auction listing and I run at least 100 listings a month, the camera paid for itself the 1st month I used it just through the savings in ebay listing fees.
The XP10 has several very nice portrait modes so it will automatically take 1 with flash and 1 without so you can choose to keep from the best result, also settings for soft light portraits and smoothing skin so your wife and mom don't look like train wrecks in family photos! Laughs The FULL AUTO complete idiot mode is the best of any of our cameras. It makes the right decisions and figures out the settings FAST! Point it around the living room at night it and watch the display. It quickly switches flash on, off, portrait, incandescent, florescent, to night scene when you point it to the window. Choosing just the right mode for every scene in the room. Very Impressive!
As with anything it has its foibles. Maybe so many complaining here wouldn't be if they read their manual. I can see some idiot returning it because it doesn't turn on. Charge the battery before you put it in the camera, duh, they ship discharged for safety. The XP10 also has prevention for accidental ON by a built in power on delay of 2 seconds when you press the ON button. I kind of hated that at 1st but found it doesn't really slow me down, if you just remember to press the power button and hold it when you pick the camera up its ready to take the picture by the time you get the camera up to eye level. Now that I've gotten used to it I like it better than the other cameras that turn on in your pocket while your belted in driving or in the wife's purse or the kids backpack, the feature prevents battery waste and what would ordinarily cause lens damage in other cameras, lens damage being the most common cause of failures in point and shoot cameras.
Speaking of which, being it is a camera with underwater capacity, it has a fixed glass lens on the front of the camera to prevent water from entering the body and the optical lens moves behind it inside the camera. All other cameras have a mechanical door that opens up which covers the lens and keeps the front of the lens element free from smudges and dust. I WOULD BET ALL of these people who complain about the XP10's poor image quality, don't realize this and never clean the glass lens on the front. It’s something you have to pay attention to with this underwater capable camera. You have to keep a tissue around and make sure the lens isn't smeared with the mayo from your sandwich.
On this note you have to be thoughtful to shield the front of the camera lens from glare when you take photo's directly into the sun, as the sunlight has to pass through the watertight protective lens on the front of the camera and then the optical lens inside. To eliminate lens flare it’s easy to just hold your other hand above the camera to prevent the sun from falling directly onto the lens. A good photographer should do that anyway regardless, so I don't see that as much of a detriment. Plus photos taken into the sun are something to avoid anyway, a good photographer always tries to keep the sun at his back or side except for sunsets.
As far as those complaining about the flash not working goes. The XP10 has about 15 auto shooting modes and flash is only available on 3 of those auto scene modes. I think that's where the complaints are coming from. It’s not that the flash doesn't work, it’s that you can't Force Flash in 12 of the 15 Auto Scene modes. So if you are shooting a landscape while standing in the shade and the background is in full sun and you want to use flash to brighten up the foreground with some Fill Flash it’s not gunna happen in Landscape or Auto Scene Selection shooting mode.
You just have to OverRide that by flipping over to Program Mode, where Force Flash is Always Available to shoot a landscape or other scene with fill flash in the foreground. On the topic of flash it’s the only thing I really don't like so far, Its good in that the camera has a strong flash that can really brighten up a scene or large area, but the flash is Too Hot for fill or extra lighting when taking detailed macro shots less than arm’s length away. This is the only situation when the XP10 slows me down, You have to flip to setup and adjust the exposure compensation manually if you use flash in a macro shot close to your subject.
The other common complaint I read is the buttons cover wearing out, again it’s an underwater camera, so there has to be a flexible membrane over the buttons to keep it watertight. Naturally that sort of a button isn't as positive to the touch as a conventional camera, I think the camera would do ok if the ladies would not use their fingernails to stab the membrane covering the buttons and if people could remember that nothing is indestructible, using it for a shovel and grinding sandy fingers into the buttons on the beach will take its toll.
A comment about the battery door being flimsy and too easy to open made me laugh. It’s the only camera I've had that has a recessed lock on the battery door, which has to be held to the side as you slide and pivot the battery door to open it. It takes two hands and a fingernail to do it. There is simply no way that door would open by accident. Someone didn't snap it shut before they jumped overboard.
One important thing to pay attention to; is that due to the XP10's versatility on accepting such a variety of aftermarket generic batteries and batteries from other brands in various shapes is that The battery slot is Not Keyed. So it is possible to reverse polarity on the battery VERY EASILY. Fuji didn't label the positive and negative side of the battery compartment. Duh! I think it is why so many people DOA this camera and or kill it in a very short time, is that they just put the battery in backwards and short the circuit, the camera has a small current reserve internally to maintain all of your settings when the main battery is removed. Put a fully charged battery in the camera backwards and you short the circuit.
The OEM FUJI batteries have an ORANGE STRIPE ON ONE SIDE, THAT IS THE POSITIVE SIDE. The Battery Lock is also Orange. The Positive Side of the battery compartment is the side of the compartment which has the Orange Lock. I have NO IDEA why Fuji just assumed that the average knucklehead user is just going to have the aptitude to figure out that the side of the battery with the Orange Stripe has to go in facing the Orange Latch. Aftermarket batteries and batteries from other cameras which work in the XP10 aren’t marked like that.
Why would a manufacturer just assume that someone would actually read the manual or assume that an Orange stripe on a battery would mean Positive or have any significance at all in the minds of most people? I think it’s the simple reason why so many of these cameras fail. Engineers are so smart and focused on what they are doing they don't consider that most end users of an electronic device are pretty dumb.
One thing I find to be better than any other Point and Shoot out there is that you can really get a good grip on the XP10 with just one hand. The square credit card size smooth finish of pocket cameras just don’t let you get a grip with one had so you can hold it steady while releasing the shutter. The shape of the camera seems a little odd at 1st sight, but you find it is ergonomic and fits your hand perfectly and the rubber nibs all over the front give your fingers something to grip onto. With the thing on auto, and a bag in your other hand, holding onto the dog leach or the kids hand, it’s the only camera I’ve ever used were you can really easily take a good picture fast with just one hand.
Only downside is it takes an extra step to cool down the brightness of the flash on macro photos and you have to shield the front lens element from sun with your hand when shooting directly into the sun to eliminate flare. Overall it’s a heck of a nice camera! Particularly for the price point. Plus its good in cold weather and snow when the mechanical pop out lenses on the other cameras usually puke out rather than pop out.
Everyone in the Family fights for using it, Wife and Kids love it. I'm tired of looking for it, so I just broke down and bought 3 more for the holidays so the whole family has one. In the long run I think it will pay off considering what happens to the other cameras through the kids knocking around, sand, beaches, sports, traveling, skiing, rafting, construction, I'll write another review later and let you know what happens after the snorkeling and salt water.