This Fujifilm XP140 review comes from testing this camera on two snorkeling trips to St. Lucia and Indonesia, and some dinghy sailing trips in the Pacific Northwest. This is not a highly technical review of every aspect of the camera. But we share some pictures taken with it, and some pros and cons we have found using it.
To tell the truth, we are surprised
to be recommending this camera, as a decent budget option, because we
really did not like the many previous versions of this camera line by
Fuji (we also own the XP120).
All the pictures of the camera you see here are after banging the camera around on those trips, and dunking it for hours in salt water. Although we always rinse in fresh water afterwards. It has held up well.
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Build Quality & Handling
The camera is very small, but feels solidly built in our hands, and it has a good solid locking door for the battery and memory card access and connection ports. And the camera gives a warning if that door is not sealed correctly.
It easily fits in a pocket, making it a very handy camera to have around, as compared to a larger camera for snorkeling that has a separate waterproof housing. If it was much smaller, it would be difficult to handle with bigger hands. And despite its small size it has a nice big 3" high resolution view screen, for composing pictures and viewing them. It does have a tripod mount on the bottom, which you would want to use if hands free, because it does not like to stand on its bottom, and falls over easily.
We really liked throwing it in a pocket or a bag to use on boat trips where we did not want to risk our larger cameras out of their housings.
Note that although we have used this camera while snorkeling for many hours, we have heard from a few people who have had them fail from flooding. While it is certainly possible some of those incidents are from seals that are not clean, or improperly closed doors, a good percentage of the failures are likely from quality control issues on such an inexpensive camera.
Image Quality While Snorkeling
For this Fujifilm XP140 review, we focused mostly on snorkeling with it. The image and video quality as a snorkeling camera is not bad, in certain favorable conditions, but not great in some conditions. In particular, in shallow bright conditions, the colors and details are very nice. Much better than earlier versions, like the XP120 or XP130, which we have tested side by side for this Fujifilm XP140 review.
Here are some of the better photo examples in bright shallow conditions. These are straight out of the camera, no post-processing. You can click on these to see them bigger.
You can see from these that in the right conditions, the camera can take some colorful, nice pictures underwater. We used this camera in the Underwater Shooting Mode. You can also use the Program AE Shooting Mode and set an underwater white balance within that.
But, when you are not in bright conditions, or are either in deeper water from diving down, or are shooting through more water, the camera is not nearly as good at capturing accurate colors. For example:
The video quality is very comparable
to the picture quality, suffering the same issues in low light. We
did not test the 4K video because it only shoots at 15 frames per
second, which is sort of worthless. But the 1080P HD video shoots 60
frames per second. In the future we will post a YouTube video showing video results, as an extension of this Fujifilm XP140 review.
Maybe the biggest drawback to this budget camera for snorkeling is that it has a fairly slow lens. It starts at F3.9 at wide angle, and slows to an F8 at full zoom. Basically that means that in all but the brightest conditions you will not want to use the zoom, because you will get blurry fish pictures. And even at wide angle in low light, results will be mixed. So when conditions were not super bright and shallow, we got a lot of unsharp fish pictures like this.
There is no manual white balance option in this camera. The only option to improve colors in those situations, besides in software afterward, is to use a red filter. Here is an example of before and after with a red filter on the XP140. It helps a bit, but is kind of a hassle to use because you have to hold it up to the lens with one hand, while taking pictures with the other.
Image Quality Above Water
As mentioned above, we enjoyed using this camera on boat trips. It was very handy to have, when we did not want to risk our more expensive cameras or phone to water splashes. And it did a reasonably good job. Once again, when the light gets low, it has more issues, particularly if there is any movement going on. But for the low price for a waterproof camera, it's pretty cool.
Fujifilm XP140 Review
Compared to Olympus TG-5 or TG-6
For this Fujifilm XP140 review we can't help but compare this camera to an Olympus TG-5 and the new TG-6. We tested the TG-5 with the XP140. The TG-5 is the most popular snorkeling camera, and we expect the new TG-6 to be equally popular. But it is nearly twice the price of the XP140.
So how do they compare? We actually like the looks, handling, and locking door system better on the Fujifilm XP140 than the Olympus TG cameras. But the Olympus is a much more capable camera than the Fujifilm, with many more setting options, a fast lens, and much better image quality. The sensor, lens, and software behind it all are noticeably better on the Olympus. The Olympus does not have as many problems with low light, and it handles deeper water color better. And with a faster lens, blurry fish are less of a problem. So is it worth twice the price? It would be for us, but that is up to you.
So what are our final thoughts in this Fujifilm XP140 review? If you want to spend less than $250, the Fujifilm XP140 is the best option available, for a tough little camera that can be used while snorkeling. You may get a little frustrated with blurry fish pictures in some situations, but if you have bright sunny days, and are taking pictures close to your subject in shallow water, you will get great results for the price.
And if you are not snorkeling, and just want a decent camera that is waterproof and tough for sailing, hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor adventures, it is a great little tool to throw in a pocket.
Note that if you do use it snorkeling make sure and use the wrist lanyard, or a floating strap, because it will sink like a rock if you let it go. And when traveling on a plane we recommend opening the battery door so that pressure changes during the flight do not damage the internal seals.