||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
I put my camera through a lot when I travel. It’s accompanied me while trekking in sub-zero temperatures to Everest Base Camp. And it’s been at my side while hiking in the jungles of Guatemala during the monsoon rains, protected from the elements by a zipper sandwich bag.
Starfish Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama. Photo by Vawn Himmelsbach
Needless to say, my last camera was literally duct-taped together and made rattling sounds every time I turned it on or tried to zoom in or out.
So on a recent trip to Panama, I tested out the Fujifilm Finepix XP30 — a ruggedized camera that I hoped would be up to the task of some ruggedized backpacking.
The company claims the camera is shockproof (to 1.5 metres), waterproof (to 5 metres), freezeproof (to -10 C) and dustproof. But, unlike some ruggedized cameras I’ve seen that look like they’re designed more for field workers heading out to the oil patch, this one is compact and snazzy blue (and costs around $200).
Of course, the camera has all sorts of other features: dual image stabilization (which freezes subjects to avoid blurring), intelligent scene recognition (which automatically sets the correct shooting or scene mode) and motion panorama (which automatically shoots while you pan). It also has an in-camera movie editing function that helps you create and edit video clips.
Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama. Photo by Vawn Himmelsbach
The real test, however, was if the camera would hold up in heat and humidity, and survive getting splashed with water and banged around in a daypack.
While I didn’t purposely throw the camera around, I accidentally dropped it on a few occasions. My initial reaction was one of panic, but upon inspection of the camera, there wasn’t so much as a scratch on it.
That gave me enough confidence to bring it in the water with me, which felt completely counter-intuitive.
While the camera doesn’t actually take underwater photographs, I was able to take some cool shots of starfish, at the appropriately named Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama (any water that got on the camera simply beaded off). It also came in handy when sea kayaking, since I could keep the camera around my wrist rather than packing it away in a dry bag.
San Blas, Panama. Photo by Vawn Himmelsbach
Despite humid conditions, it never fogged up or started acting weird — it just worked. Though I never did figure out how to take decent night shots, I was particularly impressed with its macro setting for close-ups (especially foliage).
It also has some cool additions, like built-in GPS that allows you to geo-tag your photos and the ability to easily post pictures and videos to YouTube and Facebook.
So shockproof? Check. Waterproof. Check. Dustproof? Check. Freezeproof? Well, I toyed with the idea of throwing it in my freezer when I returned from Panama, but decided the camera had already proven itself.
I had put it through its paces, and it still looked brand-new — no duct-tape required. While image quality was perhaps not as sharp as my higher-end Canon, I still came home with some great shots.
To read more about Panama, check out Dive, surf and hike your way through Bocas del Toro in Panama.
Copyright @ 2011 Chic Savvy Travels
Date Added: June 1, 2012 | Comments (0)
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