Most people today seem to take photographs with their cellphones. They are commonplace, have decent cameras and are easy to use.
However, there are outdoor occasions that are not safe for cellphones. Adverse weather and backcountry environments can permanently damage these devices even when inside their protective shells.
The outdoor photography niche is still well-served by sports cameras designed for use in adverse conditions. One camera I have been particularly impressed with is the Fujifilm XP90.
It has a 16-megapixel sensor that produces good quality images in all but the darkest conditions. It comes with an internal flash, but I have never had good results strictly relying on them regardless of the camera. The 5x optical zoom was adequate for general photography.
The lightweight and small camera is shockproof up to a 1.75 metre drop and waterproof up to a depth of 15 metres.
I have used the Fujifilm XP90 snorkeling in the Caribbean, producing sharp, colourful images. It handled everything my family could throw at it in our adventures.
The camera can be configured into an automatic mode that allows novice photographers to simply point and shoot or it can be configured for more exacting control.
The Fujifilm XP90 can take a series of burst photographs up to 10 frames per second. As well, I can record video in full 1080p resolution with reasonable sound quality for its internal microphone.
The rear display is bright and large, providing a good view to frame my images. The controls were simple enough to figure out with a little experimenting.
There are multiple ways to get the photographs out of the camera, including HDMI output to an external monitor or television, USB connections to a computer, wi-fi transferring to a smartphone and moving its external memory card to a reader-equipped computer.
Having lived in Saskatchewan my entire life, one feature I was pleased to see was it was rated to function in temperatures as low as -10 C.
The combination of features makes the Fujifilm XP90 good for trips where a more expensive cellphone or camera would be at risk. It can withstand rough treatment and forever capture those rare memories in stills or videos.
For those of us active in the outdoors and wanting to snap a few quality photographs or take some video of our adventures, a good sports camera cannot be beat.
Technical information about the Fujifilm XP90 can be found at www.fujifilm.ca. Retail prices vary but as of the writing of this article www.amazon.ca had this model starting at around $180.