Fujifilm is about to release its first rugged digital camera to feature GPS geo-tagging of images, the FinePix XP30. In addition to being water-, dust-, shock- and freeze-proof, the compact camera can guide you from your current location to a point where you snapped a particularly interesting shot, and use collected data to create a travel map, using your photos as illustrations. The camera can also record high definition video and includes a number of user-assist features to help capture the best shots without too much effort.

Like the FinePix XP10 before it, the XP30 benefits from dustproof sealing and the ability to operate in chilly 14ºF (-10ºC) temperatures. The improvements to the new model start with the waterproofing (you can now take the XP30 to a depth of 16.5 feet/5 meters), and then move on to its being able to withstand a drop from 5 feet (1.5 meters). The FUJINON f5.0-25.0 mm (28-140mm equivalent), 5x wide angle refractive optical zoom lens has a reinforced hardened glass lens barrier, and the camera benefits from a durable metal uni-body chassis with riveting to the front panel.

There's a 14 megapixel CCD sensor with ISO100 to ISO3200 sensitivity and sensor shift Dual Image Stabilization, which combines a mechanically stabilized sensor with high ISO to counteract camera shake. Tracking autofocus locks onto a fast-moving subject when the shutter is depressed half way, which places the in-focus subject in the center of the frame when the shutter is released.

When a photo is taken, it is tagged with location information supplied by the built-in GPS. If you take a snap of a particularly impressive view and want to return later but can't remember how to get there, you can locate the photo in the image library and use a function called Photo Navigation to find out how far away you are and get directions back to where the photo was taken. An embedded list of around half a million places of interest located around the globe is included, and the camera's GPS Tracking Data function periodically stores location data which can later be used to generate a map of your travels, illustrated with photos taken along the route.

The XP30 can also record high definition video in Motion JPEG format at 30 frames per second, albeit at 720p resolution and with mono audio. Recorded video and captured images are stored to a SD/SDHC/SDXC media card, and in-camera editing or viewing is undertaken via the 2.7-inch, anti-reflective, high contrast, 230,000 dot LCD display to the rear.

The Facebook/YouTube Automatic Upload feature allows you to tag an image for upload to social networking sites once the camera is connected to an internet-enabled computer. The camera can auto-stitch up to three images to create one modest panorama shot, and user assist features such as auto scene recognition, face detection and auto red eye removal are included.

The FinePix XP30 is available in black, green and orange starting next month for US$239.95.

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