Using Burst Modes on FujiFilm Finepix XP120 & XP130 Waterproof Cameras

The FujiFilm Finepix XP120 and XP130 adventure cameras have a number of burst shooting modes available for capturing fast-moving action, but it's not necessarily self-evident what they do. So here's a rundown.

One of the many features of the FujiFilm Finepix XP130 and XP120 waterproof cameras is a continuous shooting mode. It’s the same thing that is sometimes called burst mode on other cameras (and the manual also refers to it sometimes as burst mode).

Given that these are waterproof cameras that you’re likely to want to take to the beach or on your adventures, being able to take a series of quick photos in rapid succession is a feature that might well come in very handy to capture fast-moving action.

But there are a number of options, including things like SH Continuous, L Continuous, and M Final, and it’s not necessarily self-evident what all of these continuous shooting modes mean–at least, it wasn’t to me. So after spending some time experimenting with them, here’s a quick rundown of what the settings do.

How to Shoot in Continuous Mode with the FujiFilm Finepix XP120 and XP130

There can be variations between cameras in how to shoot in burst mode and what happens when you do. With the FujiFilm Finepix 120, you hold the shutter down. It will keep taking photos until either you release the shutter or you get to the maximum number of photos allowed by whatever image size you’re using (see the table below).

First, though, you have to put the camera into burst mode (or continuous mode). You do that using the bottom left button on the back of the camera, the one next to the wifi icon. If you look very closely at that button you’ll see it has a burst mode graphic etched into it (a camera with several photos behind it). Once you do that, you’ll see a yellow icon showing on the back screen with the shooting speed you’ve set.

Continuous Mode Options on the Finepix XP130 and XP120

Each of these starts with a letter (or combination of letters) that refers to the speed that the photos are taken at. For instance, H refers to high speed, M refers to medium speed, L refers to low speed, and SH refers to super-high speed.

Standard continuous. There are four possible settings using the standard continuous mode. With these, the camera takes pictures as long as you keep the shutter button pressed.

  • SH Continuous1
  • H Continuous
  • M Continuous
  • L Continuous

Continuous / Final. There are also some “Final” options.

They are:

  • L Final
  • M Final
  • H Final

It wasn’t initially clear to me what these do, but what it does is similar to the standard continuous in that the camera shoots while the shutter button is held down. The difference is in which images are saved. With the standard continuous mode, it will start saving the images from the beginning and stop when you hit the maximum continuous frames limit (see the table below).

The Final mode is back to front. Rather than saving the first images, it saves the last ones. If you’re wondering why you might want to do that, a good example might be if you’re expecting action but want to start recording beforehand so as not to be too late and miss the action. Say, for example, you want an action shot of someone jumping–you can press the shutter and then release it once they’ve landed. That way you’re more likely to get the action rather than risk using up the images with blank frames before the image starts and then missing the action.

Frame Rates and Numbers of Pictures Taken

How quickly it takes the photos in the sequence (or the framerate), depends on which continuous modes you’re shooting with (high, medium, or low). The figures below are approximate, because there are other factors that can slow down the framerate such as shooting with a slower shutter speed in low-light conditions.

The maximum number of photos you can shoot in the sequence depends on the image size setting you’re using.

Setting Framerate (fps) No. of Frames / L & M Image Size No. of Frames / S Image Size
L Continuous 3 10 40
M Continuous 5 10 20
H Continuous 10 10 20
SH Continuous 60 70
L Final 3 10 20
M Final 5 10 20
H Final 10 10 20

Ideally, you should be using an SD card that’s rated for at least Class 10 recording speed. Most of the ones available at retailers these days are at least that fast. But the camera will use its own internal memory first (96MB) before saving to the memory card.

Things to Watch Out For When Shooting in Burst Mode on the Finepix XP120 and XP130

You can’t use the flash in the continuous shooting mode. It’s disabled automatically.

The framerates above are target framerates, but if you’re using it in dimmer conditions that require a slower shutter speed, then the framerate will drop accordingly.

The SH Continuous mode is only available with the image size S / 16:9 setting, and it switches to that image size automatically if you enable SH Continuous.

The focus and exposure settings are taken from the first image in the sequence and then applied to all of the rest in that sequence. That is, it doesn’t calculate new settings between each individual image so long as the shutter is pressed. This could matter if you’re shooting something coming towards or moving away from the camera (focus) or moving from light to dark or vice-versa.

The intelligent digital zoom function is not available when shooting in continuous mode.

Photos taken in continuous mode are named slightly differently to regular still photos. They start with “S”.

Viewing Photos in Taken in Continuous Mode

When you use the camera’s back screen to play back photos shot in continuous mode, you’ll initially only see the first image in the sequence. To see the subsequent photos in that same sequence, press the down button (the timer icon). You’ll then see some sequence information on the screen, and you can use the left and right buttons to move within the sequence.

Popular Accessories for the XP120/XP130


  1. When you use SH Continuous, you can only use the S 16:9 image size. It will switch to that size automatically when you activate SH Continuous mode.

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