The LCD screen on the JX580 measures 3 inches diagonally, but it's not a high-quality screen, offering only 230,000 pixels of resolution. It also seems to show every smudge and fingerprint, and it has some significant glare problems, making it tough to frame photos outdoors. You can pick from up to 11 brightness levels with the LCD, which helps a little with the glare problems. However, if you run the LCD at the brightest setting for any extended period of time, the JX580's awful battery life becomes even worse.
Although the control buttons on the right side of the back panel of the FinePix JX580 are pretty small, I thought they were pretty comfortable to use.
The power switch is at the top right corner of the back panel, and it's in an area of the body that's slightly depressed, meaning you probably won't press it accidentally often. It responds with a quick press, which is nice. The zoom switch is just below the power switch, and it's the largest button on the camera, making it easy to find with your finger while you're staring at the LCD to frame a scene. The power switch and the zoom switch aren't on the back of too many cameras, but because they're pretty easy to reach with your right thumb, I didn't mind this design.
The Playback button is just above the four-way switch, and it's marked with a "play" icon. Because this button is labeled with a light green color, it's the most difficult to see against the silver background color of these buttons. The labels on the other buttons are very easy to read because they're in black.
On the four-way switch, you'll find the following controls (clockwise from the top):
- EV - Between +2 and -2 in 1/3 increments (only available in advanced shooting modes)
- Flash - Auto, Forced Flash, No Flash, Slow-Synchro (Slow-Synchro is only available in advanced shooting modes)
- Self Timer - Off, 10 seconds, 2 seconds
- Macro - Off, Macro
Opening the on-screen menus is as simple as pressing the Menu/OK button, which is in the middle of the four-way button. You can make command selections by pressing the OK button, too.
Along the bottom right of the back panel are the Disp/Back button and the Movie button. Both of these buttons are incredibly small. The Disp/Back button changes what's displayed on the screen. You must press the Movie button to start and stop movies. Because this button is so small, you have to be really careful to make sure that you've pressed it properly.
The bottom panel of the JX580 shows an exposed USB port. This could lead to problems, say if you were to accidentally set the camera down on a counter into a sticky substance that would gum up the USB port. The battery compartment cover is also visible here, as you can see the hinge on the left of the photo.
The battery and memory card slot are protected by the hinged cover. The cover Fujifilm included with the sample JX580 unit I received to test is one of the flimsiest I've seen on a digital camera lately. It wiggled against the hinge far more than it should have, and it certainly wouldn't have taken much pressure against the open cover to break it off. I felt like I had to be very careful with it when it was open. The cover does snap into place once it's closed, and I didn't feel like it was ever going to pop loose after it was closed.
The FinePix JX580 can accept SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards.
The rechargeable battery Fujifilm includes with the JX580 is really thin and lightweight. Fujifilm estimates that the JX580 can run about 170 photos on a single battery charge, but my tests found this number was a bit high. Battery life for this camera is simply awful, especially considering it has no high-end features that could drain the battery more quickly than basic photography. The JX580's battery life was more like what you'd find with a camera that uses AA batteries, rather than a camera with a li-ion rechargeable battery.