FinePix JX580

FinePix JX580

Features & Controls


JX580 lens.jpg
With only a 5x optical zoom lens (26 - 130 mm equivalent), the FinePix JX580 isn't going to give you much versatility in shooting photos over a distance. A 5x optical zoom lens is below average in the current point-n-shoot market, where having a 10x zoom is quite common. The lens extends a little over an inch from the camera body at its largest extension. When the JX580 is powered down, the lens is completely inside the camera body, and a small cover automatically closes over the lens glass. The JX580's Fujinon lens has an aperture of F3.5 - F8 at wide angle and F6.3 - F15 at full telephoto. 

The JX580 offers only five distinct stops in its zoom range, which is pretty disappointing and will make it tough to find the exact magnification that you want. The zoom lens moves choppily and a little slowly through its small 5x range, requiring nearly 2 seconds to go through the full range.. 

The measurements for focus range for the JX580 are:

  • Normal: 1.6 ft. (50 cm) to infinity (wide); 2.9 feet (90 cm) to infinity (tele)
  • Macro: 3.9 in. (10 cm) to 31.5 in. (80 cm) (wide); 2.6 ft. (80 cm) to 4.2 ft. (130 cm) (tele)

JX580 flash.jpg
The JX580's tiny, off-center rectangular flash unit will create some uneven results in your images when using the flash. You're going to have some dark spots in some of your images because of the angle of the flash. Washed out photos will occur at times, too, when you're too close to the subject. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of this tiny flash unit. It might be the only above average feature on this camera, as small portrait photos shot with the flash are of a decent quality with the JX580.

The camera responds very slowly when you're using the flash, though, with significant shutter lag and shot to shot delays. If you're going to shoot a photo with a flash, you're going to want to make sure to take your time and hold the shutter button halfway to allow pre-focusing, because you're going to have to wait several seconds for a second chance to shoot the photo. 

As with some other Fujifilm cameras, making use of Silent mode will cause the flash to be unavailable. This can be confusing for some of those new to digital cameras, which is the exact portion of the market at which Fujifilm is aiming the JX580. If you want a quiet camera while maintaining the ability to use the flash, you'll have to use three different on-screen menus to silence the camera. This is very frustrating.

JX580 top button.jpgOutside of its confusing menu structure and the odd way that the Silent mode works, the FinePix JX580 couldn't be easier to use ... although part of the reason it's easy to use is that it just doesn't have a lot of features. The top panel contains exactly one button, the shutter button. Most camera makers place a zoom ring around the shutter button, but Fujifilm could not use that design with the JX580 because of the position of the built-in flash, which is on the front panel directly in front of the shutter button.

JX580 LCD.jpg
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. 

JX580 back buttons.jpg
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.

JX580 USB.jpg
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.

JX580 memory card slot.jpgThe 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.

JX580 battery.jpg
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.

Adding to the battery life problem is the fact that Fujifilm did not include a separate battery charger with this camera. You must charge the battery inside the camera using the included AC power adapter and USB cable. Of course, while you're constantly charging this battery, the camera won't be available for shooting photos, which will be very frustrating.

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