The Bottom Line
I wish I had more good things to say about the Fujifilm FinePix JX580, but it's tough to find a lot of positives with this beginner-level, point and shoot camera.
The JX580 may grab your attention with its sub-$100 price point and its thin design. However, the positive aspects to this camera stop there.
The FinePix JX580's shot to shot delays and shutter lag are a significant problem, which will cause you to miss some spontaneous photos. Most images will have a bit of softness to them because the autofocus mechanism isn't quite as sharp as it should be. Battery life is poor, and the JX580 only has a 5X optical zoom lens.
Even compared to other inexpensive cameras in this price range, the JX580 performs well below average. There are better options in the market than the JX580 if you're looking for a cheap, inexpensive camera.
Although the JX580 can shoot at up to 16MP of resolution, don't expect to make a lot of large prints with this camera. It has a pretty small image sensor (1/2.3 or 0.43 inches), which means that the image quality with this camera isn't quite as good as what you'll find with more expensive cameras that have larger image sensors.
In addition, the camera tends to have a bit of a problem with soft focus, which makes it difficult to make large prints. As long as you're only shooting images that you can share on social networking Web sites or though e-mail, you may not always notice the JX580's image quality problems. However, most photographers who are shooting with 16 megapixels will expect to be able to make large prints.
Despite all of these problems, there are times where the JX580 will shoot some pretty nice photos, images that are sharp and have the correct colors. Flash photos tend to be about average for a camera in this price range, for example.
However, the results with this camera are hit and miss, which is really frustrating ... far more frustrating than what most photographers are going to want to deal with on a regular basis.
Video performance is below average with this camera, too. You cannot shoot full HD video, and the optical zoom lens and the autofocus both work very slowly when you're shooting movies, which is going to affect your movie quality.
With a 5X optical zoom lens, the JX580 is not going to work all that well as a camera for shooting photos over a distance. Fujifilm designed this camera to be used for portraits.
Shutter lag is simply awful with this camera, which means that you're going to miss some photos of moving subjects. Shot to shot delays will require several seconds, too, leaving the JX580 inoperable while you're waiting for the previous image to be saved to the memory card.
One good thing: The performance of the FinePix JX580 when shooting with the built-in flash unit isn't significantly different than without the flash, which is different from most inexpensive digital cameras.
Battery life is very poor with the FinePix JX580, which is a significant disappointment. Fujifilm chose to create a really thin battery for this camera, just to ensure a thin camera, but the company sacrificed far too much in terms of battery performance to maintain a thin design.
Perhaps the best feature of the FinePix JX580 is its 3.0-inch LCD screen. There aren't a lot of cameras in this price range that have such a large display. However, when you're shooting photos outdoors in bright sunlight, the camera's LCD is very difficult to see because of problems with glare on the screen.
Fujifilm also made the FinePix JX580 pretty easy to use, which is nice for a camera aimed squarely at beginners. There are plenty of scene modes from which to pick, which simplifies the operation of the JX580. You'll see explanations of each menu command appear on the screen as you highlight each command.
The construction of the JX580 feels a little flimsy. This is a really lightweight camera, measuring less than 5 ounces, even with the battery installed. This camera is also very thin, measuring only 0.8 inches in thickness, which will appeal to some beginning photographers.
Other than being a very thin model, the JX580 doesn't really have much that stands out in its design. Unfortunately, that's a theme that extends throughout the JX580. There's very little about this camera that stands out, even when compared to similarly priced peers. Even if you're only going to spend around $100 on a camera, there are much better models to choose from out there.