When the FX500 was reviewed on this site back in May 2008, one complaint was that while a mode button input was required to display shooting modes, once displayed they could only be selected via touch. The FX580 has put that gripe to rest - once displayed, modes can be selected via touch or cursor, and the same holds true for the quick menu. I ended up shooting a lot of this review in Programmed auto mode so I could manually set the ISO sensitivity, and having quick menu access available via touch screen was a nice (sorry) touch.
This camera hasn't improved on the noise performance of its predecessor and so must be judged average at best in this regard. AF acquisition times are not class leading but not extremely slow, and shutter lag is good.
There are manual controls and a host of user-enabled adjustments available - features that will appeal to the more accomplished user seeking a somewhat DSLR like palette of control options in a compact digital - folks who never move beyond the auto or scene modes will leave a lot of untouched territory in FX580 menus. Image quality is good if you can shoot in the 80 or 100 ISO range, but noise impacts image quality as early as 200 ISO and there's no good news north of that setting. Video image quality at HD is average, but audio reproduction, even in mono, was good.
Not the best camera in the class (and not the worst), it remains to be seen if the touch screen features are enough of a draw to pull buyers to a camera with essentially average overall performance in a crowded field of competitors.
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