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Sony DSC-S85

Sony extends its S-series Cybershot line with the S85, sporting a 4-megapixel CCD, Exposure Bracketing, and Burst 3 sequential capture.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 6/7/2001


4.1-megapixel CCD delivering 2,272 x 1,704-pixel images
14-bit digitization for exceptional tonal range and detail
3x Carl Zeiss lens for clear, crisp images
MPEG-EX movie recording eliminates record-time limitations
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Manufacturer Overview
Sony Electronics has long held a dominant position in the digicam marketplace, with a wide range of models enjoying enormous popularity with consumers. Last spring (February, 2000), they stunned the digicam world by announcing no fewer than six new models. This year (2001), they repeated this hat trick at Spring PMA in Orlando, FL, once again announcing six new units, with some additional releases following in their wake. As they did last year, this year's new models included additions to both the Mavica and Cyber-shot lines.

Introduced five months after the DSC-P30, P50, and S75 were announced in Orlando, the Cyber-shot DSC-S85 broadens Sony's "S-series" Cyber-shot offerings from a single product into a two-model lineup, with the new unit boasting the highest resolution CCD to date (June 2001) for the popular line of Sony consumer digicams. The 4.1-megapixel CCD features 14-bit digitizing for superb highlight detail and low image noise -- further enhanced by the ultra-sharp Carl Zeiss lens with 3x zoom capability first seen in the DSC-S70. In addition to improvements introduced with Sony's 3.3-megapixel S75, this model includes an expanded Burst 3 capture mode and a new Exposure Bracketing option. Read the full review below for the details, but we'll say right at the outset that we think Sony has done just about everything right with this new model. Its combination of great features, price, and image quality make it one of the standout bargains at the upper end of the prosumer digicam world.

This review is based on a late-model prototype unit. The user interface characteristics should be in final form, but it's possible that some aspects of image quality may change. (In our experience, image noise levels usually improve between prototype and production, and color is often tweaked somewhat in production models. The S85 we tested had excellent color, but image noise was a bit higher than we're accustomed to seeing in Cyber-shot cameras.)


  • 4.1-megapixel CCD delivering up to 2,272 x 1,704-pixel resolution images.
  • 3x, 7-21mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens (equivalent to a 34-102mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • 2x precision digital zoom.
  • 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.
  • Auto and manual focus control.
  • Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, and Scene exposure modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to eight seconds.
  • Apertures from f/2.1 to f/8.0.
  • Exposure bracketing feature.
  • Movie mode with sound and Clip recording.
  • Spot metering and AE Lock functions.
  • Built-in flash with four operating modes.
  • External flash connection jack and mounting shoe.
  • Adjustable white balance with four modes.
  • Automatic ISO or 100, 200, and 400 equivalent settings.
  • JPEG, GIF, and uncompressed TIFF file formats.
  • Images saved to Memory Stick media.
  • USB cable for high-speed connection to a PC or Mac.
  • Software CD containing MGI PhotoSuite, MGI VideoWave, and USB drivers.
  • Power from NP-FM50 rechargeable InfoLITHIUM battery pack or included AC adapter.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.

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