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Over the past few weeks I've reviewed a couple of good sub-£100 budget compacts, namely the Nikon CoolPix L11 and the Pentax Optio E40. I hope this isn't becoming a habit, because I've got another one today, in the shape of the new Samsung S85.

I have been mostly impressed by Samsung's digital cameras over the past couple of years. Some of them, such as the NV10 have been very good indeed, with sleek styling, innovative controls and superb Schneider-Kreuznach lenses. Others, such as the L700 have been somewhat mediocre, but few of them have been genuinely bad. Thankfully the company has recently trimmed its range to just 19 models, from a high a few months ago of no less than 36 different cameras, and naturally it is the less successful models that have been dumped. Hopefully this means that future models will continue to exhibit a higher standard, and if the S85 is any indicator then this may well be the case.

The S85 is an 8.2-megapixel compact camera with a 5x zoom lens (although lacking the Schneider-Kreuznach label of the higher-spec models), a 2.5-inch monitor screen and some advanced features including face detection AF/AE, manual exposure options and ISO 1600 maximum sensitivity. That may sound like a fairly average specification, but it also has a retail price of just £99, so you're actually getting quite a lot of camera for your money. There aren't very many models on the market that offer as many features for that kind of price, in fact the only one that springs to mind is the Fujifilm FinePix A820, which also has an 8-megapixel sensor, but only has a 4x zoom lens.

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  1. Samsung Digital Camera S85



July 18, 2008, 6:19 pm

This is now 㿧-99 with free delivery from!

Bev 1

September 10, 2008, 6:43 pm

Camera picture quality is great, but mine stopped working after 2 months and custommer support is terrible. They are trying to charge 㿏 for repaire and handling, the camera only cost $105 thats 㿣. If the camera had been damaged fair enough but it just stopped working. Better off spending more money on a better built camera.

Denis Swift

September 25, 2008, 3:06 am

Suggestion for Bev: It's pretty obvious that your camera had an inherent fault right from the start. So you're covered by the Sale Of Goods Act (an item must be suitable for the application). Don't talk to Samsung (unless you bought it direct). Speak to the people you bought it from - that's who your contract's with. You're entitled to a replacement or, if you prefer, your money back. If they mess you around, get in touch with the Trading Standards people: DON'T complicate things by dealing with the manufacturer. It's the retailer who's in the firing line.

James Mills

September 26, 2008, 2:35 am

Mine also broke after 3 months. It completely locked up and was sent back to Samsung via Comet. 6 weeks later and I have finally managed to get a refund from Comet as Samsung are claiming its accidental damage and want 㿌. Whats even more annoying is that I can't find a comparable camera for what this cost (㿷)

john whale

January 19, 2009, 11:01 pm

i bought a samsung 6mp camera 2 years ago, it takes great pictures and i have had no problems with it.

despite owning a sony a200 and a nikon d40, i still use the samsung very often.


March 22, 2010, 6:16 pm

This has been a good little camera for me. I bought one second hand when the battery door broke on my Canon Powershot, making it unusable, and I didn't have time to get it repaired. I have a couple of niggles, however:

1. When I first bought this camera, the battery life was appalling. I tried it on normal Lithiums and on the Ni-mHs I had used in my Canon, and on both types the batteries lasted barely a day on even very light usage. In the end, I bought the Samsung batteries and charger recommended in the manual. These are much better: howver, I would still class this camera as battery-hungry. The Samsung rechargeables will last me a few weeks on light usage, but the Canon was much more efficient.

2. This camera takes great outdoor shots and inside is usually ok. However, I sometimes use it with the youth group I run. We meet in a big hall with overhead fluorescent lights. The pictures it takes in the hall from a distance more than a few feet are just awful: blurry, saturated with yellow and grainy. Even in Photoshop it's hard to get them to a decent quality.

However, overall I'm very satisfied with this camera. Ease of use and outdoor im age quality are its strong points. After using this, I got my grandparents a Samsung too, and while they're techno-phobic generally, they have no problems using it, it's so simple.


October 18, 2011, 4:08 pm

Oldie but goodie

Mike L

November 26, 2013, 3:58 am

Mine just broke after I dropped it accidentally while the lens was extended. Anyway, it has served me well for several years.

I also had a problem with the batteries. It could only last a few shots before shutting down when I used alkalines and NiMH.

Finally managed to get it to work properly when I started using Low Self Discharge NiMH such as Sharp Eneloops and PowerEx Imedions.

Photo quality is quite decent, although low light performance was a bit poor.

Camera is quite easy to use, and I have taken thousands of shots with it. It probably would have kept on working another few years if it had not been dropped.

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