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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.