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Samsung S85 - Samsung S85

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Fortunately things start to pick up a bit when we move on to the S85's performance. It starts up in a very creditable 1.8 seconds, and shuts down again in just over two. The autofocus system is very fast even in relatively low light, and in single-shot mode its shot-to-shot cycle time is an exceptionally quick 1.6 seconds. In continuous shooting mode it can manage approximately one frame per second, but although the initial shutter press makes the normal sound there is only a very quite ticking noise to indicate when subsequent shots are being taken. Low light performance is also very good, thanks to an AF assist lamp with a range of approximately two metres. Focusing in low light is either very fast, or if it can't focus it lets you know very quickly. Flash range is a little below average at three metres, but frame coverage is excellent and the flash recharge time of approximately five seconds is also fairly good. Battery performance will of course vary depending on the type and quality of the batteries used, but I took over a hundred shots with a pair of standard alkaline batteries and the battery level meter didn't budge from reading a full charge.

The good news continues when we look at image quality, which is outstanding for such a low cost camera. Exposure and colour rendition were virtually perfect, and even when shooting directly into bright sunlight the sensor managed to capture plenty of shadow detail. The lens may not have the Schneider-Kreuznach brand name, but it is very high quality nonetheless, producing excellent centre sharpness and very little barrel distortion at wide angle, with only a little softness and a small amount of chromatic aberration around the edges of the frame. Image noise was extremely well controlled at all ISO settings, with good picture quality at ISO 800 and a usable image even at ISO 1600, which is a very impressive performance by any standard. For a camera costing under £100 it is nothing short of remarkable.


The Samsung S85 may look a little dull, but it is a well-made camera with a useful range of features, very good performance and surprisingly excellent picture quality. It has a few odd quirks and is a bit fiddly to operate, but considering the sub-£100 price tag it represents astonishing value for money.


July 18, 2008, 6:19 pm

This is now 㿧-99 with free delivery from play.com!

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: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/. 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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