Image Sharpening

The S85 offers control over the cameras internal sharpening algorithm with a setting of -2 to +2 (minus being less sharpening, positive being more). The samples below are 200% crops of different sharpening levels for the same scene.

Sharpening -2
Sharpening -1
Sharpening 0 (Default)
Sharpening +1
Sharpening +2

As mild as the S85's default sharpening is you can always opt for -1 for ultra clean, smooth and artifact free images. For the purists among you there's -2 which is essentially no internal sharpening at all.

Digital Zoom

Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The DSC-S85 does indeed have optical zoom, and has a range of digital zooms which can be used on top of the standard 3x optical zoom. These zooms range smoothly from nothing to 2.0x. They are however simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts.

Full Optical Zoom, No Digital Zoom, 3x equiv.
Full Optical Zoom, 1.5x Digital Zoom, 7.5x equiv.
Full Optical Zoom, 2x Digital Zoom, 6x equiv.

Auto Bracketing

Automatic bracketing is the exposure of an odd number of frames, typically three or five, over and under exposed by equal steps to enable the photographer to select the best exposed frame at a later time. The S85 shoots three exposures at 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 EV steps. The sample below was shot using the 3, +/-0.7 option. It shoots the frames in a -,0,+ order.

-0.7 EV, F5.0, 1/15 sec 0.0 EV, F5.0, 1/25 sec -0.7 EV, F5.0, 1/40 sec

Aperture Priority (A)

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot). As you adjust the aperture the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen.

The DSC-S85 offers a wide range of apertures which will provide the photographer with good flexibility and creative options. In aperture priority mode shutter speeds can go down as slow as 8 seconds.

  • Wide: F2.0, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
  • Tele: F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0

A basic example of aperture priority is shown below:

F2.3, 1/100 sec, narrow depth of field F8.0, 1/10 sec, larger depth of field

Shutter Priority (S)

Shutter priority is where you designate the shutter speed and the camera calculates the correct aperture. Shutter priority is now a separate exposure mode selectable by turning the exposure dial to the "S" setting, roll the jog-dial to select the shutter speed. As you adjust the shutter speed the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen. Available shutter speeds:

  • 1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 secs

A basic example of the use of shutter priority is shown below:

F8.0, 1/10 sec (intentional motion blur) F2.8, 1/1000 sec (freeze motion)

Manual Focus

The S85 offers 14 steps of focus from 0.1m to Infinity, pressing the Focus button displays the current focus distance on the screen, roll the new jog-dial to select the focus distance (metres):

  • 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 7.0, 10.0, 15.0, Infinity