Sony DSC-S85 Review
Top of camera controls
The top of the DSC-S85 is fairly clean and logically laid out, the power switch is mounted around the camera mode dial, just in the right position for a flick from your thumb. Beside the mode dial is the cameras microphone, used to record audio in movie mode. The shutter release button is tilted slightly forwards and is the soft touch -> click type.
Exposure / Camera Mode Dial
Enters playback mode, this displays the last image/movie recorded. Cursor arrows or jog-wheel can be used to scroll through images (other functions described later).
|Program Auto Exposure
Automatic exposure mode, camera meters the scene and selects best combination of aperture and shutter speed (and ISO if set to Auto) to properly expose the image. Additionally you can compensate the exposure by either +/-2.0EV in 0.3 EV steps.
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure
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
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure
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
|M||Full Manual Exposure
In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Use the jog-dial to switch between shutter speed or aperture, click then roll it again to change the value. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. The exposure compensation readout now displays the difference between the selected exposure and the metered exposure up to a maximum of +/-2.0 EV.
Special Scene Exposure
Twilight (low light shots,
Enters camera setup mode (described in more detail later). Having a distinct setup mode is a new thing to Sony digital cameras, a welcome change, it gets away from overloaded exposure menus.
As I commented in my S75 review it's good to see that Sony are now taking the creative needs of the photographer into account. The S85 offers a good range of manual control and exposure options which should give you plenty of scope for creative shooting.
Rear of camera controls
The back of the S85 is logical and straightforward. A group of six buttons and the 4-way direction pad on the left cover a large number of camera settings without having to enter the camera's menu system. Other notable additions are the new jog dial which rests under your right thumb, it's a click / roll type and is used to set exposure compensation, aperture / shutter speed in manual modes and scroll through images in playback mode.
One slight oddity is that you can not change settings using the jog dial with the main LCD switched off. Despite the fact that this information (shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation etc.) is relayed on the smaller "control panel" LCD, pressing / turning the jog dial with the main LCD switched off has no effect on settings.
All buttons are described below:
|W / T||Zoom / Magnify
Zooms the camera lens towards telephoto (104 mm) or towards wide (38 mm). The zoom control itself is a single position button (non-proportional). In playback mode the zoom control doubles as a control for magnifying the displayed image or displaying thumbnails.
Selects flash mode: Auto Flash, Flash Fill-in, Flash Cancel
Instantly reviews the last image / movie, in this mode you can zoom into the image but not scroll between images on the Memory Stick, you'll have to switch to playback mode for that (why it wasn't implemented via the jog-dial I'm not sure).
Switches between normal; 50 cm (19.7") - Infinity, and macro focus; 4 cm (1.5") - 50 cm (19.7") range.
Engages / Disengages the self-timer. Self-timer is cancelled after the next shot is taken.
Enters record menu (detailed later).
Toggles LCD display mode either live preview with full detail overlay, live preview with simple detail or LCD off.
Enables exposure compensation, click the jog-dial then roll between compensations of : (+/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps)
-2.0, -1.7, -1.3, -1.0, -0.7, -0.3, 0, 0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, 2.0 EV
Switches metering mode from the default Center-Weighted average to spot metering which only uses a small circular area in the center of the frame for metering. Press once more to cancel.
Note that this button also doubles as an "AF Lock", with one press (without rolling the jog-dial) it locks the current focus position.
|AE LOCK||Auto-Exposure Lock
Locks the metered exposure at the current setting, useful for aiming the camera at the subject to use for metering then realigning the scene for the final shot. AE Lock is cancelled after the next shot is taken.
|Fangorn Forest by cand1d|
|Yosemite Falls with Moonbow by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Best Landscape of the Week 4
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more