- 60GB hard drive, decent specs for the asking price, memory stick slot, beginner-friendly touch screen interface
- Poor stills mode, struggles under low lighting
The Sony DCR-SR85 is a good quality mid-range camcorder that easily matches any standard-def model in its price range. If you're determined to ignore the HD boom, you could certainly do a lot worse than this.
Price$ 1,149.00 (AUD)
The DCR-SR85 is yet another addition to Sony's exhaustive HDD handycam range. Its main features include a 60GB hard drive, a 25x optical zoom and a memory stick slot for additional hybrid recording. Falling into the upper echelon of standard-definition camcorders, it will provide a satisfactory performance for those who aren't ready to make the leap to HD. However, if you have an extra $200 to play around with, we'd recommend opting for the DCR-SR220; another SD model with superior specifications.
The DCR-SR85 is a hard disk-based model, which means you don't need to muck about with discs or tapes while recording. Instead, all footage is stored on the camera's built-in 60GB hard drive, which can hold up to 41 hours of data. This is boosted by an additional five-and-a-half hours when combined with an 8GB memory stick. Conveniently, you can also transfer your video files from the hard drive to a memory stick, which is a great way to store or backup your data.
For a change of pace, Sony has decked out the DCR-SR85 with a 1/6in CCD sensor (as opposed to the CMOS sensors found on most of its previous handycams). The technical difference between CCD and CMOS has largely blurred over the years, though it could be argued that CCD technology offers superior colour reproduction (personally, we can't tell the difference). Unfortunately, consumer-level CCD sensors sometimes struggle in low light conditions; a fact demonstrated by the DCR-SR85's patchy indoors performance. When shooting in dim environments, we found noise levels to be painfully obvious; even on the 2.7-inch display screen. Basically, if you're shooting without the assistance of the sun or bright florescent lights, your footage is going to look noticeably grainy, particularly in black or shadowed areas of an image.
On the plus side, Sony's excellent Nightshot Plus mode has made a triumphant return. This allows you to shoot crystal clear footage in almost complete darkness; albeit in a green-tinged 'thermal goggle' style (fans of a certain hotel heiress' private home movie will know what this looks like). While the lack of colour is bound to annoy some, we think it's a reasonable compromise that will allow you to get some great nocturnal use out of your camera. Otherwise, the SR85's video performance was about on par with other camcorders in this price range; offering sharp and reasonably vibrant images when used in sunny environments.
The same cannot be said for its stills mode however, which offers a piddling resolution of just one-megapixel. This would be considered unacceptably low for a mobile camera phone, let alone a $1149 camcorder. As such, those who are looking for a two-in-one device will definitely need to look elsewhere.
Sony's HDD camcorder range has always been a little bit cooler than its competitors, and the DCR-SR85 is no exception. With its user-friendly touch screen display and handy docking station, it has obviously been designed with the entry-level user in mind. Superfluous little touches, like the embossed handgrip and component sliders, ramp up the quality of the product. As always, we found the touch screen interface to be a joy to use; with responsive icons and an intuitive menu layout. Although some people may occasionally struggle with the interface, it's certainly no more cumbersome than the directional sticks found on most other cameras.
Weighing in at a barely-there 360g and with overall dimensions of 76x77x113mm, the DCR-SR85 is certainly very portable. This can occasionally prove problematic if you have trouble holding a camera steady, though a little hands-on practice will swiftly eliminate this problem.
Join the newsletter!
cloudandco Smart Cane
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Toys for Boys
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- The Best Australian Black Friday Tech Deals That Aren't On Amazon
- Wolfenstein The New Colossus Review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSenior Software Engineer - ContractOther
- CCDevelopers ? Multiple opportunitiesQLD
- TPInstructional DesignerNSW
- CCReporting AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Portfolio Analyst. 12 month contract.NSW
- FTDigital Business Analyst - IntermediateQLD
- CCSecurity/ Penetration Test AnalystQLD
- FTSecurity Cleared Network EngineerACT
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTApplication ArchitectOther
- FTSystems ArchitectNSW
- FTService Desk Engineer/IT Help desk Support - Multiple positionsVIC
- CCNetwork DesignerQLD
- FT.NET DeveloperWA
- FTProject ManagerQLD
- CCAS400 Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- CCWeb Applications Project ManagerNSW
- TPProject OfficerVIC
- FTApplication Support Analyst - SMSF solutionsOther
- CCLinux AdministratorNSW
- FTDevOps EngineerNSW
- FTHFC Capacity Planner | 6mth ContractOther
- FTHealthcare Pre-Sales Consultant - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCIntegration SpecialistNSW