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Canon PowerShot A85
Canon PowerShot A85

Hey! You should know that this product has been discontinued. Here are our current recommended cameras in the Ultra Compact Digital Cameras category.

Canon PowerShot A85

Editor's Review

The Canon PowerShot A85 offers a compelling combination of simplicity and performance. As the only 4-megapixel Canon A-series model, the A85 has become a very popular camera. Physically identical to the Canon A75, the A85 offers a slightly larger LCD screen than the A80, which is welcome news for anyone that likes to review and share their pictures after taking them. The A85 also offers a higher resolution movie mode than the A80, and is compatible with CompactFlash cards over 2 GB. Unlike the A80, however, the A85 lacks a fold-out LCD screen, which can be a very useful feature if you ever shoot pictures from odd angles. If you want a fold-out screen, we recommend the 5-megapixel PowerShot A95.


  • 4.0 megapixels (effective)
  • 3x optical zoom/3.6x digital zoom
  • auto and manual focus
  • program and manual exposure
  • JPEG file format only
  • ISO range 50-400
  • 4 AA batteries
  • movie mode with sound
  • Release Date: Oct 28, 2004

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Canon PowerShot A85 Reviews

Canon PowerShot A85 Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 2.0 out of 5
Camera death (Janice — 03/02/2008)

I had the camera for about 1 1/2 years before it started having problems. First the LCD started showing distorted images. I saw there was a recall and called. The first tech said they couldn't help. Called back again and the second one said send it in. Got it back with a note saying that they fixed it. Two days later and about 6 pictures later, the screen said low battery when it was new batteries in there. Ok I changed the batteries, then i zoomed in on the shot and the screen went blank, the camera shut off. I am switching to sony. no more canon for me.

  • 5.0 out of 5
It's not speedy or tiny, but it's a workhorse (Brenda Paro — 06/22/2007)

Sure it's only 4 megapixels, and it has shutter lag, and it's too bulky to go in your pocket. But I have put this camera through absolutely everything, and it just won't die. Creates great 4x6 prints, stands up to constant use, and offers a decent amount of control. In fact, I bought this camera used, so the abuse it went through before I got it is unknown, and yet I've never had a problem. I own several other newer, better cameras, and I still find myself pulling this one out when I need something dependable.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Batteries and lcd sreen trouble (Nancy Kuehner — 03/25/2007)

I had problems with the batteries. I replaced them when the screen said they were low. This happened over and over using AA's, rechargeable and lithium batteries.
Without any notice the LCD screen went blank. I didn't abuse it.
After reading one of your reviews on these problems, I phoned Canon tech support, described the problem, and they are sending me a mailer so they can find the problem. Will be back to let you know how I made out...

after replacing the batteries

  • 1.0 out of 5
Broken camera, broken heart (lauren — 12/29/2006)

This was my first digital camera and I loved it. Had it one year, warranty was up and it stopped working. I was heartbroken. After reading these reviews, I found I was also fouled by the mode switch. I contacted Canon and they said they could fix it for way too much money. I just bought a Nikon and so far, am pleased with it. I will never buy anything from Canon again.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Cannon A85 LCD Blackout (Nolan Hanohano — 12/27/2006)

The camera has been great for two years, until a week ago when the LCD screen went blank and the pictures became fuzzy and distorted with purple lines in them. There is a recall on this camera as well as some other models because of a defective CCD image sensor. This sensor may be the cause of the problem. More information can be found on Cannons website - Tech Support

  • 2.0 out of 5
Camera took last breath and passed, quietly, away. (Daniel O'Dell — 12/14/2006)

The camera worked fine for two years. I uploaded some pictures to my computer. It was at this time that it encountered an untimely death. Without warning - not even a goodbye. No warranty, no luck!

  • 2.0 out of 5
Good camera until camera will not hold a charge (Dion — 12/04/2006)

Have had a great luck with camera for almost 2 years. Then about a month ago the camera stopped holding its charge. Tried replacing the batteries several times and after a few pictures the camera says the batteries are dead....??? Will not buy a Canon again...

  • 2.0 out of 5
Cannon A85 Failure (Wayne Bell — 10/24/2006)

Was good until recently when all of a sudden the batteries would only last for about 5 shots with flash. New Batteries ect make no difference. Not happy at all

  • 1.0 out of 5
Buy something else! (Brent — 10/03/2006)

Photos were good at first and now they are grainy and out of focus. It costs way too much for such a low quality camera!

  • 2.0 out of 5
Review - No review (Alan Farthing — 10/03/2006)

Had this camera for 18 months and have been very pleased having had some excellent results.
However, the review mode switch has just stopped working making the whole camera inoperative - what are they thinking putting such a poor quality switch in there? Think again if you are looking to buy this or one of the newer versions that use the same switch.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Good pictures but untimely death (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Decided to upgrade when my first son was born to the A85. For the past year and a half, has worked great. Picture quality is good. The software is generally as confusing as everything else, but we worked around it. The big issue was this camera just died yesterday No warning - no nothing. My wife wanted to upload some pictures and tried to turn it on...and nothing. Know it will cost more to fix that to just get a new one. For a Canon I expected significantly longer life...may try Nikon on the upgrade.

  • 2.0 out of 5
good camera, terrible mode switch (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Good camera for beginner to intermediate skill photographers, easy to use, nice auto and manual features. However the mode switch (from shooting to review mode) breaks easily. I have three of these and they all experienced the same problem within a few months. This is not isolated since I know others who have had the same problems. They should have used a more durable type of switch for so important a function.

  • 1.0 out of 5
There's always a "but"... (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

When the camera worked, it always resulted in great pictures...BUT, for reasons unknown, the camera just died...kaput. No warning signals. No reason for it (we didn't drop it or abuse it)...just died. I took it to the shop that I bought it from and was told that to fix it would be way more expensive than to just buy a new one. NOT impressed!! I paid almost $600 for this that I couldn't justify spending, but figured I was making a good investment since it was a Canon...boy, was I wrong!!

  • 1.0 out of 5
BAD CHOICE (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I am not satisfied with the quality of the pictures at all. Before I bought the A85, I had a Sony P72 that was robbed. Comparing both cameras I can say:
a) A85 focus is very bad. Many pictures are out of focus;
b) The display has low contrast, making difficult to use it in daylight conditions.
c) 9 in 10 pictures taken in low light present red eyes. With Sony P72 I usually got 1 or 2 red eyes in 10 shoots at nigh.
d) You cannot insert datestamps except in postcard mode that is a low resolution (around 2Mp)format.
e) If you go to print the pictures in a photolab, you have to convert (crop) it to a 2x3 format because the camera operate with 3x4 format. It is annoying.
f) The video is limited to 30s even if you have more space in memory.
g) The picture download speed is very low. Much slower than the sony p72
h) The pictures taken in low Leigh are extremely noise.
i) The Canon support does not exist. Tried to contact them but never got any response.

In resume, I scored it 1 star because I cannot give 0.

  • 4.0 out of 5
The A85 has been good for me. (John — 04/14/2006)

I bought my A85 in Oct. 04 and it has given me much enjoyment! I recommend buying good rechargeable lithium batteries and a decent charger to make sure your camera has power ready to go. The menu is easy to read and the manual is excellent. Great buy and pictures for the price.

  • 4.0 out of 5
pretty good (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I have owned the A85 for about a year and a half. I was lucky to grab the last one, as the A95 replaced it in every store. The picture quality is pretty good. One big problem is I constantly get red eye, even with the red eye reduction..... so every single picture has to be edited. It is very durable though, as I drag it everywhere I go. Video quality is good as long as you are outside with perfect sunlight conditions. Inside, the video quality is poor. The batteries last fairly long if you don't leave the LCD screen on for too long. I absolutely love the screen mobility, making much easier to take self portraits ;) It also protects the screen, which is really important to me. The camera is a little big and bulky, but the extra options make up for it. It is a great camera for point and shoot photography, very easy to use, but also has the extra options to play around with if you have time.

  • 3.0 out of 5
too comlicated software is confusing (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I have had several problems with my A85. I cannot get the image to appear in the screen area and I am having trouble downloading phots to my computer. HELP!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Loved it till it stoped working (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

DONT BUY FROM REFURB DEPOT!!!!!!!!!!!This camera rocks, it is awsome takes great pics, but I got it from refurb depot and the next day it wouldnt turn on. I tried to get ahold of them and they always have this auto answering machine that says they are on some strange holiday and the date they are supposed to come back on always changes. plus the promise a warranty from the manufactorer and of course there isnt on! This camera ruled when it worked, soo buy it NEW

  • 5.0 out of 5
Love It (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Got this camera a week ago replacing a Minolta Dimage s414 which until I got this camera , I thought was a good camera , but in comparison, this canon walks all over it. Great shots, super color, and I absolutely love the video option, but would like to be able to edit the video to be able to take longer than 3 mins, especially on a lets say 1GB flash card, Anyway, very easy controls, user friendly, a lot lighter than my previous camera, wish the zoom would be like 5x though.
For those of you complaining about battery life you need to get the high end expensive , I think they are called titanium, platinum, something like that....rechargable camera batteries, not the standard AA rechargeables.

Today I put newly charged batteries in my cam, went out , and took 200 photos and about 5 to 7 minutes of video, no problem the batteries are still working.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Good Intermediate Digital Camera (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I bought the A85 last year mainly because of the good combination of optical (3X) and digital zoom (upto 11X in combination with the optical zoom) and the ability to make movies with sound. It is good at 1028x768 resolutions although I am having some corrupted images at the max resolution, not figurd out yet if it is the memory card or the camera electronics which cause the problem. The Night picture mode is very good. It has exposure control etc. which is very good for a quasi-auto camera!

  • 5.0 out of 5
what more do you want (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

This is my second digital camera. I could not expect any more for a camera under $400.00.
If I were serious about photography, I might consider a camera with 6-10 mega pix, but for anything below an 8"x10" print, this does a fine job.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Nikon 4600 takes better picture and is more reliable (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

My girlfriend got a good deal on this camera on base. I recently bought a Nikon 4600. Canon cost $40.00 more. Picture quality can't compare to the 4600. Focus is softer. And to make matters worse it no longer functions after 2 weeks. We returned and she got a Nikon 4600. The Nikon is lighter and fits her hands better.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Disappointing focus quality (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

The Canon A85 has been disappointing from the day I purchased it. Pictures taken with any form of zoom are not properly focused. Pictures taken with the optical zoom is slightly out of focus when inspected closely. The digital zoom is not worth having as all photos are out of focus even with a tripod. I have not found a way of taking good pictures with this feature. It is more of a liability. Pictures taken without the use of zoom are quite good.

  • 5.0 out of 5
I love my camera (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

My grandparents got me this camera this year so that I could start my own photography business. I must say that my customers and I are pleased with the results. They are clear pics and good quality. I will never buy film again.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Makes outstanding pictures (anonymous — 07/18/2006)
Very impressed with results. Still exploring the features, like aperture priority and manual control so that I can play with light (I think that's what photography is all about). Little frustrated with batteries. The ones that came with the camera were gone after 7 or 9 shots the same evening. Rechargeable were almost the same after first charge. Hoping they will regain their strength. Shutter is little slow, you have to hold the camera after shutter released for a second. But overall I am very happy with A85.