SONY DCR-SX85 HANDYCAM DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA RECORDER
Retail: $135.00 – $200.00
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, standard-definition video camera with an outstanding zoom capability, you cannot beat the Sony DCR-SX85.
It is a small, lightweight (about 8 ounces) video camera with a Carl Zeiss lens that produces crisp, clear high-resolution video, and it can fit neatly in the palm of your hand.
In terms of surveillance capability, this model has an amazing 70x optical zoom and 2000x digital zoom. With Sony Face Detection and Sony SteadyShot™ image stabilization enabled (and a monopod), you have a very powerful surveillance camera.
With the 16 GB internal memory you can choose from three recording modes: HQ (235 minutes), SP (340 minutes) and LP (715 minutes). Add a 32 GB memory card to the LP mode, and you’ll have about 1,405 minutes of video. Incidentally, I didn’t find much difference in the quality of video between HQ mode (the highest resolution) and LP mode.
Time and date stamp are provided, as well as a very simple operation: push to record, push to stop recording. Even starting the camera is a no-brainer – open the LCD screen, and the lens cap automatically opens, and the camera powers on. This is very convenient for PIs who need the camera on and ready to record in a matter of seconds. You can choose from two mode: MOVIE (for video) or PHOTO (for clear digital photographs).
No camera is perfect. On the downside, the included 30-minute battery is not sufficient for our line of work. I purchased an additional 5-hour battery, which has served me well. The other major problem is not so easily remedied. The camera lacks Sony NightShot™, making it difficult to provide video without available light.
Power cord, A/V connecting cable, USB connection cable, rechargable 30 minute battery, Sony PMB software and operating manual.
3 out of 4 stars An inexpensive, quality camera with crisp digital video for daytime use.
Scott B. Fulmer is a 20-year veteran private investigator and is president and CEO of Resolutis Investigations, a Texas-based firm specializing in surveillance. He writes about surveillance for Pursuit Magazine and other publications and posts a popular weekly blog here, and you can follow him on Twitter at @Resolutis.
Mr. Fulmer is available to speak to your group, seminar, or conference as a presenter or keynote speaker. He’s a decorated Gulf War veteran, holds a BA in criminal justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and resides in the Texas Hill Country with his beautiful wife, three very responsible teenagers, and a cat named Pepper. If you have any questions or investigative needs, contact him at (210) 520-0148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.