In mid-May I bought an Argus Bean 5 MP camera from Best Buy. I was captivated by the industrial design and ruggedness of the camera. It can clip like a carabiner to a bag or belt loop, is weather resistant and has pretty simple controls. Though it is designed for kids, I thought it would make for a great knock-around camera for those times when I didn’t want to lug my DSLR with me. At $60, the price was definitely right as well.
It got a lot of looks for its design but I found out after taking numerous pictures that it must have a strange image sensor that scans somewhat slowly to acquire the image. I found this out because many of the pictures I took had wavy images likely caused by movement of my body when taking them. The images also had the “video” look to them rather than the nice still images you would get from a higher end camera.
If you don’t care about pictures that look a little like the fun house mirror, this camera is great. However, I like my pictures a bit more than that.
It is disappointing when the feature list and industrial design of product is so promising yet the core functionality and reliability betrays that design. Perhaps I just had a lemon (or maybe a lime given the color) but I hope somebody can make an inexpensive SD card capable knock-around camera like this that takes decent pictures. I may just have to accept my cell phone as that device though I would certainly hesitate to use it in dusty, sandy or wet conditions.
Moral of the story: When you design a product to stand out in price, features and industrial design, make sure it doesn’t disappoint when people use it.