Yesterday was a pretty good day for my kid – outside of annoying the hell outta me with the never-ending chorus of summer (Moooooommmmm, I neeeeeeeeed….) and ultimately causing me to tell him to get off my @$$ – in not so many words or symbols. That aside, he picked up some new loot. He’s about to go on vacation, and I thought he needed a couple of things to take with him.
First, he got a new camera. I tried this once before, and frankly, it was a flop. My bad. I thought I’d researched it well enough, but boy was I wrong. While I was enthralled with the ol’ Fisher-Price fake-o with the plastic rotating flash bulb.
This is the technological age, and my kid was just not impressed with his small digital thingie that had a teeny tiny LCD screen that showed a pretty grainy image that wasn’t in full color if the batteries weren’t BRAND FREAKIN’ NEW. Yeah, that effort didn’t take.
I have better hopes for the new camera, especially once he sees the pictures on the big screen of the computer and printed out for his photo book (btw, Honey, we need to make him a photo book from his vacation as SOON as he gets back!). The new camera is an Argus Bean 5MP (variety green, thank you). Now, I know that (a) 5 MP doesn’t sound like a lot and that (b) 5 MP sounds like a lot of $$ for a kid’s camera, but keep in mind that my first hi-fi digital that took HOLY WOW!! pictures –and honestly, still takes good pics– was 1 MP. Yes, 1 MP. And it cost almost a grand (of someone else’s money, hello!). So, ya know, 5 MP is pretty dang good. Throw in that I picked up this little gem for a mere $60+tax (sale, Best Buy), and suddenly, it sounds a whole lot better. And to whip the crap out of that other crappy camera (that was nearly the same price because Disney likes to screw parents with their pants on), it also sports a 1.5″ LCD screen.
The Argus sports its own rechargeable lithium battery, which is very nice. We use rechargeables for darn near everything anyway, but they do die out and batteries are heavy. Hopefully this battery will have a good life, and hopefully I will remember to plug it in slightly more than I can remember to plug in my cell phone. It comes with a wall charger, though, which is a step above many others I’ve seen that come with their own rechargeable battery but require plugging into the computer for charging (not so convenient when camping); however, it will, of course, also charge when hooked up via USB to the computer. In added coolness, the USB cable also has the RCA leads attached to the same cable, making it one less cable to lose/store/find and giving you the ability to plug it into the TV/DVD player, etc., at grandma’s and view a slideshow.
Speaking of slideshows, you can also view a slideshow on the camera itself, and you can have a more than 10-pic slideshow because it uses a standard SD card and not crappy internal memory. And with that memory card, you’ll also have plenty of space for the video files you can make with it too. There are options for a date/timestamp and taking pics in color, sepia, and monochrome. Unlike Argus’ Bean Sprout designed for kids (read: very young kids/cheaper price tag), the Bean 5MP also has a flash. Having a flash used up that space for a viewfinder, so the LCD is the viewfinder; this will decrease battery life, but come on, like that tiny viewfinder ever got you a decent picture anyway.
In the con category, I will say that the flash is, um, bright! And actually, that’s great for distance pictures, but it’s rough on the closeups. In fact, the focus of this camera isn’t so good for closeups, period. It just won’t sinch down that tightly. For a kid, though, that’s kinda perfect because he isn’t going to get that crazy close to anything anyway. It does also offer a 4X zoom, albeit digital – but what do you want for $60? The battery could be a downer, but for now, the weight is a good trade-off. The videos are grainy if you’re shooting at a distance (and not using the zoom), but I captured the kid sailing past on his scooter and honestly, I thought it did a better job capturing his motion without all the seasick-shakiness that I usually get on the expensive video camera. I think it will be sufficient for his use for sure.
Without a doubt, I have 2 favorite things about this camera: First, it is light as a feather and small in my hands. I mean, ridiculously so. It is so light that I almost feel like I’m going to drop it or fling it into the air when I’m holding it, but that means it is PERFECT for the youngster. The lack of weight also combines with my second favorite thing, the carbiner clip handle, to make it just outstanding for on-the-go. I hooked it to a lanyard, dropped it around the kid’s neck, and he took off on his scooter with it, stopping to take pictures along the way. I then went for a 20-minute walk with him while wearing it around my own neck – being reasonably sensitive to weight around my neck, mind you, and it didn’t bother me a bit.
And really, the best testimonial I can possibly give are these shots by my son – angles I’ll treasure and certainly never would have found (or been allowed to find) myself:
And this one, by me:
If you’re looking for a decent digital for your elementary school kid or even teen on the go, the Argus Bean 5MP is a great option.
…and did I mention that he also got a new scooter? 😀