"Green Bean" camera at Best Buy--Any Opinions?

I saw this camera in the Best Buy (a US electronics retailer) ad today, and thought it might be useful for muni–fairly tough, clips on the camelbak straps, etc. Anybody have one and willing to share an opinion? I’m always a little leery of taking one of our “good” digital cameras on a ride.

wow that SEEMs good with the price and stuff, havn’t tried it.:o

The reviews on the best buy site seem to be pretty favorable. It’s hard to argue with that price.

Looks like it’s definitely a step up from what I call a “cardboard camera,” those little disposable ones that shoot film, but it’s still a step down from a “real” camera, one that has a zoom lens and at least some controls over exposure.

In other words, sounds like a solid deal for the price. Especially if you want to give it to a 6-year old, and 87-year old, or shoot pics at the soccer game (the three reviews on the site). :slight_smile: I looked for product reviews elsewhere but didn’t see any, probably because it’s pretty new. Note the one review indicated it’s not very good for indoors, which was the impression I got from reading the specs. Still, for just carrying along on the trail, it should do a much better job than no camera, or a heavy, breakable camera.

For myself, I’ll still stick with something that has a zoom lens, manual controls and sound on the video (not sure if it has that). If you buy, I recommend getting an SD card and using a card reader to download your photos. The USB interface is 1.1, which is sloooooow.

Great find Pkittle, I’ve been looking for a durable and cheap digital camera and this looks perfect for my uses.

it says on the site “Movie mode captures video and audio”, so yeah your set.

The thing I’m curious about still is whether it has a tripod mount. I have one of those 6" tripods made out of Lego-like things that can twist around a tree branch, and if the two of them could work together, they’d make shooting quick-and-dirty muni vids pretty easy. I’m going to head over to Best Buy in a day or two and check it out in person. If I pick it up, I’ll report back.

Oh, and nice catch on the 1.1 USB, John. Yeah, that’d be a nice bottleneck!

Nothing about that camera says tripod to me. Then again, I’m not even sure which way is up on it. I think it’s shown right-side up in the Best Buy picture though. I’ll be surprised if there’s a tripod mount on there, but then there’s always duct tape… :slight_smile:

Hmm, and you’re missing the next-best feature if you don’t have a tripod handy; a flat bottom on the camera. You could maybe use one of those beanbag non-pods, but your best bet with that camera might be to tie it to something or hang it.

Sorry to bump another camera thread to the top of RSU, but did anybody here try one of these in the end? It’s sort of on topic because I only really use my camera for taking pictures while out unicycling.

My little camera (a Sony U30) is getting more and more unreliable (long story, but I think it’s a bad contact to the CCD/lens unit - works for a bit if you hit it, then dies - I’ve taken the case off and mended it a few times but it always konks out again before long).

Anyway, I’m not a “photographer” (I’m married to one though, so I can borrow kit to take fancy pictures if I need it). My camera needs to be rugged (and preferably waterproof to a degree), small and cheap, for taking snaps rather than trying to win any art prizes. I’m not worried about not having a zoom lens if it means better ruggedness and lower price. The Sony has been excellent - quite cheap (I paid about £30 secondhand a few years ago), reliable until recently and takes nice pictures. It’s not waterproof, so I keep it in a case rather than just shoving in my pocket (it’s often wet here).

The bean looks like it might be a good replacement - costs about £40 here, so not too expensive, looks like it should be nice and rugged, possibly even quite damp-proof even without a case. I wonder what the picture quality is like though.


Here’s a cheapie that looks like it can be immersed up to 12’:
8x digital zoom, which to me means don’t use it.

Better yet, here’s a listing of weatherproof and underwater cameras from Steve’s Digicams, one of my favorite places to get detailed info. about cameras:
Note the dates on the reviews and ignore stuff that’s too old. Or, if you like the older models, search for them on eBay or similar. Looks like Olympus has the most choices. My first digital was an Olympus, and it was great (for the time). Also my film cameras before that were all Olympus as well. This one may be more than you need, but it looks pretty great for the price.

Thanks for the reply John… but I think you’ve misunderstood my definition of cheap :slight_smile:

There are certainly some nice weatherproof compact cameras (although they’re all quite big these days compared to my old U30) with lots of nice features, but they’re WAY over the price I would consider spending on a camera for my purposes. That’s what looks attractive about the bean - very cheap and simple, but looks (in pictures) like it would survive without mollycoddling. Something with a pokey-out zoom lens would very soon get ruined by damp and grit where I usually ride.


I ended up receiving the Bean camera for Father’s Day last June, and I’ve taken to clipping it to whatever bag I happen to be carrying (messenger bag for work, camelbak for muni, etc.) so I’ll have a camera handy should the need arise. It’s proven very handy, and it takes decent shots, too (although I’m not, and am not married to, a photographer, so “decent” is from my lay perspective). I like how easy it is to clip and unclip from the camelbak shoulder strap–mine has little sewn-on loops–so I can snap a shot quickly. It also has a burst-shot mode, so you can get action shots that way and not worry as much about shutter lag.

The bad? This is my first digital camera without a viewfinder, and the small screen washes out in bright sunlight. So that means that, in the typical bright sunlight of northern California, it’s not always easy to tell if you’re framing the picture right.

But for the $45 my wife paid for it on sale, I’d say it’s a hell of a deal. I’m sorry I can’t report much on its durability, except to say I don’t worry about it; I haven’t slammed it or anything, so don’t know if it really is as rugged as it looks. But at this price, I’m not too concerned.

Thanks for that Peter. There’s no viewfinder on my little Sony either, so I’m used to that. I agree that it can be a bit hard to see the screen in bright light, but it’s not that much of a problem for taking casual snaps.

Have you ever got yours wet? That’s one thing that would make a big difference to me if it could be left dangling on the camelbak strap and not have to worry about rain (we get a lot of that here!)

There don’t seem to be any shops selling them here, so I’d have to buy one blind online, but it sounds like it would probably be good for what I want, and cheap enough not to be a disaster if it does get broken.


I haven’t had any incidents with rain (yet). But I live someplace with maybe 45 days of rain a year, so it’s not really an issue for me. I can’t remember what the documentation said about water, either. Scratch that, I just checked, and there’s nothing in the manual about it being waterproof or water resistant. That said, the likely suspects–where the usb cable plugs in, and the SD card slot–are both fitted with pretty thick rubber gasket-type covers, so would be unlikely, imho, to leak if exposed to some rain. How much it could tolerate, though, is unclear to me; a downpour would probably encourage me to put it in the bag rather than dangle it from the strap.

I did a little research for anyone interested in the camera. Apparently it is indeed water resistant but not to the point where you are able to submerge it for any extended period of time.

Heres someones rafting pictures taken on it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themaven/sets/72157605750253124/

Thanks Brian. I had a look around the web but didn’t really find anything useful - that’s the type of thing I wanted to hear/read.

I think if I was going to buy one I’m going to have a bit of a problem finding a UK dealer though. Apparently the battery is a built-in lithium one, so presumably needs the bespoke charger, which may not be available in 240v form if it’s a US-only product. That news about water-resistance has made me quite keen though, so probably worth trying to track down an importer (or a charger).

@Peter: does the charger with your Bean say anything about mains voltage range? I suppose I could be lucky and it could be universal.


It could charge through the USB connection too, which would mean you wouldn’t need a separate charger. The charger for my cheap-as-chips satnav exploded while we were on holiday, but as it can be powered through the USB socket (either from a computer or a USB power adaptor thingy) I can still use it.

I found the Bean manual (on arguscamera.com - obvious really :o) and it does say it can be charged through USB. No mention of any foreign (i.e. non-US) market versions or distributors though.

It also says the video DOES have sound, which is a bonus.