The Foxeer Predator FPV camera is a new high performance, CMOS FPV camera. In this review we will take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Predator Mini and compare it to the Eagle 2 Pro.
There have been debates in the community about whether the Predator is better than the Runcam Eagle 2 Pro or the other way round,
Update (28/May/2018): Foxeer has just released an V2 upgrade to this camera.
After testing these cameras I believe the answer is very much a personal preference. There are certain areas the Predator FPV camera performs better and worse than the Eagle 2, let’s take a look at these differences in our testing.
Further Reading: How to choose FPV Camera?
Foxeer Predator Mini vs Micro
Foxeer offers two camera sizes for the Predator camera, the Mini and the Micro. To my understanding the two variants uses the same hardware from image sensor to processor, and should produce the same image quality.
The main differences are the size, weight, mounting and the lens. The Predator Micro is lighter and smaller (5.5g vs 8.7g), therefore is better suited for light weight builds. But at the same time the PCB is more exposed and there is less protection to the camera in crashes. Note that the lens on the Micro offers a wider field of view (FOV) compared to the Mini, but possibly slightly lower image quality.
In this review I am only testing the Foxeer Predator Mini, but I would expect very similar result from the Micro.
The Predator Mini and Micro only support 4:3 aspect ratio, which might be a disappointment to owners of 16:9 FPV Goggles.
Unlike those CMOS sensors camera from Runcam, where you can select NTSC or PAL easily in the settings, it’s fixed in the Predator and you can only choose when buying the camera.
Here is a comparison table between the specs of the Predator Mini and the Eagle 2 Pro FPV cameras. Although I do prefer the Eagle 2 for its better low light performance and decreased digital artifacts in the picture, I will compare it to the latest Pro version.
|Predator||Eagle 2 Pro|
|Size||21.8 x 21.8mm||28 x 28mm|
|Voltage Input||5V – 40V||5V – 36V|
|FOV||112° (2.5mm), 145° (1.8mm)||140° in 4:3, 170° in 16:9|
|Aspect Ratio||4:3||4:3 & 16:9 selectable|
The Predator Mini comes with the following accessories:
- Metal mounting bracket
- Mounting adapter
- OSD controller for changing camera settings
- Silicone cable
- Instruction manual
- Various screws and washers
Closer Look at the Foxeer Predator FPV Camera
The Predator camera has a shiny-finished plastic housing, and Foxeer offers 5 different colours so you can better match it with your build: red, purple, black, blue and grey.
It has “VSen” input, which basically is for monitoring the voltage of your battery and displaying that voltage in the OSD.
When changing settings in the OSD, it’s not as easy as I expected. The values change so slowly even when I am holding the button.
I wish Foxeer could add a dedicated GND (ground) pin for the OSD dongle (control), or even a separate connector or it. When you connect a 3-pin connector for VCC, GND and Vin, you can no longer access the OSD pin because it’s obstructed by the 3-pin connector. You have to use the cable provided with the camera that breaks out the OSD control pins, but it’s a male to male cable (SMH)… it really isn’t user-friendly at all.
Here is how you can make a DIY OSD ground breakout cable.
It’s the same old issue I have been telling Foxeer to address since the era of the HS1177.
Two screws holes on each side with metal inserts.
Size comparison with the Runcam Swift Mini and Owl.
With the mounting adapter, you can install the Predator just like a standard size FPV camera such as the HS1177 or Swift.
It also comes with a mounting bracket.
Taking the camera apart reveals the PCB, notice the glue covering the base of the image sensor, this makes the sensor less likely to fall off in a crash.
Here are some close up shots of the PCB, I am surprised by how small this board is compared to some other cameras I have seen, given the excellent performance :)
Here is the instruction manual.
The Foxeer Predator is one of the fastest cameras I have tested in terms of delay.
The average latency is only about 15ms, which is 10ms faster than the Runcam Eagle 2 Pro, or 12ms faster than the Foxeer Arrow.
Latency is the same in both the Micro and Mini.
Here is the full result of the latency test.
Comparing to the Eagle 2 Pro, the Foxeer Predator has a more saturated and contrasty image. great image detail and sharpness, yet it doesn’t have the digital noise, artifacts, and shimmering you would get with the Eagle. I just love what I am seeing from my Goggles.
The FOV is smaller on the Predator than the Eagle 2 Pro’s 140° in 4:3 mode. The Eagle 2 Pro would have an even larger FOV in 16:9 mode, 170°! But not everyone like wider FOV and you might prefer the Predator, it’s all personal preference!
The Predator seems to handle strong sun light better, for example you can see the clouds around the Sun clearly.
However the Eagle 2 Pro has a much better WDR (wide dynamic range) than the Predator, especially in showing shadow detail. Also, the Predator seems to be affected by sun glare a lot more than the Eagle 2 Pro.
The Predator is not for low light or night FPV. It doesn’t have black and white mode even in extremely low light, and it performed poorly at night in my testing.
There is no clear winner for me, each camera excels at certain areas. Check our the comparison video and decide for yourself.
Comparison to other Micro FPV Cameras
My Predator Settings
Here is my preferred setting, which I used in my testing as shown in the video.
- Brightness – 115
- Contrast – 135
- Sharpness – 165
- Hue – 90
- Color Gain – 135
- Brightness – 120
- Contrast – 138
The settings are pretty limited, and I think it’s best to leave Hue and Color Gain at default otherwise the colour will look kind of funny.
Also when you flip the image vertically, the OSD menu doesn’t flip with it, so if you decide to mount the camera the other way round, you will be looking at the OSD menu upside down which is not ideal.
Conclusion – is the Predator for you?
The great image detail and super low latency makes the Foxeer Predator a close to perfect camera for racing, but get the Predator Micro, the lens on the Mini has serious sun glare issues caused by the lens. Also, lighter and smaller is always better :) I personally prefer the 1.8mm lens, the FOV provided by the 2.5mm lens is simply too narrow for me.
For freestyle and day to day flying I still prefer the Eagle 2, the outstanding WDR capability is crucial for seeing the environment clearly, especially if you fly in the shade on a sunny day. The better performance in low light is also a great bonus.
Issue: Predator camera incompatible with the Fatshark HD3 Goggles?
It’s been reported that the Foxeer Predator only shows black and white image in the Fatshark HDv3 FPV Goggles. This is a very weird problem because the Goggles don’t pick up the colour image but the DVR does.
I don’t have a Fatshark HD3 to verify the issue, but this is the only display equipment that is affected as far as i know.
Reportedly this is an issue in the display driver or design in the Fatshark HD3 goggles, Foxeer had been working on the issue proactively and I’ve been told that the new batches of the cameras from early January 2018 should have fixed this problem.