Review: Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera – Moving Away From FPV?

by Oscar
Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera

Hawkeye has released another compact HD camera, the Thumb 2. Featuring similar specifications to the 4K Thumb, it offers 4K 30fps video capabilities and supports Gyroflow stabilization. However, my experience suggests that the Hawkeye Thumb 2 might not be the best fit for FPV drone applications.

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Where to Buy?

You can purchase the Hawkeye Thumb 2 camera from these vendors:

Included in the box, you’ll find:

  • A manual
  • A cap mount
  • A neck mount

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Unbox Accessories

Specifications

  • Sensor: SONY 12MP
  • Field of View: FOV 170 degrees
  • Video Resolution:
    • 4K 50/30FPS
    • 2.5K 4:3 50/30FPS
    • 2.5K16:9 50FPS
    • 1080P 50/30FPS
    • Note: 4K 50FPS does not support Gyroflow stabilization, all others do
  • Video Format: mp4/H.265
  • TV Out: PAL/NTSC with a latency of 40ms
  • USB Port: Type-C
  • Battery Life: Up to 100 minutes
  • Additional Features:
    • AV out support
    • RC remote control capability
    • WiFi preview functionality
    • SD Card support: 8-256GB (U1 or above)
    • Power Supply: DC 5-23V
    • Size: 53×23×22mm
    • Weight: 34.5g
    • Max Current: 550mA@5V

What Changed from the Thumb V1?

The Hawkeye Thumb 2, measuring 52.5 x 23 x 21.7 mm and weighing 34g, comes with an integrated 1S 620mAh LiPo battery. This battery allows for up to 100 minutes of recording at 1080p without WiFi, according to the manufacturer.

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Lens

It supports a phone app connected via WiFi for previewing, video recording playback, camera control, and settings adjustment, offering flexibility similar to that of a GoPro in terms of camera parameter adjustments.

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Back

Notably, the Thumb 2 now includes a built-in battery, enhancing its versatility for everyday filming—not just for FPV. The camera can be charged using a USB-C connector or through DC input (5 to 23V). Its casing is magnetic, facilitating easy attachment to the included mounts. However, unlike the Insta360 Go, it is not water-resistant due to the cooling holes in the housing.

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Connectors Usb C Betaflight Flight Controller Power Shutter Button

Additionally, the camera can connect to a flight controller (FC) via a UART port and be controlled from radio switches through Betaflight, although the necessary cable is not included.

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Sd Card Slot

The lens is compatible with the Thumb V1, meaning you can use ND filter from the previous camera.

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera Nd Filter

Why The Thumb 2 Isn’t For FPV?

The Hawkeye Thumb 2 seems to be targeted more towards general usage rather than pure FPV drone applications.

First off, the accessories included with the Thumb 2 remind me of those provided with the Insta360 GO 2, such as mounts for caps or neck. Honestly, these types of mounts often produce shaky footage with unpredictable angles, and in my experience, they’re not practical for capturing quality video. Additionally, unlike the GO 2 or GO 3, the Thumb 2 lacks water resistance, reducing its versatility for outdoor activities.

The built-in battery allows you to use this camera on its own, unlike the Thumb V1 which requires additional power from the drone. However, this design change results in a heavier and bulkier camera, which is less than ideal for smaller FPV drones. Having a battery also means you need to charge it every 30-40 minutes to avoid shutting down mid air when it runs out of juice. The good news is you can connect it to an external power source to keep it powered all the time, but it doesn’t come with this cable!

While there is a port for connecting the camera to a flight controller—allowing control through your radio via Betaflight—the absence of the necessary cable in the package suggests that FPV pilots might not be the primary audience Hawkeye had in mind for this product.

Image Quality

In the first part of my test video, I was holding the camera in my hand while walking. Despite applying Gyroflow stabilization, it’s still quite wobbly—I think my phone’s built-in stabilization performs better. That said, the color, sharpness, and overall image quality are commendable.

In the second part of the test, I strapped the camera to my 3″ quad using a zip tie due to the lack of 3D printed mount (same drone i used to test the Thumb V1). The footage was highly susceptible to “jello”. Using the default FOV setting in Gyroflow, the black edges remained visible in the stabilized video—unlike my footage from the DJI O3 and Walksnail, which allows zooming out to 1.1 or even 1.2 without showing black edges. If you zoomed in to get rid of all the black edges, the FOV is just too narrow.

Overall, it just feels like this camera doesn’t work that well with Gyroflow.

Conclusion

Hawkeye Thumb 2 Camera

If you’re looking for a standalone 4K camera for non-FPV filming and not picky about image quality, the Thumb 2 is a decent, budget-friendly alternative to the Insta360 GO 2 and GO 3. However, its performance with Gyroflow is subpar, resulting in inadequate stabilization and excessive cropping.

You can purchase the Hawkeye Thumb 2 camera from these vendors:

For FPV pilots, I recommend sticking with the original Hawkeye Thumb camera. It’s cheaper, lighter, includes the necessary cables, is less prone to jello, offers similar image quality, and works better with Gyroflow.

See my review of the Hawkeye V1 here: https://oscarliang.com/hawkeye-thumb-4k-camera/

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1 comment

grabejud 29th April 2024 - 3:40 am

Thanks for this review oscar, you save me from gerting one. Might as well save and get a go3 than this wanna be go2.

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