The Micro Swift is possibly the smallest and lightest CCD FPV camera on earth. In this review we will have a look at the hardware quality, and how it compares to the regular Runcam Swift FPV camera in terms of image quality.
Update: There is a new version – Micro Swift 3!
Runcam is on fire recently: not long after they released the compact FPV camera Swift Mini, they are breaking the world record again with the Micro Swift! It only weighs at a shocking 5.6g! Don’t let the tiny form factor fool you, the Micro Swift have the same performance as the original Swift and Swift Mini.
There are smaller and lighter FPV cameras out there I know, but the micro Swift is a CCD camera while those “smaller” cameras are CMOS with old technology with very poor wide dynamic range performance.
The Micro Swift is available here: http://bit.ly/micro-swift
- 1/3″ SONY Super HAD II CCD
- 2.1mm Lens (M8)
- Input voltage: DC 5V-36V
- Weight: 5.6g
You can still change camera settings with OSD, great. However it doesn’t do VBAT OSD (displaying battery voltage in FPV Goggles) like it does with the Swift 2.
A Closer Look at the Micro Swift FPV Camera
It’s really hard to believe CCD FPV camera can be made this tiny! Not to mention the 6g weight reduction in the camera alone is pretty insane! I think it would be perfect for FPV micro quads, as well as ultra light racing drones (e.g. 4″ and 5″).
The light weight of Micro Swift comes at the cost of less protection to the camera. As you can see, the camera housing only covers the sensor but not the whole PCB. Another thing to be aware of is lack of water resistance due to the exposed PCB.
This reminds me of the “board cameras” we used back in 2015, which had similar design. Maybe the fashion is going backward :) but just smaller this time! Guess I will have to bring back the liquid tape too for our FPV cameras!
On the housing there is a mounting hole to fix the camera in a frame with tilt angle, just like an regular FPV camera. But the type of mounting solution is yet to be confirmed.
Update – 20 Apr 2017
We have confirmed the price of Swift Micro at $29.99 (before tax).
And today, the Swift Micro finally landed on my workbench. Even the box has gone micro! :)
The camera comes with
- 3x M2 screws for the side mounts
- 3x spare M1.7 screws for the lens/case (2 already installed)
- 1.25mm 3pin to 1.25mm 3pin FPV silicone cable
- 1.25mm 3pin to 1.0mm 3pin FPV silicone cable
I am a bit disappointed to see the lack of mounting solutions, such as a bracket mount. But I guess we will have to rely on 3D printing for now, and compatible mounting from frame manufacturers in the future.
The back of circuit board is protected by a plastic sheet (feels like PVC). It’s held in place by glue and 2 screws.
Comparing To Regular Swift and Mini
Before I even got hold of the Runcam Micro Swift, there had been speculation of the Micro using the same PCB as the Mini.
So the first thing I did was to to take it apart, and checked the weight and size of the printed circuit boards. It’s very easy to take apart the Micro Swift, there are only 2 screws holding the camera lens and case.
From left to right: Runcam Swift 2, Swift Mini, and Micro Swift.
As you can see, the boards looks nearly identical from appearance between Swift Mini and the Micro. And here are the weight differences across the Runcam Swift line.
|Regular Swift (1)
|26 x 26 x 30mm
|26 x 26 x 28.5mm
|22.3 x 22 x 27mm
|19 x 19 x 19mm
At this point, I am pretty sure the Micro is the same as the Mini apart from the smaller lens and reduced housing.
When I look closer at the sensor, I could see it’s well secured by a good amount of clear glue. Another good news is there is no dangling components in the camera.
On the left is the Mini, right is Micro. You can see the IR filter of the Mini is directly applied on the sensor, while the Micro is on the lens thus the missing “glass” on the sensor. Both cameras are IR Blocked.
Therefore the Micro Swift PCB are not interchangeable with the Mini.