Runcam is dropping yet another new HD camera to the FPV market – The Runcam 5! After testing it a few days now, I really think it has the potential to be BIG! Thanks to Runcam for sending me a prototype unit for the review.
GoPro is no longer making the Session 5, we are all wondering which HD action camera is going to take over the FPV market. The new Hero 7 Black looks sweet especially with the new Hypersmooth feature, but it’s so damn expensive and fragile to crash.
For under $100, the Runcam 5 follows the same form factor as the Session 5, and it’s capable of recording 4K 30FPS and 2.7K 50FPS. Maybe it’s the answer?
Note: The unit I have is a prototype, there might be changes to the specs and features in the final production.
Where to Buy?
What Happened to Runcam 4?
They did release the Runcam 4 earlier this year, and I did a review on it.
But they decided to use it for the airsoft market, and not to push it to the FPV market. That’s probably why you haven’t heard much about it. Anyway I do think it makes a pretty good choice for airplanes and wings due to the aerodynamic shape.
Runcam 5 Features and Specs
Here are the specs of the Runcam 5 action camera:
- Video Resolutions:
- Field of View (FOV) 145°
- Video File Format MOV
- Supports microSD Card Up to 128GB
- Battery Capacity 950mAh
- Dimension 38*38*36mm
- Weight: 55.5g
Note that the Runcam 5 does not support WiFi, and the battery is not removable.
It’s great that the Runcam 5 is the exact same size as the Session 5, which means all the 3D printed TPU mounts created for the Session will work on the Runcam 5 too.
Closer Look at the Runcam 5
The camera will be available in black. I do hope they offer other colors as well or I will have a difficult time searching for the camera if I crash :)
Same size as the Session 5, and it has built-in tempered glass for protection.
There is a micro USB port on the side for charging and connecting to a computer. As you can tell, it’s not a waterproof design.
Similar to the Runcam 3S, you can use the Runcam 5 as the FPV camera. The video out signal comes out of the Micro USB port. You can also power it through the Micro USB port with 5V to 15V DC so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery.
On the other side, there is the SD card slot which is protected by a sliding door. This is a much better design than the covers in the Runcam 3/3S.
Although it claims to support up to 128GB SD cards, I was having trouble getting my SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB to work. I formatted the card inside the camera but it didn’t want to record. I swapped it out with a Samsung Evo 32GB which seems to work fine.
To learn what SD card you need, see my tutorial.
There is a tiny hidden button above the SD card slot, for SD card formatting as well as camera hard reset.
There is only one push button which is located on the top, with a color status LED right next to it.
Although Superview isn’t mentioned in the specs (well they can’t really, because GoPro owns the patent), but I believe the equivalent effect is totally achievable now thanks to the newly added 1440p 4:3 resolution. That’s one reason why I think the Runcam 5 is going to do well!
Right now, there are two possible ways we can achieve “Superview” on the Runcam 5:
- custom firmware
- video editor
I will do a tutorial on how to create Superview on the Runcam 5 in the near future.
Changing Camera Settings
Since there is no screen in the Runcam 5, and they have removed the WiFi module due to space limitation, the only way you can change camera settings is through a text file on the SD card.
By plugging in the USB cable, you can access the SD card in the camera. The settings are stored in a file called “CameraConfig.ini”.
You can open the file in a text editor. It should feel familiar enough as it’s a bit like playing with CLI in Betaflight. All the setting options are listed in this file.
However this is quite counter intuitive, so Runcam made online app where you can change the settings on a graphic user interface. You can then download the file to replace the one in the SD card.
It’s not the end of the world as we don’t change camera settings that often.
But still, I do find it inconvenient as you can only do it when you have access to a computer. The good news is, Runcam is working on a new exciting method for changing settings, which won’t require a computer or cable. I am not allowed to say much right now, but it’s an exciting feature and I will keep you all updated.
Runcam has already uploaded the manual describing in detail how the camera works.
There is an option in the camera settings to change video quality which basically changes video bitrate and file size.
|High Quality||M Quality||L Quaity||Codec|
* Update (15 April): Runcam decided to remove 4K 50FPS.
How Long Does Battery Last?
- 1080p – 90mins
- 4K – 60mins
I’ve done some initial testing, all I can say is the image quality is awesome :D I am helping Runcam to tweak a few things so it’s pointless to show you right now. It’s going to be different in the final production.
Here is my first flight with the Runcam 5. I filmed at 1440p (4:3 format) and stretched it to 16:9. Looks pretty good I have to say.
Edit: I was told there is some tiny stuttering with the last video, so I uploaded a different video with 30FPS. Because the raw footage is 60FPS, my video editor can only export 50FPS maximum, maybe that’s causing some issues. It had nothing to do with the camera.
Comparing to Session 5
I get asked many times how does the Runcam 5 compare to the Session 5, and that I should do a side by side comparison. I will do that in the near future, but I can tell you right now, the Runcam 5 is still not as good as the Session 5.
The biggest disadvantage is the smaller FOV. Although the gap in Image quality is closing, the GoPro has more neutral color, and you don’t have to fake Superview… However sharpness is just as good as the GoPro if not better.
I guess GoPro charges $300-$400 a camera for a reason!
But the Runcam 5 is definitely an improvement from the previous releases. And it’s actually something I would personally use a lot more for my future videos. Especially the long range stuff!
Why is it impossible for an FPV company to make a camera that is as good as the GoPro?
Well… GoPro has millions of users, Runcam probably only has a few thousands… (think about how big the FPV market is). Now can you imagine how much each of these companies can invest in R&D?
It’s a mathematical problem that passion cannot solve.
By the way, Runcam just sent me a new firmware today, I will test it this weekend.
What is “XV” in the List of Resolutions?
In the config file you see 1080p@60fps, and 1080p@60fps (XV). “XV” basically means wider vertical FOV.
Non-XV resolutions, like the 1080p@60fps, take the image from the 4:3 sensor, and crop the top and bottom to make a 16:9 image. XV resolutions take the image from the whole sensor in 4:3, and stretch it to 16:9, so you get more vertical FOV.
It’s the first step in achieving Superview, but the stretch is linear so it won’t look totally like Superview. The real Superview effect stretches the image “non-linearly”, leaving the center of the image less distorted.
May 2019 Update
The Runcam 5 was set to be released in end of April, but it’s now end of May and there is still nothing. I checked with Runcam and they told me they are working on a new feature – changing settings by scanning QR code on your mobile phone, so the users don’t need access to a computer to change settings. They don’t want to release a half finished product, which is respectable.
Edit: On the 8th of Jun 2019, Runcam is now finally taking pre-order.
- Apr 2019 – Runcam 5 revealed
- Jun 2019 – Finally released, added links to product page