Review – Runcam Eagle CMOS FPV Camera

We are testing the new Runcam Eagle FPV camera, which is due to release end of July. We will also compare the performance of the Eagle to Swift, Owl-plus and Aomway 700TVL.

Thanks to Runcam for sending me the camera for testing. The camera I received is a prototype so the housing might look a bit rough.

Specification and New Features

  • Imaging Sensor: 1/18″ 16:9 CMOS
  • Resolution: 800TVL
  • Lens FOV: 130 degree
  • OSD menu for configuration: Yes
  • Min Illumination: 0.01Lux / 1.2F
  • WDR: Global WDR
  • Power Input: 5V-22V (2S – 5S)
  • Housing material: Magnesium Alloy
  • Weight: 16g
  • Dimension: 26mm x 26mm x 31mm

Runcam Eagle FPV camera silver orange colour housing

Metal Housing

The Runcam Eagle will be using light weight Magnesium Alloy instead of plastic, for better heat radiating and robustness (given how hard and often we crash :D ). The weight is 16g (Swift: 12.5g).

Runcam Eagle FPV camera side mounting holes

Runcam Eagle FPV camera back connector signal osd

16:9 Aspect Ratio

A lot of FPV goggles these days have aspect ratio of 16:9, however most of the good FPV cameras are 4:3, therefore the images would look stretched on those goggles. The Eagle’s respect ratio would be great for those users. However it would look squashed on 4:3 display.

Runcam Eagle FPV camera 4 by 3 16 by 9 aspect ratio

The FOV is also different compared to the Swift because of this. FOV is 130 degree, but horizontal FOV has gone up 12 degree while vertical FOV reduced by 7 degree.

CMOS and Global WDR

The Runcam Eagle uses CMOS sensor.

It was almost like common sense to us when picking FPV cameras, “CCD is a must”. Runcam told me that this is no longer the case. CMOS is a newer technology and it’s getting better and better.

What’s interesting is something they have developed, called Global WDR (wide dynamic range) which works even better than normal WDR. (Basically WDR allows the camera to see well when objects in the same picture have wide range of lighting conditions)

Runcam Eagle FPV camera global WDR

Size/Dimension

Width and height are the same as the Swift/HS1177, but has a slightly longer body. The Lens also appears to be bigger, similar to the Owl-Plus.

Runcam Eagle FPV camera top comparing to swift owl plus Runcam Eagle FPV camera lens comparing to swift owl plus

Testing and Review (Updating)

Performance Comparison

In the first test, I was comparing the performance between Runcam Eagle, Swift, Owl-Plus and the Aomway 700TVL (also CMOS). All camera had their WDR enabled, with maximum sharpness everything else left at default. (The Aomway cannot change settings)

Here is the comparison video:

Flight Test

In the second test, I mounted the Eagle on my Hibernagen 5″ quad and see how it performs.

Runcam Eagle FPV camera mounted on Hibernagen 5 mini quad Runcam Eagle FPV camera mounted on Hibernagen 5 mini quad front

Weather is a bit cloudy on the day of testing.

Runcam Eagle FPV camera flight testing environment

Here is the flight test video:

Impression

From the first test, colour looks really good and realistic on the Eagle. WDR is also excellent even better than the IR version of the Swift. When the camera is facing the sun or bright sky, the camera isn’t blinded at all, yet everything on the ground is still perfectly visible, very impressive.

The Runcam Eagle works great at day light and low light, but not as good as the Swift or Owl-plus at night.

Runcam Eagle FPV camera global WDR facing sun sky

Horizontal FOV looks really large on my Fatshark Dominator V2 goggles (4:3). Not a problem when I am flying straight, but whenever I do flips the sky and ground looks much larger, and it’s hard to judge my orientation. Maybe this is just something I need to get used to because of the different camera FOV, will report back after a few more flights. It looks less of a problem when I stretch it into a 16:9 video though.

Latency is about 49ms (Official Result from Runcam is 45ms), PZ0420 is only around 10ms – 20ms.

Jello and Vibration: Not sure if it’s the CMOS sensor (due to rolling shutter effect), Jello was more visible on the Eagle than the Swift (I tested both cameras on the same quad). It’s not a problem with my well tuned mini quad and new props, but as soon as I crashed a couple of times and bashed my props, I start getting jello in my video. You can even see the more visible vibration in the first test video, where I am holding the camera by hand.

Conclusion

Good

  • Global WDR – works really well
  • Great realistic colour
  • Exposure
  • Metal housing – more crash resistant

Bad

  • 48ms of Latency
  • 3g heavier than Swift (not such a big deal for most people)
  • susceptible to Jello
  • Not great at night

Update (18/Jul/2016)

The engineers informed me that they have made some improvements on night vision ability. Still not quite as good as the Owl-plus, but very close now and much better than the Swift IR version. The “Eagle beta” version is what I tested.

runcam swift owlplus eagle night vision comparison 1 runcam swift owlplus eagle night vision comparison 2

Update (14/Sep/2016) – 4:3 Version

Finally Runcam listened and created the 4:3 aspect ratio version! I went out and tested it right away and it’s really impressive. Excellent wide dynamic range and realistic, nice looking colour. It’s made FPV somehow more enjoyable for me and it’s now one of my favourite cameras.

12 thoughts on “Review – Runcam Eagle CMOS FPV Camera

  1. Mike

    I also purchased Runcam Eagle 16:9 and installed on Vortex 285. Picture extremely grainy with very pronounce aliasing. Tried reducing sharpness and edge detail with poor results. I don’t recommend this camera.

    Reply
  2. Jorge

    Hi Oscar, I read all your reviews before purchasing any product. However I am very displeased with this Eagle Cam. Worst Ive ever used. I have distortion, flickering lines. Tried it with other vtx and same results.
    Seems like a frequency issue but I think is simply the hardware.
    Going back to Foxeer. The image might not be as good but at least they’re more reliable.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I think the Eagle has probably been the most controversial product :) Some people love it, some hate it…
      I don’t know what to say, I personally find it one of the best cam I have ever used. I can only suggest to play around with the settings see if that improves the performance for you. I was quite happy with default settings where I fly.

      Reply
  3. enrique lazaro

    Hi Oscar,
    I just got this camera (Feb 2017) and was very disappointment with the performance in default settings. I flew in a cloudy day and the image was extremely color noisy, lot’s of grain and low contrast which game me really no confidence when flying. I came from a Foxeer Arrow V2 which I loved.

    Any tips on how to modify the settings? Or am I just better off returning and going back to getting a replacement for the Arrow V2 that I broke.

    Thanks again for all your support and knowledge.

    Reply
      1. shadow

        “not really to be honest.. it’s like 20ms more than the swift i think… which is really tiny.”

        Which camera are you referring to in regard to latency? The 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio?

  4. Andrey Mironov

    How’s the compatibility with MinimOSD? My RunCam Sky (650TVL) is horrendoes with the OSD, dim and flickering.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      yea it works great…
      Dim and flickering it sounds like it’s a ground issue, how is your OSD connected to camera and VTX? and where it’s getting power from?

      Reply
    2. Jan Rembold

      Little bit late, but might be helpful: github.com/ShikOfTheRa/scarab-osd/blob/master/OTHER/DOCUMENTATION/Camera%20compatibility

      Sky is not compatible with MinimOSD

      Reply

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