Review – Runcam Sparrow Micro FPV Camera

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

New FPV camera from Runcam – The Sparrow series. There will be a full size one that is the same dimension as the Swift 2, and there will be a micro size one that is the same as the Micro Swift. In this review we will look at the Micro Sparrow.

Update (Mar 2018): There is a new version for this camera, the Micro Sparrow 2!

What’s special about the Sparrow?

The Sparrow is designed to be a low latency 16:9 CMOS FPV camera that provides decent quality video for day-time FPV. Price is going to be similar to the Swift.

The full size Sparrow camera will  have VBAT pin for displaying battery voltage on OSD, as well as built-in Mic. The Micro Sparrow doesn’t have any of these at this stage, but it’s perfect for smaller builds as it only weighs at 4.8g!

To learn more, check out our guide on FPV cameras.

Product Page: Runcam | Banggood

Spec

  • Same size as the Micro Swift, but the overall length is shorter, also 1g lighter. Weight: 4.8g
  • CMOS 16:9
  • NTSC/PAL switchable in the menu
  • Voltage Input: 5V – 36V (2S-8S compatible)
  • 2.1mm lens giving 145° FOV
  • Great for day time flying, but not designed for low light or night FPV

Unboxing

The Micro Sparrow comes in the same box and packaging as the Micro Swift 2, with a mounting bracket, M2 screws, silicone cable, and a OSD menu control.

Closer Look

The Micro Sparrow has the same dimension as the Micro Swift 2, but it’s a little shorter in length and lighter in weight. Runcam has also added metal inserts for stronger mounting.

Top: Micro Sparrow; Bottom: Micro Swift 2

Removing the lens and some close-up’s of the PCB and sensor.

Latency

As tested with my equipment, the latency of the Micro Sparrow is about 15ms, one of the fastest FPV camera out there at the moment. I think the full size Sparrow would have a latency similar to that figure since they use the same hardware and image processing algorithm.

Imagine Quality Testing

Here is the test video of the Micro Sparrow:

From the testing, the most impressive part for me is how good the colour is. It’s ridiculously close to reality, and the dynamic range is also very good IMO.

However the image looks a bit soft, but for those who dislike the Eagle’s image for being too sharp, you might like the Sparrow more, at least you won’t get digital artifacts that you would get in the Eagle when sharpness is set too high in the Sparrow.

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10 comments

Justin 16th October 2017 - 3:04 am

What is everyone doing with settings for this little dude? low light is killing me.

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Mattias 11th October 2017 - 8:31 am

Does anybody have an idea if it woud be possible to remove the ir-filter and use as a nightcam with infrared illumination?

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rcschim 5th October 2017 - 7:20 am

I like that with my new measurement (photodiode, osci, 10measurements then avg) I get the same numbers like you do:
youtu.be/gu5BIMrg-_k

I see this microcams being the standard size in a few month. larger cams will dissapear then. as I said: only downside – you cant use many of the replacement lenses that you might have collected over the time…

(funny: the robot question below was six*7 – where the answer is 42 – and as we all know – 42 is the answer to everything – Douglas Adams…)

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Oscar 5th October 2017 - 3:12 pm

Thanks RCShim :) Yea I think our latency measurements are getting more and more relatively consistent :)
I don’t see this cam getting a lot of love given so many other competitions, unless they make the Sparrow really cheap :)

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Jason H 17th September 2017 - 1:15 pm

What would the feed look like on 4:3 goggles? Thats all I have now but I want to future proof a little.

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JS 26th September 2017 - 10:45 pm

Since 4:3 cameras look horizontally stretched on my 16:9 goggles I figure it would be the opposite. A square Multi GP gate would look skinny and tall.

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xanuser 9th September 2017 - 4:22 am

Does it have flip feature? So stupid the micro does not!

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Oscar 10th September 2017 - 8:53 pm

no it doesn’t unfortunately. I agree they should have this feature on FPV cameras.

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Vu 7th September 2017 - 5:39 pm

Funny, we are going back to the days when we were using bare board security camera. What is old is new again.

Any idea on the cost saving?

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Oscar 10th September 2017 - 8:49 pm

Yes we’ve reached the bottleneck in power for racing drones, weight saving is the next hype :)
The cost would be similar to a Swift.

Reply