Review: Runcam Split Mini 2 FPV/HD Camera

The Runcam Split Mini has been a great camera for micro quads/drones recording 1080p 60fps HD footage. Now it’s just getting better with the Split Mini 2 which has only one PCB board and is even lighter!

Check out my HD camera buyer’s guide.

Where to Buy?

What’s Special about the Runcam Split Mini 2?

I really don’t know how Runcam managed to cram all those components onto a single piece of PCB, it’s amazing :)

The total stack height required is reduced significantly, meaning the Split Mini 2 will be compatible with a lot more 3″ and 2.5″ micro quad frames out there.

Beware that the Split Mini 2 camera PCB is slightly wider and thicker than the previous version.

  • Split Mini 2 : 29x29mm, 12.9g without any standoffs
  • Split Mini 1 : 27x27mm, 14.5g without any standoffs

See my review of the Split Mini 1.

Specifications of the Split Mini 2 HD/FPV Camera

  • Field of View (FOV) FPV 130° / Recording FOV 165°
  • Video Resolution [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]
  • Video File Format MOV
  • Image Resolution 2 MP
  • NTSC / PAL Switchable
  • Micro USB Connector
  • Supports Micro SD Card up to 64G (Require Class 6 or higher, Recommend Class 10 / UHS-I / UHS-II / UHS-III)
  • PCB Mounting Pattern: 20*20mm
  • Dimensions: PCB 29*29mm / camera width 19*19mm
  • Supports Input Voltage of 5V – 20V (2S to 4S)
  • Current Draw: 650mA @5V / 270mA @12V
  • Weight 12.9g

A Closer Look at the Split Mini 2 Camera

Accessories including:

  • Micro-to-full-size mounting bracket
  • Metal Cover for protecting the micro SD card
  • 1 Set of M2 screws
  • 3-PIN 1.25mm JST Silicone Cable (female)
  • 3-PIN 1.25mm JST Silicone Cable (male)
  • 3-PIN 1.0mm JST Silicone Cable
  • Manual

It comes with a metal cover for preventing the SD card from ejecting in a crash.

The ribbon cable is about 5cm long, which should be more than enough for most 3″ micro quadcopters.

It’s going to be a lot easier to install than the previous version which had 2 boards! There are two push buttons – Shutter and Mode, same as the last version.

The Runcam Split Mini 2 has the exact same connector between the PCB and camera module as the previous version. The camera modules are actually cross-compatible between the V1 and V2, so you can use the camera from V1 and use it on the V2 board. Disclaimer: I haven’t tried this myself, but it’s confirmed by Runcam.

Some closeup shots of the PCB board.

 

Video Quality

I really can’t tell the difference between the Split Mini 1 and 2. Maybe slightly lower saturation  and higher exposure in the default settings but that’s about it.

However Audio quality has improved massively! Wind noise is reduced to a minimum as you can hear from the video.

Unfortunately the camera I received has a tiny bit of blurriness on both left and right sides. I am pretty sure it’s just a defective camera module they sent me. Hopefully I will get a replacement and do some more videos with it.

Latency Testing

The TV-out latency of the Split Mini 2 is the same as the previous version at around 37ms average, 24ms minimum. (Using it as an FPV camera)

Changing Camera Settings

The Split Mini 2 camera comes with a new menu interface – a text overlay on top of the camera’s view. No changes to the options though.

Choppy Video In The Goggles?!

When I was testing the Split Mini 2, the video was a bit laggy which makes it difficult to fly with. You don’t notice the choppiness in the DVR, only when you are looking through the goggles.

I found the issue came from the video format settings. When it’s set to PAL, the video you see in the FPV goggles is choppy, it almost feels like it’s skipping frames. When using NTSC the video is a lot more fluid and smooth.

So I recommend using the Split Mini 2 in NTSC mode, or try both see which works best for you.

You can simply change video format in the camera settings, TV Out. You can use both formats with any FPV equipment, it’s not a big deal. See this post for the technical differences between NTSC and PAL.

Make sure to set the same video format in Betaflight OSD (in Betaflight configurator) too otherwise your OSD text at the bottom will get chopped off.

Conclusion – Is It Any Good?

If you already have the Split Mini 1, I don’t think it’s necessary to upgrade since the video quality is roughly the same. Unless you just want the better audio quality.

For people who are building a new micro quad capable of recording 1080p footage, I would strongly recommend the Split Mini 2. It’s become so much easier to build thanks to the smaller form factor (1 single board)!

22 thoughts on “Review: Runcam Split Mini 2 FPV/HD Camera

  1. Hikaru

    I just got one and tested on my 2.5” quad. My board got stupidly hot after just a few minutes of plugging the battery. Is it normal for the board to become super hot?

    Reply
  2. Daniel Gervais

    Hi Oscar, love all your work, Do you plan on making a video on controlling the Split mini2 via uart on betaflight f4 or other controllers. I’m going to try this today but I have not yet found a tutorial video showing how to set up all the params in Betaflight..

    Reply
  3. Moritz Beyer

    HI Oscar,
    how does the split mini V2 compare to its bigger brothter the split 2?
    Same video and audio quality. Just little difference in economics?
    I was wondering because on the bigger quads it might make the choice if you build nano or micro.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Larry Delceg

    Thanks for the article, Oscar! How does the FPV image of the Split 2 look? Your video was helpful, but I’d also like to know your opinion. I usually fly a Swift 2. How does the flying experience compare?
    The HD footage is pretty wide, which makes the fisheye problem worse. Can the Split 2 be used with a lens that has just a bit narrower field of view?
    I frequently fly at dusk, well after sunset. The Swift handles that situation excellently.
    How does the FPV image compare with the Split 2 in low light?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
      1. Larry Delceg

        Oscar – Thanks for your input informing me of the Split’s poor low light handling. Very helpful! As I’m sure you would agree, an FPV/HD dual cam that performs well in low light is the game changer many of us are waiting for!

  5. acidburn

    The bit about video choppiness is misleading. Anyone that reviews cameras should understand that there is a difference in frame rate between PAL and NTSC. PAL is 25 frames per second and NTSC is 29.97 frames per second. PAL contains 83% as many frames as NTSC in the same amount of time. So PAL is about 83% as smooth as NTSC, and with more time between frames, the latency is increased. PAL offers higher image detail with 625 vs 525 lines of resolution, but at the cost of a “choppier” picture. Anyone concerned with maximizing frame rate and minimizing latency should be using NTSC.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      So you just assume I don’t know the difference between PAL and NTSC? LOL :D
      To anyone who is wondering what I meant by choppiness, when I set the Split Mini 2 to PAL, the video I got in the goggles felt way lower than 25fps, like I said, it was like it’s skipping frames.
      Actually someone made a good point about how it might be related to the recording FPS in the last few comments.

      Reply
  6. Richard Wasserman

    Is the board available for purchase separately? I’d like to use my
    regular sized Split 2 camera on a 3″ build so I only need the 20×20 board to get there…

    Reply
  7. bill

    additionally, the photos almost look as if the 20×20 hole pattern is not exactly centered on the board. can you confirm if this is true? can you provide the diagonal width of the board?

    Reply
  8. Bill

    the 29×29 dimension is a real let down. Runcam seems to do this all the time, shifting the goal posts of compatibility. Sure, it’s better than single stack, but 29×29 is just bigger than many frames allow for, and to change this dimension only months after dozens of products have been created to support their old sizing is ridiculous. The lack of standardization in PCB board sizes limits innovation in the micro class.

    Reply
  9. Eric Schlenz

    Interesting that you experienced the choppy video. I have the RunCam Split 2 (not mini), and was getting REALLY choppy video. Like, so bad I couldn’t fly. It turned out the culprit was the setting to turn on the Date / Time in the video. Once I turned that off, it was fine.

    It seems like RunCam needs to do a bit more testing on these devices.

    Reply
  10. Anthony

    The latency and choppyness is a bit of a concern. I think I’ll wait till a decent DVR comes along.

    Thanks for the review.

    Reply
  11. Ghostface

    Couple points:

    – You can upgrade the old split minis firmware to get the new osd menu which includes saturation/contrast settings.
    – Anything else but NTSC 1080p 60fps being choppy/laggy in fpv view was always an issue even on the old split mini and full sized split 1 and 2
    – Fullsized and old split mini cams are interchangeable, I’d imagine the same goes for the new one but I haven’t seen any confirmation of it yet.

    Reply
  12. LvV

    Wow, that’s fantastic!
    Looks like it has similar weight to the Caddx Turtlet, but with an 8mm lens versus 12. Caddx must’ve shaved a lot off their PCB and lens housing to achieve that :)

    The choppy feed in PAL has been an issue since the first Splits, and my guess is that it is actually not straightforward to solve.
    60fps recording and 50fps viewing don’t mix well, as the framerates go out of sync. The most simple way to consolidate that is to drop frames in the FPV feed – but besides running at 300fps, recording at 50fps (which sucks for 60fps displays), or doing something a lot more involved, it may in fact be the only way…

    TL;DR: sadly, it seems like we are forced to run NTSC in our HD FPV cams!

    Reply
  13. banner vidal

    When will runcam realize that there are a ton of pilots that wont use these split cameras because of latency. We are on a 4th version of the split and still no changes in latency. Im beginning to think that they wont do it. Oscar do you know if they are working on minimizing the latency?

    Reply

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