Here is a review of the Runcam Swift – a small form factor FPV camera. It is tiny but Runcam assured us that it has the same high performance as the PZ0420M, and its flexible mounting works on majority of the frames. Let’s find out.
Release of the Runcam Swift
Get your Swift FPV cam from BG (link).
Runcam’s PZ0420 and Sky series FPV camera has been very successful, I use both of these cameras on my quadcopters and they perform brilliantly.
HS1177 is another popular camera among mini quad builders recently. It has slightly smaller dimension than the Runcam Sky, and for some strange reasons many popular 210/220 size mini quad frames are designed for cameras like the HS1177 camera, making the Runcam Sky (plus) unable to fit.
Not sure if this is one of the motivations behind Runcam’s new camera, the Swift is nearly the same size as the HS1177, which means any frame that supports HS1177 would be able to use the Swift camera too from now on.
The Swfit is said to have the same performance as the Runcam Sky Plus, being just smaller and in a black plastic case (housing). In their promotion pictures they also showed us an orange version (which made some of us very excited). That will come out a few weeks later (possible in May), along with some other unconfirmed colour as well.
What’s the in the box
It comes with the usual cables and accessories. The cable is a good quality silicon insulation wire which I prefer over plastic wires.
Many Mounting Solutions
One of the great features is the mounting solutions the Swift offers.
There are 3 types of mounts, which probably cover the majority of mini quad frames right now on the market. Even if you don’t want to use any of the mounts, they provide a normal back plate you can swap out.
The Lens mount seems to limit your tilt angle at 35 degree though, maybe they can make the hanger bit longer. Some people now tilt their camera as far as 60 degree these days :)
Dimension of the Runcam Swift is 26mm x 26mm x 30mm (Width, Height, Length) and it weights around 12g.
There are IR blocked and IR sensitive versions available, but there is only one lens option (2.8mm) which gives you 90 degree FOV. (I have asked them to make some other FOV lenses such as 2.1mm and 2.4mm)
It takes 5V to 17V of DC voltage which means it can be powered by 2S to 4S LiPo directly.
There are 2 JST connectors on the back, one for signal/power and the other is for the OSD (for changing settings). On the camera I received the connectors are placed at a slightly funny angle, not a biggie though.
And I think it would make more sense if they put the connectors on top rather than bottom, so when you tilt your camera it’s less likely to have the frame/camera press on the connector and wires.
Performance Comparison to the HS1177
Every user probably have their very own preferred settings, so I decided to test these cameras only under the default settings just to be fair, to give you an idea how they perform right out of the box.
I have been using the HS1177 camera on my Speed Addict 210 build, because it used to be the only camera (I think) that fits on this frame. I will swap it out and install the Runcam Swift for testing, so all variables are the same (VTX, Antenna, PDB etc).
The HS1177 and Runcam Swift are using the same Sony processing chip and sensor, however under factory settings they look quite different in terms of footage quality.
With default settings, Runcam Swift has a warmer colour than the HS1177, the colour on the HS1177 looks more natural and closer to real life though. That’s probably just the contrast setting which you can adjust on both cameras to your liking. Images from the Swift look sharper and have a bit more detail to it.
Both camera works great when looking at low light areas. I can see the trees inside of the wood very well.
A shot from a dark area to a brighter area.
And here we had the cameras pointing directly to the Sun. Both cameras worked well, but the colour of the HS1177 start to act funny, .
And I notice when I pointed the HS1177 to objects of different brightness, there is a short time of noticeable transition (check my video). The image also looked a bit blurry, possibly an un-focus lens from the factory.
Default settings on the Swift definitely need a bit tweaking in my opinion, it would work much better. If you don’t know where to start, have a look at my recommended settings for the PZ0420 FPV camera.
For anyone who loves the PZ0420M or Sky Plus, you should continue to enjoy this camera. For new users, I would recommend it for both excellent performance and the flexible mounting solutions.