Review: Runcam Thumb 1080p Mini Action Camera for FPV

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on
Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv

The Runcam Thumb Mini Action camera is an exciting new cam for micro FPV drones. It’s super light coming in at just under 10 grams, can be powered externally and supports micro SD card for ultra long recording time. This camera has an onboard gyro sensor so the footage can be stabilized with Gyroflow.

It looks quite similar to the Insta360 GO 2, but features and capability are very different.

Where to Buy?

You can also get the Runcam Thumb camera with the Flywoo Firefly Nano Quad as a bundle, together they only weigh 33g: https://oscarliang.com/product-fuxy

It comes with the following accessories:

  • 1x Mounting Bracket
  • 1x 3D printed holder
  • 1x Micro USB Cable
  • 1x ND16 Filter
  • 1x Power Cable
  • Some M2 screws and nuts
  • 1x Manual

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Unbox Accessories

Features and Specs

  • Resolution: 1080p 60FPS
  • Built-in Gyro (for Gyroflow)
  • 150° FOV
  • Powered by 5.0V (from USB or Power Port)
  • Support Micro SD Card with up to 128G capacity
  • Micro USB Port
  • Power consumption: At 5V, 200mA when standby, 280mA when recording
  • File format: MP4
  • Video Bitrate: 20Mbps
  • Built-in Microphone for audio
  • Dimension:52mm*13mm*19mm
  • Weight: 10g

Closer Look at the Runcam Thumb

The Runcam Thumb action camera is easy to use. It turns on as soon as you power it. There’s only one button which starts and stops the recording. You can’t change any of the settings such as resolution and frame rate.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv

It has a micro USB connector for data transfer, it can also be used for powering the camera.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Micro Usb Port

The camera comes with a lens protector, which can be easily removed and replaced with an ND filter (ND16 included in the package).

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Lens Nd Filter

The Runcam Thumb camera is not waterproof, there are cooling vent on the top and bottom of the camera.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Cooling Vent

Here’s the back of the camera.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Back Power Input

The camera takes a micro SD card, supports up to 128GB capacity. Yes, you have to spend extra to buy the card, but you can get a lot more capacity if you want to compared to the GO 2 camera which has a fixed internal memory.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Micro Sd Card Slot

The Runcam Thumb has no internal battery, so it’s drastically lighter than the GO 2, but it also means it has to be powered by an external 5V power source, either through the 2-pin input power port or the USB port. When recording it draws around 280mA of current, so the 5V BEC on majority of the FC these days should be able to handle it, with a current rating of 0.5A or higher should be ok.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv 5v Input Power

Mounting the Runcam Thumb camera on a micro drone (GepRC Rocket in this case) with the provided mount. With the long screw slots, it fits many micro frames out there saving you from getting a 3D printed mount.

However this mount is made of quite flexible material and it shows some jello in the footage. I think it’s still best to get some sort of more sturdy 3D printed mount for this camera.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Micro Drone Mount Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Micro Drone Mount Back

Image Quality

The image actually looks pretty decent for a $50 camera. I wish it had higher resolution than just 1080p so when the video gets cropped down by Gyroflow (the image stabilization tool), it can still maintain real 1080p and not a scaled up one. The bitrate is not particularly high, at only 20Mbps, the image is not particularly sharp either, but it’s still a step up from analog FPV footage, even DVR from the DJI FPV system. For comparison the GO 2 can do up to 80Mbps.

The colour looks pretty low in saturation and neutral at first glance, and fairly close to what we see in real life, that leaves us room for some colour grading. It’s not super over-saturated like some of the older HD cameras from Runcam, which is a big plus. Wide dynamic range struggles a bit when you have shadow and bright sky in the same frame, the sky would get blown out and the shadow just under exposed. But the lighting transition is fast and doesn’t feel distracting to watch.

Anyway, you get what you pay for… after all it’s a pretty cheap camera.

Oh, and using the provided ND filter does help reduce some of the jello.

A demo video from Mofo FPV:

Enabling Gyro Date Recording for Gyro Flow

Firmware V1.0.0:

Out of the box, the camera doesn’t record Gyro data, you have to enable it by creating a csvopen.txt file manually in the root directory of the camera’s micro SD card, then restart the camera.

Note that the frame rate will drop to 50fps after this, and the gyroscope data will be stored in the same directory as the video files in CSV file format, ready to be imported to Gyroflow.

Firmware V2.1.0:

Edit “thumb.conf” file with a text editor, set GCsv=1.

Also it’s recommended to change video resolution to 50fps manually to ensure reliability (due to processor speed limitation), it’s not changed automatically.

Updating Firmware

You should update your camera to the latest version, the original V1.0.0 doesn’t work well with Gyroflow and V2.1.0 addressed this problem. You will also be able to adjust camera settings after updating, using the “thumb.conf” text file (this file will be automatically generated after successful firmware update).

Here’s how to update firmware:

Download latest firmware from Runcam’s product page: https://www.runcam.com/download/runcamthumb/. Manually copy the firmware file (Thumb.bin) to the root directory in the micro SD card.

Power on camera from 5V power source.

Firmware upgrade status

  • green light flashes slowly – firmware is updating
  • green light flashes quickly – update almost complete
  • LED off – the camera shuts down and the update is complete

Runcam Thumb vs. Insta360 GO 2

The Runcam Thumb has a similar shape to the Insta360 GO 2, but it’s slightly longer, narrower and much thinner in dimension.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Insta360 Go 2Here are the side by side comparisons.

Runcam Thumb Action Hd Camera Fpv Insta360 Go 2 Compare

  • Runcam Thumb is much cheaper at only $50 vs Insta360 GO 2’s $300
  • Runcam Thumb is way lighter at only 10g while the GO 2 weighs 26.8g
  • Thumb must be powered from external power source, while the GO 2 has an internal battery which is more flexible in terms of application
  • The GO 2 uses internal memory to store footage (32GB), but the Thumb requires a micro SD card which supports up to 128GB… you have to spend extra to get the memory card, but it can be much larger in terms of storage
  • GO 2 is waterproof, Runcam Thumb is not
  • Both cameras has video stabilization, the GO 2 can be done in its own video editor, while the Thumb uses Gyroflow with data from its onboard Gyro sensor
  • The Thumb is “dummy proof”, only one button to start/stop recording, no settings available. The GO 2 is considerable more complicated to use but it’s way more flexible and more powerful when it comes to user control and higher quality footage
  • The Thumb is designed to be used for recording in the horizontal rotation while the GO 2 can do both vertical and horizonal

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4 comments

Mark Bendahan 3rd May 2022 - 12:46 am

Which pads should we solder on, on the TinyApe flight controller? One says 4.8v , is it safe there?

Reply
Oscar 3rd May 2022 - 3:59 pm

4.8V should be ok, but make sure it can supply enough amps

Reply
Jonathan 11th March 2022 - 3:17 pm

Hello Oscar,
Thanks for all the rewievs!
Does the thumb have a microphone?

Reply
Oscar 11th March 2022 - 5:52 pm

yes

Reply