The Runcam Thumb Pro is finally a usable action camera for FPV. Image quality has improved drastically from the previous version, with Gyroflow stabilization it has real potential for micro FPV drones.
Where to Buy?
You can buy ND filters as a combo with the camera:
- GetFPV: https://oscarliang.com/product-l22q
- Banggood: https://oscarliang.com/product-f6l0
- AliExpress: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_De6ev8F
ND filter set: https://oscarliang.com/product-gbp2
It doesn’t come with SD card, grab your own here. Since it’s records 4K in pretty high bitrate, you need a fast card, preferably U3 or faster. I talk about how to choose SD card for FPV in this post.
- Samsung Evo Select (Get the 64GB): https://amzn.to/2tH7YDE
- SanDisk Extreme (32GB and 64GB): https://amzn.to/2XkLqWR
It comes with the following accessories:
- Micro USB cable
- Power cable
- TPU mount and hardware
Features and Specs
I was a bit disappointed at the previous Thumb camera, it was a cheap and light weight camera for small drones, but image quality was just not good enough and didn’t work well with Gyroflow.
However, they made it this time. In my opinion the new Runcam Thumb Pro is a totally usable HD camera that has decent image quality and is very light weight at only a little over 16g! Similar size to the Insta360 GO2 but 10g lighter.
It doesn’t have a battery in order to keep the weight down. It can be powered by 5V which is usually available on the flight controller. And it has a built-in gyro for stabilization in Gyroflow (a free open source software).
The result is pretty good! Check out the footage here, it was on the SpeedyBee Flex25:
Here’s the specifications:
- Resolutions and frame rate: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
- Sensor IMX577(12MP)
- Video file format: MP4
- F.O.V 150°
- Gyroscope onboard
- Takes micro SD card, supports up to 256GB capacity
- Micro USB port for accessing the SD card
- Supports remote control via Betaflight UART
- Power Consumption: 2.5W (500mA at 5V)
- Input voltage: 5V
- Dimensions: 55x26x21mm
- Weight: 16.5 grams
For 2.7K videos in high quality, here are the video specs:
- Resolution 2704×1520
- Bitrate 50Mbps
- File format MP4
- File size 1GB for 3 minute flight (roughly)
Closer Look at the Runcam Thumb Pro Camera
It’s amazing how Runcam managed to make a 16-gram camera that can record 4K video with gyro built-in!
One of the main complaints to the original Thumb camera is the 1080p resolution, after the cropping in stabilization you don’t have much image detail left. So in the Thumb Pro you get 4K 30fps and 2.7K 60fps!
It records the video on a micro SD card, and the gyroscope data in a separate file which can be loaded directly in Gyroflow software. One click on “Auto Sync” in Gyroflow, set the smoothness cropping levels to your preference, and the stabilized footage is ready to be exported! It’s that simple!
The Runcam Thumb Pro camera has a micro USB connector for connecting to a computer. You can access the files on the SD card this way without taking it out. Data transfer is pretty fast at 18MB/s. 1GB (3 min flight video) takes just about a minute to download.
The camera can be powered from 5V. Most flight controllers should have a 5V BEC, but make sure you double check if the BEC can handle the current draw (500mA at 5V).
As you might have noticed, it also has RX and TX pins for connecting to a UART on your FC. You can configure Betaflight to control the camera’s shutter button using one of your radio switches. Personally I don’t use it, how difficult is it to press the button on the camera? :)
It comes with a lens protector out of the box, it can be swapped out to an ND filters that can be purchased as a combo with the camera (ND4, 16 and 32 available). ND filters are useful as it increases the motion blur and reduces jello, making your video look even smoother. You need to choose the right ND filter depends on the lighting, and adjust shutter speed accordingly. It takes some experimenting.
To use this camera, it’s as simple as pressing the only button on the camera to start recording. The red LED starts to flash when it’s recording.
To change camera settings, such as resolution, video quality, shutter speed etc, you need to use the Runcam app (available in Apple and Android app store).
Inside the app, choose the Thumb Pro as the camera, then select the settings you want, and press “Apply” to generate the QR code. The follow the instruction to scan the QR code with the Thumb Pro to register those settings.
Here I will tear down the camera and show you the inside.
The image quality by no mean is as good as the GoPro, but it’s a huge improvement from the last generation. There are still issues like white balance changes with lighting. But you can fix that by locking white balance. Also I think image quality would be better if you use ND filter and locking shutter speed too.
There’s already a new firmware update when I made this review, you should check and update your camera when it arrives.
Download the firmware here: https://www.runcam.com/download/ThumbPro/
- Unzip the downloaded file, find the Thumb-P.BRN file and copy it to the root directory of the SD card
- Disconnect the USB cable to power the camera off, power the camera on again. The the firmware update should start automatically
- Green light flashes while firmware is upgrading
- After about 2 minutes, the camera will automatically shut down, the upgrade has completed