Review: Runcam Thumb Pro 4K Camera | Really good with Gyroflow!

by Oscar
Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Fpv

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.

banggood

Where to Buy?

You can buy ND filters as a combo with the camera:

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.

It comes with the following accessories:

  • Micro USB cable
  • Power cable
  • TPU mount and hardware

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Unbox Accessories

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.

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Size Compare Gopro Insta360 Go2

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).

I have a tutorial on how to use Gyroflow.

The result is pretty good! Check out the footage here, it was on the SpeedyBee Flex25:

Here’s the specifications:

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!

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Lens

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!

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Sd Card Slot

 

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.

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Usb Power Connector

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.

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Lens Adapter Nd

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.

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Back

 

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.

Runcam Camera App Thumb Pro Qr Code

Here I will tear down the camera and show you the inside.

Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Take Apart Teardown Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Pcb Back Runcam Thumb Pro Hd Action Camera Pcb FrontImage Quality

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.

Firmware Update

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/

  1. Unzip the downloaded file, find the Thumb-P.BRN file and copy it to the root directory of the SD card
  2. Disconnect the USB cable to power the camera off, power the camera on again. The the firmware update should start automatically
  3. Green light flashes while firmware is upgrading
  4. After about 2 minutes, the camera will automatically shut down, the upgrade has completed

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16 comments

chromaloop 29th October 2022 - 5:08 pm

I haven’t had much luck with this camera. It took me a while to get it dialed in so it was recording stuff that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to post on YouTube. But beyond that I think there are some reliability issues RunCam needs to address:

– The ND filters don’t stay on if the drone crashes, even a light crash seems to send the filter flying.
– My lens was shattered after less than a month of flying, the odd part was the ND filter didn’t have a scratch on it, but the actual lens was destroyed. I complained to RunCam but they said they couldn’t help, then begrudgingly offered to sell me a replacement lens.
– Finally, I tried updating the firmware, but it seems to have failed because it just flashes the red LED constantly but never flashes green like it says here: https://www.runcam.com/download/ThumbPro/

I submitted another support request for that but doubt I’ll hear back anything useful. At this point my camera is unusable and I’ll be searching for a replacement soon though I’m not sure what else I can afford in this size/weight category.

Overall I’d say I’m pretty disappointed.

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KD2RDH Larry 18th August 2022 - 12:46 pm

Can it be powered and record off the micro usb, if I were to use it on something other than a quad where I have access to a usb power source?

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Martin 24th August 2022 - 3:02 pm

Absolutely, you can power it with a balance lead->5v thing or just with a power bank.

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Michael Bibby 5th August 2022 - 5:33 am

Thanks Oscar, I am not convinced, based on yours and others footage, that this camera doesn’t suffer from the ‘duplicate frames’ issue that beset the Runcam 5 Orange when stabilizing the footage with Gyroflow. You can see some micro jitters in your flight footage and others and this could be caused by the video and gyro going out of sync very slightly (more over longer flight footage as the effects of the ‘duplicate frames’ accumulate). I use to solve this with the R5O using a ffmpeg script to remove the duplicate frames, as well as being very careful to manually set the sync points in Gyroflow, but its a real pain in the ass. Can you speak more to this concern?

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Andy 3rd August 2022 - 4:59 pm

What size is the 4 pin plug for connecting to an open UART on your FC? I want to buy a few extra so I can add them to my wing and quad and have spares for anything I build down the road so I can easily swap out wing, plane or quad with the cam. Any chance you can find out? Thank you for your time and any help you can provide. BTW, thank you for your website, it taught me everything I now know about quads and building them. You’ve done an awesome thing here.

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Oscar 5th August 2022 - 12:23 pm

I asked runcam they say it’s JST-SH 1.25.

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Andreas Schwarz 10th August 2022 - 5:39 am

Strange, JSH SH is 1.0 mm pitch, 1.25 mm should be JST GH.

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Julian 2nd August 2022 - 3:13 am

What GyroFlow settings did you used?

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Oscar 2nd August 2022 - 2:20 pm

Lens profile Thumb Pro 2.7K 59.94fps, low pass filter 50hz, auto sync (default config), smoothness 30, then zoom in until there’s no black edge. That’s it.

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Reks Droans 31st July 2022 - 2:42 am

Do you think this would be a cheap and dirty solution on a 5 inch quad?

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crashcadet 30th July 2022 - 4:34 pm

Great work, as always! Any idea what the lens aperture is? have you done any testing with the ND filters and fixed shutter speeds?

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Oscar 30th July 2022 - 4:47 pm

I haven’t tested the ND filters as Runcam didn’t send me any. They are not sold separately and has to be purchased with the cam as a bundle. I will try to get some but not sure when will get here.

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Trupik 29th July 2022 - 6:05 am

Damn… still dont understand to two things:
1. MicroUSB = USB2.0 = up to 480mbps = f*cing slow video transfer = useless
2. Image sensor on side… Why? Senor in center is better for mounting (props in view,…) and for stabilisation…

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Marc Frank 29th July 2022 - 9:12 pm

how would you design a slip on mount, if the lens was in the center?

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EKW 25th September 2022 - 6:00 pm

The SD card can be remove for fast data transfer.

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Marc Frank 28th July 2022 - 5:49 am

it should be possible to create a battery case for it
one that screws to the back would be really easy, but it would be better, if the space next to the lens was used
but that requires redesign of the front case half

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