Runcam2 is a small HD camera specially designed for FPV, that is capable of capturing 1080p video at 60fps. In this review we will have a look at the features Runcam2 offers, and compare the performance with other cameras of similar capability such as the GoPro and Xiaomi Yi.
With the success of Runcam HD camera just a few months ago, Runcam has quickly developed the Runcam2, which I believe is based on the feedback from many users. The most wanted feature was probably 1080p60fps video capturing.
Get your Runcam2 from Runcam.com
*Note that the camera I reviewed was a sample version, which means there might be improvements and changes in the final released version.
Many new features, or enhanced characteristics on the Runcam2 over the previous camera, the Runcam HD.
- 1440p 30fps, 1080p 60fps and 720p 120fps
- Wifi connection for setting changes with Android App
- Light weight: 49g including 850mah battery
- Long battery life – over 70 mins recording time.
- Video out capable – Outstanding video out latency.
- Built-in lens hood for crash protection
- Can be powered directly from external 5V-17V (up to 4S!) via USB port.
- Shielding effect against 433 MHz and GPS radio frequency interference
- Manual on 4 languages: English, Chinese, French and German
- G-Sensor Image auto flip
- Digital Image Stabilization
Other changes from Runcam HD includes:
- Micro USB Port
Check out the manual for more information about this camera.
They have reduced latency on Video-out (TV-out) quite a lot and the lag feels less than the GoPro or Mobius. But I personally don’t use recording camera for FPV flying as the delay is still significantly longer than a board camera.
I love the fact that the new camera accepts a wide range of voltage input, so it can be powered directly from a 2S, 3S or even 4S LiPo battery (5V to 17V). That means you can now get rid of the camera battery and power the camera via the USB port. It’s perfect for people who want to fly the lightest quad possible, such as mini quad. The 850mah LiPo battery weights 14 grams by the way.
The G-Sensor feature is quite interesting, it’s basically an accelerometer that detects the orientation of the camera, if the camera is upside down it flips the image 180 degree. I am not sure if this feature will be very useful for people who fly acrobatics, where we do a lot of flips and rolls in FPV. But it would be interesting to see what happen when you do that, hehe. It can be disabled by the way.
The Digital image stabilizing feature sounds interesting. However when I zoomed in at the buildings when holding the camera where my hand was shaking (in the Test video @ 1:33), I don’t see much stabilization compared to other cameras. Also I don’t know if this is actually the reason for the smaller FOV.
Appearance and New Designs
The shape of the Runcam2 remains similar to the Mobius and Runcam HD, which is much better shape for FPV than the Yi or GoPro Hero series. It looks much more stylish than the Runcam HD in my opinion, but I kind of wish they could offer brighter colour as it’s easier to find when lost in long grass, such as white, orange, pink, or yellow. (Update 24 Nov 2015: they actually make an orange version now)
It uses 2-button rather than the traditional 3-button design, “power” and “wifi”, but they are also used for “select” and “scroll”. I personally think it’s a good move which makes things easier.
The RGB LED on power button shows you the current mode, either video, photo or charging. The other LED above the Wifi button indicates operation.
Great siding back door design, no worry of popping off and lost SD card during a crash (happened to me a few times on my Xiaomi Yi). USB port has changed to Micro USB, which I think is also a good move since Micro USB cables are more common than Mini USB these days.
The Runcam 2 has a smaller form factor overall than the GoPro and Xiaomi Yi (including lens):
- GoPro Hero 4 / 3+ (dimension: 41mm x 59mm x 30mm = 72570 mm^3)
- Xiaomi Yi (dimension: 60mm x 42mm x 34mm = 85680 mm^3)
- Runcam2 (dimension: 67mm x 37mm x 21mm = 52059 mm^3)
Although the lens hood is a good intention that aims to protect the lens, I personally don’t think it would be very effective against pointy or sharp objects. Maybe a lens cover is needed after all.
Video Quality and Performance
I tested the Runcam2 against the GoPro Hero4 Black, Xiaomi Yi and Runcam HD cameras. To be honest these kinds of test isn’t everything, the result of video can likely be optimised on the camera settings depending on the kind of environment we are filming. (especially for the GoPro, there are so many settings you can play with depends on what you need, that’s one of the reasons why it’s a top end action camera on the market.)
Anyway to give you an idea what the footage from the new Runcam2 looks like, here is a comparison video. All cameras are using default settings.
Here is the summary of good and bad about camera image quality from the footage I took, compared to the other 3 cameras. I will also show you some snapshots of the footage to show you what I mean.
I really like the Image colour of the Runcam2, vivid but not over saturated. Image is also very sharp and comparable to the GoPro Hero4. At least we know it doesn’t have any lens focus issue like the Yi. See below snapshots of the footage from Yi and Runcam2 for example.
Light condition handling of this camera is excellent, in the tests it appears to be even better than the Yi and Gopro.
At night, this camera also works very well, the colour seems to be more neutral than the Yi and Runcam HD. See below screenshots of the footage from Yi and Runcam2 for example.
Bit Rate on the Runcam2 video files appears to be the highest among the cameras tested:
- Runcam2 – 35000 kb/s
- Gopro Hero4 Black – 30000 kb/s
- Xiaomi Yi – 22000 kb/s
- Runcam HD – 15000 kb/s
However FOV (field of view) is a bit disappointing, the angle is not as wide as the Xiaomi Yi or GoPro (even when superview is turned off), and appeared to be similar to the Runcam HD. Not sure if this is caused by the “Digital Image Stabilization” feature.
Sharpness is probably too high for default. See below images from the GoPro and Runcam2 for example.
As you could hear in the test video, the recorded Audio of the Runcam2 is clearly too quiet, and there is no way you can turn the volume up currently. I know this camera will be mainly used on planes and multicopters, and recorded audio would mostly likely to be motor noise anyway, but It would be cool if you can still pick up your conversation with your flight buddies after you land, or record the audio well when you get harassed and attacked by angry anti-drone people.
WiFi and Android APP
The Camera has built-in Wifi capability that allows you to connect it to a Smart phone and their Android App.
Interface of the Android App is not the best, but very basic and easy enough to use. User options are very limited, not many parameters you can change apart from:
- Video resolution
- Switch Mode: video/photo/time-lapse
- Play back Photo/Video on SD card
- Basic Camera settings such as White Balance, Date Stamp etc.
I wish they could add more settings to the App, such as:
- ISO or light condition
Range of the Wifi isn’t that great either, it gets unreliable more than a few meters. Often I need to place my smart phone next to the camera, to get a smooth live video preview.
When WIFI is enabled, LED1 blinks. and when connected it becomes solid.
Conclusion and Suggestions for Improvement
Runcam2 has great image quality and the picture colour is rich. Light dynamic is also excellent, switching between bright and dark objects is really quick. But personally I hope they fix the over-sharpened image, or provide user settings to change sharpness.
I still don’t know how much this camera is going to be. Pre-order price is $99. Given the current prices of Xiaomi Yi ($63 from Banggood) and Foxeer Legend ($90), I think it might need to go a bit lower to compete with these guys.
Also these are the features I would like to see in the Runcam2:
- Battery LED light: Green LED flashing when running out?
- Brighter camera case colour, choice of colour (or make camera protector/cover that has bright colour)
- Lens Cover/protector?
- Angle Adjustable Lens.
- In App, allow users to change more video parameters such as sharpness, Light condition (ISO) and so on.
- Turn up recording audio volume.
- A more extreme way to make it cheaper, completely remove Wifi: I don’t know how much people use this feature, but I personally don’t change settings that often, and I find doing it on a computer easy enough (for example on the Mobius and Runcam HD). If the price can drop a reasonable amount, I am happy to see they completely remove the WiFi module.