The choice of mini quad camera massively affects your FPV experience. And while there are so many to choose from, we have picked 5 best FPV cameras for you in March 2017.
These analogue FPV cameras featured here are voted by our group members in a recent poll (group: Multicopter International). In this article we will discuss the features and benefits of each camera. It’s important to learn about the basics of FPV camera first before making the decision.
To read more about popular mini quad products, check out our “Top 5 Best” lists.
Battle between Foxeer and Runcam for the Best FPV Camera Title
Nearly all FPV pilots I know are either flying with Foxeer or Runcam cameras these days. These are the 2 major FPV camera manufacturers in the mini quad industry, and there are some pretty serious competition between them. For us consumers, competition is a great thing as it drives technology forward and brings the price down.
Here is the “battle chart” between the 2 brands, a list of cameras that have similar features.
|Swift||HS1177||Basic, versatile CCD|
|Swift 2||Arrow V3||Basic, versatile CCD with VBAT OSD|
|Eagle 2||Monster||High image quality CMOS|
|Owl 2||Night Wolf||Low light FPV|
|Swift Mini||Arrow Mini||Mini size CCD|
|Micro Swift 2||Arrow Micro||Micro size CCD|
|Night Eagle||Designed purely for night FPV|
|Sparrow||Low latency CMOS|
Runcam Swift 2
The Runcam Swift 2 is basically the original Swift with some additional features: OSD for timer and voltage monitoring, audio, wider input voltage and more flexible mounting solution. There are 3 lens options available to meet all your FOV requirement (2.1mm 165°, 2.3mm 150°, 2.5mm 130°).
This is just a simple OSD that reports voltage, you can’t do PID tuning or other advance stuff like that with it. If you don’t need the OSD you can also turn it off. A lot of FC these days offers OSD capability, but if yours doesn’t, then the Swift 2 would make your day a lot easier.
Runcam Eagle 2
The Runcam Eagle 2 is probably one of the most recommended FPV cameras recently for its outstanding image quality and amazing WDR ability. Although it’s a CMOS camera, the engineers have done some really clever coding to make wide dynamic range and light handling perform even better than those CCD’s in my opinion. In the V2 they’ve lowered the latency on par with the Swift, and it handles low light really well.
The Eagle 2 exists in 4:3 and 16:9 versions, so you can choose whichever matches the aspect ratio on your FPV Goggles or display.
However this cameras have some digital processing artifacts which some people really hate. Please see my review to decide whether this is for you.
Foxeer HS1177 V2
A very basic, tried and tested camera, capable of producing decent image quality. I would say it’s very close to the performance of the Runcam Swift 1. Main difference I have found is the image colour.
The HS1177 is made by Foxeer and it’s been around the longest in this list. When it came out in 2015, and it kind of revolutionized the FPV camera industry by its compact form factor. HS1177 took over board cameras as the new dimension standard. Since 2016, nearly all mini quad frames are designed to support the HS1177 form factor cameras, and all popular cameras nowadays followed this size.
Because it came out to the market early, many people adapted to it and are still using it today. Due to the high popularity, there are clones being sold more cheaply. Therefore be aware when searching for HS1177, as there is no guarantee on performance of the counterfeit.
The Foxeer Monster HS1194 is a 1200TVL 16:9 camera. This is the camera that often get compared to the Runcam Eagle, because both cameras are CMOS that deliver some of the best quality footage. From the reviews we have seen, the Monster produces very bright and vivid images, but wide dynamic range isn’t as good as the Eagle.
Typically high TVL cameras have very bad latency. But the Monster seems to be quite good at this, and the latency is fairly close to the HS1177. And the Monster is about $20 cheaper than the Eagle. However I wouldn’t recommend this to those who have 4:3 goggles because image will look compressed.
Foxeer is about to release the V2 of this camera. But due to the lack of reviews out there we decided to hold on until it’s fully tested by the community.
Runcam Micro Swift 2
The Micro Swift 2 has the exact same capability as the Swift 2, but only about half the size and weight. This is great news for micro builds as well as racing drones. However, bear in mind the weakened camera housing, as it’s not designed to take too much abuse and crashes. If the few grams reduction isn’t important to you then you should use the regular Swift instead.
Other Top FPV Cameras in the Past
Runcam Owl 2
The Owl 2 is designed for low light FPV, which “turns dusk into daytime”. You can use the Owl 2 for the day flying too, but the image wouldn’t be good as other cameras on this list. After all, there is no so-called “one for all” or “all-around” FPV camera, yet.
It would make sense to get this camera if you plan to fly mostly in the evening or night time. But if you only fly during daytime, then I would recommend getting other cameras instead. I decided to take this one down from the list as I found the Eagle 2 can perform just as good as the Owl 2 (if not better).
If you are looking for a FPV camera that is capable of flying in extreme darkness, check out the “military grade” Night Eagle.
- Mar 2017 – Article created
- Oct 2017 – Updated Eagle 2, Added Micro Swift 2, Remove Runcam Owl 2