Top 5 Best FPV Camera for Mini Quad

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

It looks like most pilots out there are either flying with Foxeer or Runcam cameras these days. They are the 2 major FPV camera manufacturers in the mini quad industry. There are some pretty serious competition between them. For us consumers, it’s a great thing as it really drives the technology faster and further.

Here is a battle chart between the 2 brands, listing cameras that have similar features.

Runcam Foxeer
Swift HS1177
Swift 2 Arrow V3
Eagle Monster
Owl Plus Night Wolf
Swift Mini Arrow Mini
Micro Swift ??

Runcam Swift 2

Runcam Swift 2 - top 5 best fpv camera

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. If you just want a simple, plain and cheaper camera, check out the original Swift, or the Swift Rotor Riot Edition.

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Runcam Eagle

Runcam Eagle - top 5 best fpv camera

The Runcam Eagle is probably one of the most recommended FPV cameras recently for its outstanding image quality and global WDR feature. 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.

It exists in 4:3 and 16:9 versions, so you can choose whichever matches the aspect ratio on your FPV Goggles or display.

However it’s an expensive camera that costs $55. Also the Runcam Eagle has about 20ms more latency than the Swift, although I personally haven’t really noticed in real flights. Despite the lag, I would really recommend the Eagle, I personally just love the image quality.

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HS1177

HS1177 - top 5 best fpv camera

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.

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Foxeer Monster

Foxeer Monster - top 5 best fpv camera

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.

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Runcam Owl Plus

The Owl Plus is designed for low light FPV. According to the users, it’s like “turning dusk into daytime”! You can use the Owl Plus during the day 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.

If you are looking for a FPV camera that is capable of flying in extreme darkness, check out the “military grade” Night Eagle.

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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Best FPV Camera for Mini Quad

  1. Kavin

    Can you to be honest with your followers? you are misleading, why you list all the new version Runcam, but list very very old Foxeer cameras, I am using Monster V2, it is better than eagle and cheaper, and Foxeer is first make this size camera, Runcam follow, then Foxeer add OSD in the camera, Runcam copy, what is next?

    Reply
  2. Aldo A.

    Oscar.

    Foxeer also has their “pocket” version of the CCD camera, marketed as XAT600SM. It doesn’t have a fancy case like the swift mini, but it is the direct contender.

    surveilzone.com/dc5v-22v-17-17mm-super-mini-600tvl-sony-super-had-ccd-super-fpv-camera

    Reply
  3. Craig Fisher

    I am very new to flying quadcopters. I have a strong need for some type of camera that I can view and record on my Samsung S-7 Smartphone. It appears to me that the WiFi signals from the best cameras will only send a signal 10 meters. I need to be able to view a live signal on my drone at least 300 meters. Will the FPV format allow me to do this and if so, what all to I need besides the camera? I suspect there has to be some kind of receiver that can transmit the signal to my Samsung 7?
    Any help at all would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Ben Portman

      You’d need a wifi booster on the quadcopter… but it’s not really your quadcopter that’s the problem, it’s your phone, most phone’s wifi antenna are truly shyte. That’s so we get small phones! I’d watch this youtube.com/watch?v=NgLFhU5Mbh4 , Andy there does a lot of good stuff and it’s worth subscribing to his channel.
      You seem to want to go a different root to most of us use, that would be an FPV system..let’s say a Eachine TX03, which has a flyable camera and a video transmitter combined , it needs a 5v supply (from you flight controller?) to send back a good image to some goggles, say Hobby king Quanums or Furibee vx 1’s if you’re really looking for cheap stuff, I use JJr pro somethings.
      On larger quads, and I’m talking larger as being over 120mm these days! to record full 1080 most of us would use a mobius mini, mobius, runcam… the rich blokes would use a go pro. There are so many action cams out there (Aldi are selling a 4K action cam for £45 right now) you just strap that on, point it where your FPV camera points and press record before you fly.
      Using a phone for FPV right now is complicated and probably won’t give as good results as the system I suggested above. The latency involved in send a full 1080, even 720 makes anything more that cruising about very diffcult, and you would loose quality. I know the Samsung has an excellent screen (maybe overkill for the size of it) but It’s going to be hard to get an image of that quality back to it from a quadcopter at this point in time…in 2 years…. well….

      Reply

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