The Runcam 5 is the latest HD cam suitable for FPV quadcopters released by renowned FPV camera manufacturer Runcam. It is a cube form factor following on from the shape made popular by the now discontinued GoPro Session 4 and Session 5 cameras. It measures 38mm x 38mm x 36mm which is nearly identical to the Session meaning it fits easily in to the commonly available 'GoPro' mounts. My Runcam 5 was ordered from Banggood and can be found at the link here: RunCam 5 12MP 56g Smallest 4K Cam HD Recording. It retails for $99 and can be had on special for a little as $87 - see my coupons page for up to date discount codes.
RunCam 5 12MP 56g 4K Cam HD Recording 145 Degree NTSC/PAL 16:9/4:3 Switchable FPV Action Camera Bulit-in Battery for RC Racing Drone
I've listed the specs here with my brief comments for those that have an interest but as we know it really comes down to the proof from the cam. Don't worry there is HD footage further below.
One spec that isn't mentioned above is the bitrate which tends to have a large bearing on image quality but is seldom mentioned. Below are the stock bitrates from the manual
Now this was a little disappointing considering the Session 5 would do 45Mbps for 1080p@60fps. The good news is that a recent firmware update (v1.2) bumped this bitrate up. For me this is a big deal and brings the runcam 5 up up to speed with the session 5 and superior to the foxeer box 2's 30Mbps.
Below is a raw, unedited clip from Youtube. Of course Youtube butchers bitrate. You can mitigate this somwhat by upscaling to 4k but this has not been done here. Compare this to the smaller, cheaper hawkeye firefly 2 below at the same location. Notice especially the light handling, image quality, sound and field of view. FYI runcam 5 was recorded in winter, firefly 2 in autumn.
Runcam 5 raw video with audio
Hawkeye Firefly 2 Raw video with audio - beware the audio!!!
For sound you can judge for yourself. Again, I've never had a gopro so only have a VTX microphone or hawkeye firefly 2 cam to compare to which aren't great yardsticks. I think the sound is completely serviceable for what I need.
Ease of use
As a first time user of HD cams I found the Runcam 5 very simple to use - it has just one button. Long press it turns on. Long press again it turns off. When on short press it starts recording, short press again it stops recording. There is a single LED light and beeper which also give cues to the action and it is very simple to use. There are no additional buttons nor screens to worry about.
Where I think it really shines is the genuinely innovative way in which you change the settings. The Gopro, foxeer and Caddx cam all require connecting to your phone via wifi and then communicating via a convoluted app. For the Runcam 5 you use a runcam app, choose all the settings you want and then your phone displays a QR code. This can then be scanned by the camera and you will get recognition via beeps and LED light the the settings update has been successfully completed.
Firware can be update by copying the firmware file into the root directory of an SD card and turning the camera on.
Other setings can be changed as below where needed:
The retail price of a Runcam 5 is $99 and can often be had for $89 (check my coupons page here to see if it is presently on special). Compare this to the retail price of a Foxeer Box 2 ($129) and the original retail price of $299 and you can start to see the value proposition of the Runcam 5. No you cannot get a warranty that covers it for any damage but at $99 vs $299 is this any longer relevant? In my mind, no. $99 worth of camera would be disappointing to loose but nothing compared to $299. This lower price does not come without compromise though and I've listed what I consider the key comparisons so you can decide for yourself what is important.
Summary and Recommendations
Again, I've never used an HD cam before (unless you count the Hawkeye Firelfy 2 cam I reviewed here) but I'm genuinely please with the experience I've had with the Runcam for the following reasons:
If you are looking to get in to recording with HD I can strongly recommend this camera. It's probably 80-90% as good as a gopro session but at a third of the price - not that you can get a session new any more.
FYI there are of course the Runcam Split/Caddx Turtle/Foxeer mix options but these often compromise the FPV feed, are more fragile and cannot be moved easily between builds. They may suit your application more but amongst other disadvantage the quality of HD recording is also inferior to the standalone HD cameras like the runcam 5.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. Links are affiliated and help me buy the bits I need to produce this type of content.