RunCam Swift camera for racing quadcopters
If I count correctly, this RunCam Swift camera will be the fourth model which I have the luck to review from the manufacturer with the slogan “Born for RC fanatics“.
From my experience with RunCam, I can say that they respect their customers, which is at least as important as the quality of the products. For example, they always try to challenge the customers to give feedback (positive as well as negative one) in order to improve their existing products with newer firmware or in any other ways. It is not surprising that they have already managed to build a solid Facebook community around their brand.
RunCam has two kind of cameras, analog ones like this Swift which are dedicated for first person view flights and digital ones with DVR function which allows to record the journey of the flight.
As all the racing quad-copters which I own at this moment came with a dedicated camera, I’m planning to use this camera on a small racer that I just started to build around the Redcon Phoenix 210 frame kit.
Enough with the courtesy and let’s go back to the RunCam Swift review and see if there is any improvement compared to its predecessor, the PZ0420M (aka SkyPlus).
RunCam Swift quadcopter camera review
The package was delivered extremely fast, in 5 days, and probably I’m among the first people that received this camera :). As my wife uses to say, fast is not necessary good, the camera’s cartoon box has been totally destroyed during dispatch, it looks like someone stepped on it. Luckily the tiny camera was unharmed. It seems that shipping companies offer for free crash and durability tests :D.
RC Swift’s package is very generous. Besides the tiny camera I found inside the box the following: lens cap, base bracket, hanging bracket, back cover, screws, 5D OSD cable, 3 wire FPV cable, AV-out & power cable user manual. I don’t know why, but many camera/lens manufactures, forget to include a lens cap. That tiny inexpensive piece of plastic can protect the lens from unwanted scratches during storing and transportation.
Unlike the PZ0420M which is naked as a worm, this new RunCam Swift camera is encapsulated in a protective case and is delivered with two type of mounting accessories.
RunCam Swift review – Camera specs
- SONY Super HAD II CCD image sensor (1/3″);
- 600TVL horizontal resolution;
- 2.8mm with 90 degree FOV lens;
- Wide input voltage rage, DC 5V to 17V (suitable for 2s, 3s and 4s LI-POs);
- Low power consumption;
- Excellent light senility, 0.01Lux/1.2F min. illumination;
- Electronic shutter speed for PAL video standard is 1/50 to 1/100,000sec;
- Digital Wide Dynamic Range (D-WDR);
- Digital Noise Reduction (2DNR);
- Automatic gain control (AGC);
- Back light compensation (BLC);
- Accurate exposure algorithm;
- OSD menu;
- CVBS (RCA) video output for real-time image transmission:
- Ultra compact design, 26mm x 26mm x 30mm;
- 12g net weight.
While this RunCam Swift is smaller than its predecessor (SkyPlus), the specs of these two models are very similar (or even identical). In terms of size and form factor is more similar with the HS1177 cam.
On the backside of the camera there are two tiny connectors. Through the two-pin plug (OSD and GND) can be connected the included OSD cable which allows to configure and fine tune the camera. Don’t be afraid to play with the settings, there is also a “reset to factory” option if you mess up something.
The secondary connecter (Video, GND and 5-17V) allows to power the camera and connect to a wireless image transmission module. I opted for an Aomway Mini 5.8Ghz 200mW 40CH video TX and the Eachine LCD5802S FPV display to test this camera.
If you are interested to peek inside the camera, take into consideration that the mainboard, with its the sensitive CCD sensor, is not secured and can easily fall out from the housing.
As I’m not an expert, it is especially hard to describe with words the image quality of a camera. Luckily, few months ago I ordered a tiny DVR to record my FPV flights. After I adapted its stupid connector to be compatible with the RunCam Swift I was able to record directly the video signal which is coming out of the camera (check out the video below, upload in progress).
RunCam Swift review - Final worlds
- Price/value ratio
- Performance and image quality
RunCam Swift review - Final words
In my opinion, this new camera was developed by shrinking the size and the weight of the popular SkyPlus camera in order to meet the user’s desire for more compact FPV cameras.
Because of its small weight (12g) the RunCam Swift can be paired perfectly with small sized racing quad-copters. Although the camera’s resolution is only 600TVL it offers decent image quality. I found out during my tests that it has a good reaction on light changes which is extremely important, for example when you fly through the forest.
If you are looking for a FPV camera that you want to use exclusively for night flights, the manufacturer recommends to use instead of this RunCam Swift the tiny RunCam Owl camera which requires only 0.0001 lux (moonless, overcast night sky).
- Small and lightweight;
- Good light sensitivity;
- Protective case and lens cap;
- OSD configuration menu;
- Can be installed in various ways.
- For now, only one: no status LED.
For those who are interested in this lightweight FPV quadcopter camera, it can be ordered from the manufacturer’s online shop here (orange color will be available starting with May).
This product have been provided by RunCam in order to make a fair review.
RunCam Swift review – Photo gallery