As we discussed in our FPV camera guide, there are two major manufacturers competing for your money in the FPV camera market: Foxeer and Runcam. We at Propwashed think that Runcam is currently the superior camera manufacturer on the market. We like their varied mounting and lens options, and we vastly prefer their split electrical connectors for ease of programming at the field.
The other advantage of Runcam cameras is the diversity of their model lineup. Runcam offers three different sizes for their Swift lineup of Sony SuperHAD CCD-equipped FPV cameras. Aside from the standard sized cameras, they offer mini and micro variants which reduce the size and weight footprints significantly.
The folks at Banggood recently offered us a chance to take a look at the Swift Mini – a camera I’ve always been a little curious about. In this article, we’ll take a close look at it and discuss its purpose and why you might want to consider it for your next build.
Runcam Swift Mini Video Performance
First off – where it really counts, the Runcam Swift and Runcam Swift Mini are identical. They both use the same image sensor which means they will have identical video feed performance, assuming you equip them with the same lenses.
To test this out, I configured my Runcam Swift and Runcam Swift mini with the same video settings and placed them next to each other outside. I recorded some sample footage from both cameras. Here is the result:
|[gfycat data_id=”RevolvingExcellentDrake” data_autoplay=true data_controls=false data_title=false data_expand=true] Swift Mini (Above)||[gfycat data_id=”LightheartedWhoppingDunnart” data_autoplay=true data_controls=false data_title=false data_expand=true] Swift (Above)|
The Swift Mini seems to have a bit more color vibrancy, but I believe this is an artifact of the cheap DVR system in the goggles. I do not see this difference on the actual screen. Otherwise, there is no appreciable difference between the cameras.
Runcam Swift Mini Features
It is worth mentioning that the Runcam Swift mini is missing two features that the Swift 2 has:
– Built in OSD
– Built in microphone
I think these two features are nonissues, though. First of all – why do you want an OSD in your FPV camera. Betaflight OSD is the only way to go for OSDs in miniquads, don’t even consider anything else.
I also feel the microphone feature is worthless. First of all – most people do not want or need a microphone on their miniquad. Those that do can purchase a video transmitter which has a built in microphone (most of them do anyways). Second of all – many of the best VTX’s on the market such as the TBS Unify use the audio wires to communicate with a ground station or flight controller, so you won’t be able to use them anyways.
The Runcam Swift Mini comes with a plastic case which you can screw into the camera that essentially turns it into a “standard” FPV camera. What I mean by this is that you should be able to mount it in any quadcopter frame that would otherwise take a HS1177 or standard Swift.
However, removing the plastic case from the Swift Mini is where things start to get interesting. The Runcam Swift Mini is 6mm thinner / shorter than “standard” cameras, meaning you can fit into smaller / tighter builds with greater ease. Unfortunately, there are not a ton of quadcopter frames on the market that exploit this – but the potential is there.
All things considered, I’ve come away very impressed with the Runcam Swift Mini. In every way I care about, it is an objectively equal camera to the Swift 2 – except that it is cheaper and backwards compatible with that camera. To that end, I have no problem recommending the Runcam Swift Mini for any build. I would especially recommend it if you are considering building a very low profile quadcopter in the future.
Why Would I Buy a Swift Mini?
I’ve heard a few folks ask this question, and here is my best effort at a response:
- If you have a quadcopter frame that supports the small camera form factor or are building a scratch build and want a smaller camera.
- If you are interested in FPV planes – the smaller form factor matters much more here.
- If you want to save a few dollars over the Swift 2.
- If you like the way the Swift Mini works.