The Best FPV Cameras In 2024

What Is The Best FPV Cameras?

Many new pilots ask why most racing drones have two cameras. The referred-to cameras are the FPV and HD cameras. The question asks why professional pilots run both at the same time. Many people wonder why a GoPro camera isn’t good enough. It can’t provide the footage needed to fly a racing drone.

The simple answer to the question above is that FPV cameras serve a different purpose than an HD camera. FPV cameras provide a video feed with low light sensitivity and latency. But, you need HD cameras to record digital HD video in color. To answer the question of “why two cameras?” there are no cameras on the market that are capable of combining both FPV and HD purposes.

What Is An FPV Camera?

As for drones, an FPV camera is a tiny camera attached to the front of a drone. It gives the pilot a first-person view of the drone’s flight as if they were in a jet’s cockpit. Racing drones need FPV cameras to make flying easier and more enjoyable. You get to see exactly what your drone sees, and your eyes become the eyes of the drone.

Some drones have a built-in FPV camera. Others let you attach a separate FPV camera. An FPV camera must output its video as an analog signal, which the VTX can then receive. This purpose-built FPV cameras. FPV cameras have an image sensor attached to a small circuit board. It’s converted the light captured by the camera’s lens into an analog video signal for the VTX.

Things to Consider When Choosing an FPV Camera

An FPV camera is one of the most important features in a racing drone’s FPV setup. So, take time to understand the key things to consider to choose the best one. Many pro pilots will admit that the image that’s being viewed on an FPV display is as good as the FPV camera.

Size and Weight

An FPV camera’s size and weight affect its attachment to a frame. FPV cameras were 32x32mm printed circuit boards. They had no protection. The cameras, known as “board cameras”, cried out. The board cameras had exposed parts. They got damaged when the drone crashed. Manufacturers later made changes. They started building FPV cameras with a case. This has become the standard today.

There Are Four Main Sizes:

  • Standard (28mm)
  • Mini (21mm)
  • ​Micro (19mm)
  • ​Nano (anything smaller)

Dedicated FPV cameras can weight anything between 4g to about 20g. There are FPV cameras. They call them “AIO” (all-in-one) because they include an integrated video transmitter. They are usually tiny and light. But, they do not produce great images. Designers rarely use them on bigger drones. They are made for smaller drones.

Latency

Latency refers to the time it takes for an FPV camera to capture and process an image. This delay between capturing and processing an image varies from camera to camera. Latency is a big factor. Many drone pilots are into high-speed flying or racing. They consider it when shopping for an FPV camera.

Latency is vital. It could be the difference between reacting to an obstacle while racing and crashing into it. Imagine a drone flying at about 100km/h. A latency of about 0.05s means your drone moves 1.4m before you can react.

That you test the latency of the FPV camera you plan to buy. You cannot check it because it is not in the specifications.

CCD and CMOS

These are the two main types of image sensors found in FPV cameras. CCD and CMOS both have their advantages and unique characteristics.

The CCD sensor is older technology. It was once the go-to image sensor for FPV cameras. Nowadays, CMOS sensors are being used and keep getting better with time.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of both CCD and CMOS image sensors.

PROS

  • They produce images with warmer colors
  • They produce less digital noise in low light conditions
  •  Their global shutter reduces the jello effect.

CCD

CMOS

  • They have lower latency
  • They produce higher resolution images, but they may also produce more digital noise.
  • The image colors are more neutral
  • They are a lot cheaper
  •  Rolling shutter tends to create a jello effect

FOV (Field of View)

When you go shopping for an FPV camera, you will likely come across FOV. It’s used when talking about lenses with different focal lengths.

Both focal length and sensor size are responsible for field of view. So, knowing your preferred FOV is very important when buying your FPV camera.

A wider field of view lets you see more. This is important for racing or flying close to things. But if your field of view is too large, your image might get distorted and lose quality. The fisheye effect causes this distortion.

NTSC or PAL

When selecting an FPV camera, consider its importance. At times, it’s less crucial. But we’ve included it in case you are curious about it and how it can affect your experience.

Resolution and frame rate are the two things that differentiate NTSC from PAL. Resolution, PAL offers better, while NTSC offers a higher frame rate. If you are more concerned about better age quality, you go for PAL. But if a fluid image is of more importance to you, NTSC is the format to go for.

PAL: 720 x 576 @ 25fps

NTSC: 720 x 480 @ 30fps

Specific regions tie both NTSC and PAL. North America, South Korea, and Japan use NTSC. People use PAL in Australia, much of Europe, Asia, and a large part of Africa. We tell you that you use the preferred format for your region. It doesn’t matter these days. Most formats work with all FPV equipment.

FPV Camera Resolution/ TVL

TVL or TV Lines is a method of measuring analog FPV camera resolution in FPV manufacturing. The measurement depends on the image’s ability to display black and white lines. It’s in a horizontal orientation. This means a 600TVL camera can show 300 white lines and 300 black lines in one frame. So, the more TVL an FPV camera has, the better the quality and definition of the image you’ll get. FPV cameras come with TVL ranging from 600 to 1200.

When considering specifications, focus on the image quality of an FPV camera. Don’t get caught up in the TVL numbers.

What Are The Best FPV Cameras?

1. FXT 800TVL Mini FPV Camera

The FXT Mini FPV Camera is the world’s lightest FPV camera. It is 16x16x14mm and weighs only 3.9 grams. Don’t let the size of this FPV camera fool you. It can take high-quality images.

This FXT has a high resolution up to 800 TVL, which is capable of producing images that have rich quality.

The FXT mini supports D-WDR 2.3 Lens, giving you a better image with a more neutral tone and less contrast. You also get a filming angle of 115 degrees field of view, which gives you a wider view while flying your drone.

The FXT mini supports D-WDR 2.3 Lens, giving you a better image with a more neutral tone and less contrast. You also get a filming angle of 115 degrees field of view, which gives you a wider view while flying your drone.

The OSD has integration. It lets you view data, such as battery voltage and flight time, on your display in real-time. It does this without blocking your view.

Like most FPV cameras, the FXT mini can switch between NTSC and PAL. It also supports screen ratios of 16:9 and 4:3, and it has night vision in black and white.

PROS

  • Comes in small size and is extremely lightweight, making it very easy to mount on your drone.
  • ​It is perfect for micro quads and frames with limited space.​
  • It is supplied with high-quality components.
  • ​It is very easy to set up and it has loads of configurable options.
  • ​It produces crisp images, adjusts well to changes in light intensity.

CONS

  • There are noticeable lags.
  • ​It is not suitable for bigger drones

2. RunCam 5 4K FPV Camera Mini Action Camera with Camera Mount and ND8 Filter

Here is an introduction to the RunCam 5 4K FPV camera mini action camera with a Camera Mount and ND8 Filter:

Overview

The RunCam 5 is a light, small 4K action camera. Designed for FPV (first-person view) drone racing and aerial videography. It comes with a protective camera mount and an ND8 neutral-density filter.

Key Features

  • 4K Video: Records video at up to 4K 30fps resolution. Also, it supports 2.7K 50fps and 1080p 120fps for smooth slow-motion footage 1.
  • The Sony IMX377 Sensor has a high-performance 12MP Sony IMX377 image sensor. It provides excellent image quality.
  • The camera has built-in Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). It provides smoother video. This is true even during high-speed flight.
  • Wide FOV: 145° wide-angle field of view is ideal for immersive FPV flying.
  • The longer battery now lasts 105 minutes on a single charge. That’s 30% longer than before, thanks to the upgraded CPU.
  • It has a rugged design. Sturdy lens protection lets it survive many drone crashes. This makes it well-suited for FPV racing.

Included Accessories

  • Protective TPU camera mount with an ND8 filter
  • The ND8 filter reduces exposure in bright conditions for clearer video.

Setup and Use

To configure the RunCam 5 without a screen, users can scan a QR code using the RunCam mobile app. This makes it quick and easy to adjust settings even outdoors.

It works with mounts for the GoPro Session and similar cube-style action cameras. FPV drones use these. But, some users have reported fit issues with certain mounts. The RunCam 5 weighs 16 grams. It is very lightweight. This makes it a popular choice for small FPV racing drones. People often compare them to heavier alternatives such as the GoPro Hero series. The RunCam 5 4K has an impressive feature set. It comes in a compact, durable, and FPV-optimized design. Pilots can capture high-quality 4K video from their racing and freestyle drones.

The RunCam 5 4K has an 800-TVL image resolution. It also has a wide dynamic range. These features produce some of the best images.

PROS

  • The RunCam 5 is lightweight and small. It’s just 56g, so it’s ideal for mounting on FPV racing drones without adding much weight.
  • 4K Video records high-quality video at up to 4K 30fps. It also records 2.7K 60fps and 1080p 120fps for smooth slow-motion.
  • The new CPU enables up to 105 minutes of 4K recording on a charge. That’s 30-40% longer than it was before, and than its competitors.
  • The camera has Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) built-in. It provides smoother, more stable video. This is true even during high-speed FPV flight.
  • Rugged Design: The tough lens protection lets it’s survive many drone crashes. This makes it great for FPV racing.
  • It includes a protective TPU camera mount. It also comes with an ND8 filter. The filter reduces exposure in bright conditions.

CONS

  • No Screen: There is no built-in display screen. The RunCam mobile app configures the camera via QR code scanning. This method may be inconvenient for some users.
  • This camera works with GoPro Session-style mounts. However, some users have reported fit issues with certain mounting accessories.
  • The RunCam 5 has limited mounting options. If you use it as a standalone action cam, the options are more limited. This is true when compared to alternatives like GoPros.
  • App Usability: A few users have reported that the mobile app is hard to use. This is especially true for the Android version.

The RunCam 5 has great video specs and performance. It comes in a small, light, and durable form designed for FPV drone use. However, the lack of a screen is a trade-off. There are also potential mounting limits to consider.

3. Firefly Split NakedCam V3 4K Ultra HD Anti-Shake FPV Action Camera 170 Degree Wide Angle Cam for FPV RC Racer Drone​

Overview

The Firefly Split NakedCam V3 is a high-performance 4K action camera. It’s made for FPV (first-person view) drone racing and aerial videography. It has a wide 170-degree field of view. It has built-in electronic image stabilization. This gives footage a smooth, immersive look.

Key Features

  • 4K Ultra HD Video: It records video at up to 4K resolution for stunning detail and clarity. Also, it supports lower resolutions like 1080p for high-frame-rate recording.
  • It has a 170-degree wide-angle lens. The ultra-wide 170° FOV is great for immersive FPV footage. It puts the viewer in the pilot’s seat.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) helps reduce camera shake and vibrations. It uses a built-in gyro. This results in smoother video during high-speed, high-vibration FPV flights.
  • The NakedCam V3 is small and light, weighing just 26.8g. Its small size and low weight make it easy to mount. You can mount it on even the smallest racing drones without adding much weight.
  • The input accepts a wide 5-23V voltage. The drone’s battery powers it.

Connectivity and Output

  • Supports micro SD cards from 8GB to 64GB for ample recording time.
  • Features a USB-C port for configuring and transferring files.
  • Provides analog video output for compatibility with FPV goggles and transmitters.

Package Contents

The NakedCam V3 comes with several accessories:

  • Camera unit
  • Keypad for settings control
  • FPC cable
  • 19 to 28mm extension module
  • SD card protection module
  • Power cables
  • Mounting screws
  • Lens hood
  • User manual

Overall, the Firefly Split NakedCam V3 has impressive 4K recording. It also has image stabilization. These are in a lightweight, FPV-optimized package.

PROS

  • It records high-quality video at up to 4K resolution. This lets you capture stunning aerial footage with excellent detail and clarity.
  • The FOV is wide at 170°. It’s perfect for immersive first-person view flying. It puts the viewer right in the pilot’s seat.
  • It has Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). EIS uses a built-in gyro to smooth out camera shake and vibrations. This makes video more stable and professional. It works even during high-speed flight.
  • The NakedCam V3 is lightweight and compact. It weighs 26.8g and is small. You can mount it on small racing quads without adding much weight to your drone.
  • The power input is versatile. It accepts a wide 5-23V input voltage. Many drone battery setups can power it. You don’t need any extra voltage regulators.

CONS

  • No onboard recording. The NakedCam V3 has no SD card slot or recording capability. Video is output via an analog signal. This allows an external DVR or FPV goggles to record it. This adds complexity.
  • Configuration requires extras for camera setting changes. You must mount and wire the keypad module, and another component. This adds complexity, unlike cameras with built-in buttons or an app.
  • The analog video output is great for FPV. However, it limits compatibility with devices like monitors or computers. They need a digital HDMI output.
  • The NakedCam V3 is an FPV-focused camera. It doesn’t record audio. This may be a downside if you want to capture ambient sound or use it as a general-purpose action cam.

The Firefly Split NakedCam V3 offers impressive 4K video quality. It has a wide FOV and useful features like EIS. It comes in a compact form that’s perfect for FPV drones. However, the lack of onboard recording may be a drawback. Also, the need for extra accessories to change settings may be a drawback for some users.

4. RunCam Thumb Pro FPV Mini Action Camera 4K 16g 150°FOV Remote-Control Recording with Gyroflow Stabilization ND Filter for FPV Drone with ND Filter Set

Overview

The RunCam Thumb Pro is a light, small 4K action camera. It is made for FPV (first-person view) drone racing and aerial videography. It is just 16g. It is one of the lightest 4K cameras available. This makes it perfect for mounting on small FPV drones and cinewhoop quads.

Key Features

  • 4K Video: Records video at up to 4K 30fps resolution, as well as 2.7K 60fps for smoother footage.
  • 150° Wide FOV: The wide 150-degree field of view captures immersive FPV footage.
  • The built-in gyro sensor records motion data. You can use this data with Gyroflow software. It’s created smooth, shake-free video after processing.
  • Remote Control Recording allows starting and stopping recording from a distance. It’s very useful for FPV drone use.
  • Vertical Mounting: Supports both horizontal and vertical camera orientations for more shot variety.
  • You can swap out the protective lens cover for the included ND filters. These filters reduce light in bright conditions and minimize propeller “jello” effects.

Improvements from the Previous Version

The Thumb Pro is a big upgrade from the original RunCam Thumb. It has much better image quality. This makes it a far more usable FPV camera with Gyroflow stabilization.

Included Accessories

The camera comes with ND filters and a 3D printed mount. Some packages also include a large microSD card.

Limitations

It’s a major improvement over the original. But, some users still find the 4K image quality mediocre. This is especially true when compared to larger action cams. The camera also lacks a screen for framing and reviewing shots.

The RunCam Thumb Pro 4K has an impressive set of features and stabilization. It comes in one of the lightest 4K packages available. This makes it a great option for FPV drone pilots. They want to capture high-quality video from the smallest rigs.

PROS

  • The Thumb Pro is lightweight and compact. It weighs just 16g, and is one of the lightest 4K cameras. This makes it ideal for small FPV drones and cinewhoop quads. It doesn’t add much weight.
  • The camera records video at up to 4K 30fps and 2.7K 60fps. This lets you capture high-quality aerial footage.
  • It has built-in Gyroflow Stabilization. The gyro sensor records motion data. You can use it with Gyroflow software to stabilize the video later. This makes the footage smooth and professional.
  • Wide FOV: The 150° field of view is great for capturing immersive FPV video that puts the viewer in the pilot’s seat.
  • The Remote Control Recording feature lets users start and stop recording from afar. This is very convenient when the camera is on a drone.
  • Replace the protective lens cover with ND filters. They reduce light and cut “jello” effects in bright conditions.

CONS

  • The image quality is mediocre. It’s better than the original RunCam Thumb. But, some users still find the 4K image quality to be mediocre. This is especially true when compared to larger action cameras.
  • The camera lacks a built-in screen. You need it to frame shots or review footage. This can be inconvenient.
  • The gyro-stabilized footage needs post-processing. You must process it with the Gyroflow software. This adds a step that isn’t needed for cameras with built-in electronic stabilization.
  • The Thumb Pro’s battery life is short because it’s small. This is a problem for longer flying sessions. Larger action cams have longer battery life.

The RunCam Thumb Pro is light. It records in 4K and has gyro-based stabilization. These features make it great for capturing high-quality FPV footage from small drones. However, the image quality and lack of a screen may be drawbacks for some users.

5. DJI O3 Air Unit for FPV Drone, Digital Transmission System, 10km Max Range, 1080p/100fps H.265 Video Transmission

Overview

The DJI O3 Air Unit is small and light. It sends digital FPV video. It’s made to provide high-quality, long-range video for FPV drones. It uses DJI’s cutting-edge O3+ transmission tech. It delivers crystal-clear 1080p video at up to 100fps with very low delay.

Key Features

  • The O3 Air Unit supports video transmission. It goes up to 1080p resolution and 100fps frame rate. This provides stunning clarity for an immersive FPV experience. It also utilizes the efficient H.265 video coding format for improved image quality.
  • The O3 Air Unit has a maximum transmission range of 10km. It lets you fly farther and explore more with a stable, high-quality video feed.
  • The O3 Air Unit has ultra-low 30ms latency. It delivers 1080p/100fps video to DJI Goggles. This gives you snappy, responsive control and real-time video.
  • The O3 Air Unit has a large 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor. It offers great image quality and low-light performance. This gives you flexibility when editing.
  • The O3 Air Unit can record 4K video at 60fps with a wide 155° field of view. It’s not just for live feed. You can use it to capture cinematic footage from the sky.

Compatibility and Convenience

The O3 Air Unit is compatible with the DJI Goggles 2, DJI FPV Goggles V2, and the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2. It features 2T2R omnidirectional antennas for a robust connection. It also has 20GB of built-in storage.

Limitations

Some users have reported the unit can overheat quickly. It needs extra cooling during setup and while on the ground. There is also a lack of support for third-party OSD systems like INAV.

The DJI O3 Air Unit delivers great digital FPV performance. It comes in a small package and has clear 1080p video, very low latency, and an impressive 10km range. It’s an excellent choice for FPV pilots. They want to upgrade their view and fly farther than ever.

PROS

  • The camera supports 1080p resolution at up to 100fps with H.265 encoding. This provides stunning clarity for a great FPV experience.
  • The O3 Air Unit has a maximum range of 10km. It lets you fly farther and explore more. It also keeps a stable, high-quality video feed.
  • The system has ultra-low latency. It has a 30ms delay at 1080p/100fps with DJI Goggles 2. This lets you control things and see real-time video.
  • It has excellent image quality. It has a large 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor. This gives it great image quality and low-light performance. It allows for flexibility in post-production.
  • The unit can record 4K video at 60fps with a super-wide 155° FOV. This lets you capture cinematic aerial footage.

CONS

  • Overheating is an issue. Some users have reported that the unit can overhear. It needs extra cooling during setup and on the ground.
  • There is no support for popular third-party on-screen display (OSD) systems like INAV. This may be a drawback for some
  • The DJI O3 Air Unit is a premium digital FPV system. It has a high price compared to analog alternatives.
  • There are compatibility limitations. It works with DJI’s own goggles and controllers. However, it may have limited compatibility with third-party gear.

The DJI O3 Air Unit provides great digital FPV. It has clear 1080p video, very low latency, and long range. But, the potential for overheating is one factor. Also, consider the lack of some third-party add-ons and the high cost.

Our Pick: Firefly Split NakedCam V3 4K Ultra HD Anti

Excellent Video Quality

The NakedCam V3 records stunning 4K ultra HD video at up to 50fps with its 12MP Sony sensor and 170° wide angle lens . This lets you capture immersive FPV footage. It’s high-resolution with great detail and clarity.

Built-In Electronic Image Stabilization

A standout feature is the camera’s anti-shake capabilities. It has built-in gyro-based electronic image stabilization (EIS). It smooths out vibrations and shakes, resulting in much more stable video. This is true even during high-speed, high-vibration FPV flights.

Lightweight and Compact

Weighing 26.8g and with a 19x19mm camera size, the NakedCam V3 is very lightweight and compact. This makes it easy to mount on even the smallest FPV racing drones. It adds little weight, which is crucial for performance.

Versatile Connectivity

The camera supports analog video output. It sends a low-latency FPV feed to goggles and transmitters. It also accepts a wide 5-23V input voltage. Many drone battery setups can power it.

Expandability

The NakedCam V3 comes with useful accessories. These include a keypad for settings, extension modules, and lens hoods. This expandability allows you to customize the setup to your needs. It lacks an onboard screen. It needs extra parts compared to all-in-one action cams. But, the Firefly Split NakedCam V3 has great 4K video. It also has EIS stabilization and a light, FPV-optimized design. This makes it a top choice for filming from racing and freestyle drones. The reasonable price is also appealing for the features and performance provided.

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Jomy George
Jomy George

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