What Is The
Best FPV Cameras?

One question that gets asked a lot by many pilots getting into the hobby of drone raving is “why do most racing drones have two cameras installed?” The cameras being referred to are the FPV and HD cameras, and the question seeks to understand why pro pilots run both cameras simultaneously. Many people wonder why a GoPro camera isn’t good enough to provide the footage necessary to fly a racing drone.

​The easy answer to the question above is that FPV cameras serve a completely different purpose in comparison to an HD camera. While FPV cameras are designed to provide a video feed with low light sensitivity and latency, HD cameras are required to record digital HD video with full-color representation. To answer the question of “why two cameras?” there are simply no cameras on the market that is capable of combining both FPV and HD purposes.

What Is An FPV Camera?

With regards to drones, an FPV camera is a small camera that is attached to the front of a drone, which gives the pilot a first-person view of the drone flight as though they were in the cockpit of a jet. FPV cameras are a very important feature that a racing drone must have in order to make flying easier and even more enjoyable. You get to see exactly what your drone sees and your eyes become the eyes of the drone.

​Some drones come fitted with a built-in FPV camera, while others simply let you attach an FPV camera that has been purchased separately. One key feature of an FPV camera is that its video must be output as an analog signal, which can then be received by the VTX. FPV cameras are specially built for this purpose. FPV cameras have an image sensor component attached to a small circuit board, which is responsible for converting the light captured by the camera’s lens into an analog video signal that is sent to the VTX.

Things to Consider When Choosing an FPV Camera

Considering the fact that an FPV camera is probably one of the most important features in a racing drone FPV set up, you might as well take time to understand the things to consider in order to choose the best one.  Many pro pilots will admit that the image that is being viewed on an FPV display is as good as the FPV camera.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of an FPV camera can determine a whole lot such as how easily the camera can be attached to the frame. Initially, FPV cameras were once built on a 32x32mm PCB and they did not have any protection, they were basically referred to as “board cameras”. The components that make up the board cameras were usually exposed and get damaged when the drone crashes. Manufacturers later made changes and started building FPV cameras with a protective case, which has not become the standard practice 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 that are referred to as “AIO” (all-in-one) with an integrated video transmitter. They are usually very small and lightweight, however, the downside is that they do not produce great images. They are designed for smaller drones and are rarely used on bigger 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 usually a factor that many drone pilots who are into high-speed flying or drone racing consider when shopping for an FPV camera

Latency is so important that 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 translates to your drone moving 1.4m before you are able to react to obstacles.

​We suggest that you test the latency of the FPV camera you intend to purchase, it is not something that you can check as it is not printed on the specification.

CCD and CMOS

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

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

​Let us take a lot at some of the advantages of both CCD and CMOS image sensors.

CCD

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

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 jello effect

FOV (Field of View)

When you go FPV camera shopping you are most like going to come across FOV when given lenses with different focal widths.

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

​A wider FOV means that you get to see more of your environment, which is important when racing or flying proximity. But if your FOV is too large, your image might get distorted and lose quality, which is sometimes referred to as a fisheye effect.

NTSC or PAL

This might be considered an important factor when choosing an FPV camera, and sometimes it is not so important. But we are including it just 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. In terms of resolution, PAL offers better, while NTSC offers a higher frame rate. If you are more concerned about better age quality, we suggest 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

​It is important to note that both NTSC and PAL are tied to specific regions i.e. NTSC is mostly used in North America, South Korea, Japan while PAL is used in Australia, mostly Europe, Asia, and a major part of Africa. We advise that you stick with the preferred format for your region, even though it doesn’t really matter these days because most formats are supported by 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 is based on how many black and white lines can be displayed In an image in a horizontal orientation. What this means is that a camera with 600TVL can display 300 white lines and 300 black lines alternately in one frame. Consequently, the more TVL an FPV camera has, the better the quality and definition image you will get. FPV cameras come with TVL ranging from 600 to 1200.

​While the TVL numbers might be thrown about on specifications, we advise you focus more on the image quality of an FPV camera.

What Are The Best FPV Cameras?

1. FXT 800TVL Mini FPV Camera

The FXT Mini FPV Camera is arguably the worlds lightest and smallest FPV camera with a size of 16x16x14mm, and weighing only 3.9g. Do not let the size of this FPV camera fool you as it is capable of delivering high-quality images with low latency.

This FXT has a high resolution up to 800TVL, 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 FOV 115 degrees, 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 FOV 115 degrees, which gives you a wider view while flying your drone.

The integrated OSD lets you view data such as battery voltage and flight time in real time on your display without obstructing your view.

​As with most FPV cameras, the FXT mini is capable of switching between NTSC/PAL and screen ratios 16:9/4:3, and it also supports night vision in black/white.

PROS

  • Comes in a 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 Eagle 2 Pro FPV Camera

The Eagle 2 Pro is definitely an upgrade on the previous eagle model. RunCam’s Eagle series of FPV cameras are quite popular on the market and are definitely contenders for the best FPV cameras. The Eagle 2 Pro is a solid FPV camera fitted with all the important components and more. It is very durable, cased in an aluminum alloy shell, which makes it lighter. There are a few features that stand the Eagle 2 Pro out from the rest, but it has more in common with many of the models out there.

The Eagle to 2 pro allows you to switch the screen ratio between 16:9/4:3 via the OSD menu on the display feed. The 16:9 gives pilots a wider angle of view. It also comes with an integrated microphone.

This FPV cameras strongest feature is its low latency, which is reduced to zero level, and it is very efficient in low illumination. It adjusts between low light and high light intensity smoothly without disrupting image quality. You can also switch between signal system  NTSC and PAL via the OSD menu.

The Eagle Pro 2 boasts of an 800TVL image resolution, and a wide Dynamic Range, producing some of the most impressive images.

PROS

  • The alumni alloy casing provides the FPV camera with the protection and durability it needs to survive crashes
  • 800TVL image resolution
  • ​The 16:9 screen ratio provides a wider view
  • ​It has a feature that lets you increase your FOV
  • The Eagle 2 Pro is very easy to set up
  • ​Fantastic image quality

CONS

  • Runs on a CMOS image sensor

3. Spotter V2 Micro FPV AIO Camera​

The ​Spotter V2 Micro FPV AIO Camera is quite popular among mini quad owners due to its versatility and small size. The ​​Spotter V2 just 9g and is not bigger than two coin. It is compatible with a variety of branded FPV goggles amd monitors that are equipped with 5.8GHz receivers.

This all-in-one FPV camera is easy to install in only a matter of seconds, and it does not require any special skills or soldering, making it a good choice for beginners.

It has a FOV of 120 degrees and NTSC video format.

​This AIO FPV camera combines the functions of a transmitter, an antenna, and an FPV camera, and it is suitable for micron drones such as the Tiny Whoop.

PROS

  • Incredibly small and lightweight, about the size of a coin​Packs three
  • features into one FPV camera
  • Includes an antenna and a transmitter
  • ​Great value for money
  • ​Durable whip antenna design
  • Very stable with shock from the drone
  • ​Decent quality images
  • ​Compatible with branded goggles and monitors

CONS

  • No protective casing
  • Not the best in low illumination

4. Crazepony Caddx Turtle V2 FPV Camera

Another impressive AIO FPV camera is the Crazepony Caddx Turtle V2 FPV Camera HD 1080P/60fps. The Micro AIO is so small that you could lose it while unboxing if it fell off the table. It is actually smaller them a quarter, and this is not exaggerating. It weights just 12g and has a dimension of 19 * 19mm. Recording: 1080p/60fps,1080p/30fps,720p/60fps.

This Micro FPV camera is fitted with tiny buttons used to change settings such as switching from NTSC/PAL Switchable format by long pressing, while the orientation of the video can be changed by short presses.

The Micro AIO features a 1.8mm lens with 1/2.7 inch COMS sensor to 4pin FPV silicone cable (extend into a 2pin joint for OSD board and a 3pin joint for FPV).

This FPV features a wide lens angle which is great if you are flying at high speed and a FOV angle of 120 degrees.

 

PROS

  • Great value for money
  • ​Perfect for mini drones, thanks to its small size and weight
  • Camera HD 1080P/60fps
  • Extremely easy to set up
  • ​Combines camera, antenna, and transmitter

CONS

  • It lacks a protective cover

5. Wolfwhoop WT03 Micro FPV AIO 600TVL Camera

The ​WT03 is a micro FPV camera that is extremely easy to install; it is a plug and play FPV camera that is powered by 1sS LiPo battery. This micro FPV camera is easy to operate, it has button control which can be used to switch channels. It boasts of a 120 degree FOV and it produces impressive image quality with zero latency.

It is fitted with a video out cable that can be connected to an OSD. Unlike the Crazepony AIO, the ​WT03 features a camera and transmitter set up such that they are not fitted on the same PCB, which can be a little confusing for someone who is not experienced.

The most impressive feature on the ​WT03 is that it allows a long range of flights without loss of transmission or image quality.

​Suitable for Ultra Micro RC FPV Quadcopter and Fiber Frame Kit, designed for all ranges of flying both indoor or outdoor.

PROS

  • Produces high quality images
  • Better range
  • Separate components allow for better use of space of frames
  • Very easy to install and operate
  • Connects easily to OSD
  • ​Great value for money

CONS

  • Digital noise can be noticeLacks a
  • protective shell

Our Pick: RunCam Eagle 2 Pro FPV Camera

The Runcam Eagle 2 Pro definitely checks all the boxes when considering an FPV camera. It produces fantastic image quality, it is cased in an aluminum alloy which protects it from frequent crashes. The fact that the Runcam Eagle was such a popular and impressive FPV camera, it gives the Eagle 2 the much needed hype that it needs. With an image resolution of 800TVL and a wider GOV of 140 degrees, there is no way the other FPV cameras on the list are beating the Eagle to our pick of the week.

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