Runcam2 Action Camera as a Body/Head Camera

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by B81, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    Body mounted camera systems are popular for shooting competitions. Recording a course of fire is a useful way to get feedback on what you're actually doing, which in turn gives insight into what you need to improve on. Body cameras are also used extensively in law enforcement, but the needs of law enforcement differ from that of a competition shooter. The focus here is on competition.

    GoPro cameras are ubiquitous in the competition world, not to mention every other form of sport, hobby, and travel. My only criticism of the GoPro camera is it's size and weight. If I'm going to wear something on my head, I want it to be a small and light as possible. GoPro did make a Hero Session camera that was quite small, but they no longer make that camera. After doing some research, I came across the Runcam2 action camera by Runcam.

    Runcam is a company that makes FPV cameras for remotely piloted drones. They also make an action camera called the Runcam2 that utilizes similar technology as their FPV cameras. The key difference between the "action camera" and the "FPV" camera, is that an action camera records video locally, whereas an FPV camera is setup to transmit video in real-time to a remote viewer.

    It's tempting to just use an FPV camera. They are so tiny and light. However, you need to keep in mind that an FPV camera is just a camera unit. To complete the system, you will need to provide a power supply, some kind of housing or framework to mount the camera and supporting hardware, and either a transmitter or an "onboard" SD drive to capture the video feed. You may also need to provide some kind of auxiliary cooling. FPV cameras are designed to operate in a high speed air flow. If the camera sits in still air for too long, some cameras will overheat. Also, FPV camera are usually optimized to provide a low latency real-time video feed, rather than capturing high resolution video. So, unless you're just looking for a novel project to tinker with, you're better of with a proper action camera.

    I decided to "take one for the team" and buy a Runcam2. It has all of the essential features that you would need for a head mounted camera:
    • It is a small, light weight, self-contained unit. The weight of the Runcam is 49g with battery, whereas a GoPro 7 Black is 116g with battery.
    • It has onboard wifi for remote viewing and control of camera settings with a smartphone. An supporting app is available for Android (and I assume iPhone).
    • It comes with a mounting bracket that can be easily screwed or zip tied to the bill of a baseball cap.
    • It records up to 1080p at 60FPS. This is not as high res as GoPro, but I think it's good enough
    • It has image stabilization.
    • It only cost $80.
    Here is the system I put together.

    20190705_152009.jpg 20190705_151415.jpg 20190705_151405.jpg 20190705_151445.jpg 20190705_151353.jpg

    How well does it work? The camera worked great at first. The wifi link between the camera and my smartphone worked as advertised. The video quality was what you would expect for this grade of camera; i.e. it's not eye-popping video, but the image is clear and the colors are about where they should be. Likewise, the sound quality was okay. The image stabilization was marginal. But, for an $80 camera, I could see no reason to complain.

    Then I started having serious issues with the firmware. The camera would freeze up, and I would have to physically yank the battery out to force a hard reboot. Some of the buttons would start registering as a press from a different button. (This may have also been a physical bug in how the button pad was implemented.)

    I also noticed problems with the SD card drive. Depending on how the housing of the camera was loaded, e.g. if the camera body was twisted or compressed a little while it was in its mounting bracket, I would get reports of SD card errors. Sometimes, it would say that there was no SD card in the camera when in fact that they was.

    After charging the battery for the first time, I observed the battery swell to the point that it was difficult to remove and insert from the camera.

    In conclusion, you may want to think twice about the Runcam2. It's only $80, but that is $80 that could go towards a GoPro ;)

    As of this morning, I am now the proud owner of a GoPro Hero 7 Black. As the saying goes, buy once, cry once.

    Happy shooting!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    rmac and AGENT P like this.
  2. Macthepunisher

    Macthepunisher Active Member

    Aug 28, 2015
    I have been running a GoPro hero and a sidekick mount for the last 2 years. Amazing little setup with great battery life. Sidekick mounts makes great stuff
    rmac likes this.

  3. Spokes

    Spokes Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Sep 18, 2011
    Thanks for the heads up about the Runcam 2...Will go with the GoPro
    AGENT P likes this.

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