Runcam Eagle vs Runcam Swift

This short comparison article takes you through you Runcam Eagle FPV camera and the Runcam Swift FPV camera. Now, both are pretty popular small FPV cameras but there is quite a significant price different between the two (i.e. the Eagle is more expensive by around £20), so is it worth it?

The Facts

So let's have a quick look at some of the specifications of the two...

The Swift

  • 600TVL resolution
  • CCD sensor (which some people say is essential for FPV cams...)
  • Interchangeable between PAL and NTSC
  • Standard WDR (wide dynamic range)
  • Standard lens FOV is 90 degrees
  • Available in IR blocked or IR sensitive (i.e. is flexible)
  • Latency: 25-30ms
  • Weight: 12g
  • Dimensions: 26x26x30mm

The Eagle

  • 800TVL resolution
  • CMOS sensor (is this a problem??)
  • Interchangeable between PAL and NTSC
  • Global WDR
  • Choice of FOV - 130 or 140 degrees
  • Latency: 45-50ms
  • Weight: 16g
  • Dimensions: 26x26x31mm

Physical Attributes

In terms of the physical differences, the Runcam Eagle comes in a metal housing as opposed to the plastic used on the Swift. The reasoning behind this is that FPV cams take quite a knock and so they need to be robust. Runcam has certainly achieved that with the Eagle but this, of course, comes at the price of a heavier camera. This does only translates to 4g in difference however, and so most pilots won't be bothered by this.

The modification of the metal housing does not increase the size of the camera however, which I might say is more important than the weight. The Eagle is longer by 1mm but I don't think that frames have become so small that 1mm would be vital...at least not yet.

The Sensor

The Eagle uses a CMOS sensor as mentioned above as opposed to the CCD sensor used by the Swift. For most pilots, it has been drummed into them that CCD is a must when flying FPV but Runcam have chosen CMOS for a reason. They believe that the CMOS technology is a new and improving one and that we should trust them... but should we? In this case I think we should. The improvements in CMOS sensors has been noticeable in recent years and the quality difference between the two is negligible these days. On top of this, CMOS sensors generally consume less power and are cheaper to produce.

The Eagle also uses a higher resolution sensor, clocking in 800TVL to the Swifts 600TVL.

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

If could be said that this is were the Eagle comes into its own. Runcam have now developed what they call 'global' WDR which does work even better than standard WDR. For those who haven't heard of this term, WDR allows the camera to process the image as best as possible when there is a range of light conditions in the shot. For example, when there is a bright sky and a dark horizon, WDR allows you to see as clearly as possible the two contrasting areas. This is key when racing as you know.

This works really well on the Eagle. It's not bad on the Swift (especially on the IR blocked version) but it has to be said that the Eagle is better. The colours are more realistic and you can more easily keep track of where you are. There is a good video comparing these below.

Latency

Latency is a pretty important issue for FPV cameras. That is why the Swift is so popular - it has a latency of around 25-30ms (hence the name Swift) and the Eagle does have a slower latency at around 45-50ms. However, this is barely significant and you don't really notice it when flying.

Night Flying

Just a quick note on night flying with these two cameras. Basically, the Eagle now out-performs the Swift in this area. It's almost actually as good as the Runcam Owl Plus which is specifically designed to fly at night (obviously). You can see this for yourself below. Not bad...

Aspect Ratio/FOV

So the last thing we come to is the aspect ratio that available with the Runcam Eagle. You can choose between the 16:9 ratio (with 130 degree FOV) or the 4:3 ratio (with 140 degree FOV) and both of these ranges are bigger than the Runcam Swift (90 degree FOV). This is a great choice and the 4:3 aspect in particular works well.

Conclusion

As you may already have guessed, I am quite a fan of the Runcam Eagle. The only disadvantage compared to the Swift that I can see is that slower latency but in reality, this isn't noticeable when flying, and that's what counts. It's slightly heavier (by 4g) but this shouldn't be a problem and it is only heavier because it is more robust and crash-resistant. It's the same size, has a higher resolution and it also incorporates global WDR - possibly the best feature of this camera.

The Runcam Eagle is a great FPV camera and I would say that if you can afford it, you will not regret the decision to buy it. For more info, have a look at this comprehensive review that I like:

Where to Buy

So I am going to suggest a few places where you can purchase these cameras:

Runcam Eagle

Runcam Swift

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