|Are you looking for a cheap and lightweight HD digital camera small enough for use on your rc plane or helicopter? Let me show you the rc camera I’ve chosen and also give you a review of this little gadget.|
I’ve wanted to get some aerial photo going on using my rc plane so in an order that I made recently from HobbyKing.com I decided to order the HD Wing camera. This is my first rc camera but I am quite familiar with other kind of cameras from another hobby that I have. After this order I have had some time experimenting with the camera and tried it in different situations.
This mini hd flycam was bought for 35$. Since I ordered other stuff at the same time the shipping, customs and tax was divided upon many items. But still the price of this camera was really good.
I have to say that I was a bit worried after reading some comments about this rc camera but this far I can’t say that I agree with those comments. I don’t say that those comments are wrong or anything like that but those things just haven’t happened to me.
- HD Wing camera (with built-in 850mAh LiPo and microphone)
- USB cable
- AV cable
- Size: 74mm x 28mm x 15mm
- Weight: 29,4g
- 120 degrees wide angle lens
- Video resolution: 1280×720 with 30fps
- Photo resolution of 2560×1920
- Motion detection (video or photo)
- Battery: built-in 850mAh LiPo
Not excellent but good enough. You won’t get professional quality on your rc videos/photos but I think this is enough at least for my purposes and for this price. The flycam should have a video resolution of 1280×720 with 30fps and a photo resolution of 2560×1920 (about 5MP).
Below are a couple of example videos from YouTube:
In low light condition there are a lot of artifacts in the picture. The camera also have some problems an a situation with a light sky and a darker ground. Flying towards the sun is not handled good but I think this is a situation that many cameras have a problem with.
I would say that the on board camera is handling situations mostly good and that there are a few exceptions where you would have been glad if it had done something else.
There are a few things to say about the handling of the camera. To start with I can say that the user interface on the camera is less than intuitive. Further on the manual in the form of a picture with a “legend” on is not the easiest to follow. There is also a pdf manual for a camera that does not look the same as this one but I think it is the same inside. Also notable is that the camera is delivered without the manual. Instead the manual can be downloaded from the “Files” tab of the product page at HobbyKing (direct link to picture here and direct link to pdf).
I had a lot of trouble understanding how to handle the camera and I’ve seen that others also have had trouble understanding what the different buttons do so here is my attempt to describe it:
|HD Wing camera – button side (also up)|
- Power on (push and hold for a second or two and then wait for camera to initialize – vibration)
- Mode selection (you cycle through the modes by quickly pushing the button, pay attention the the led lights to know which mode you are in):
- The camera starts in manual video mode – blue led
- Manual photo – push once after the camera is initialized, red led)
- Motion detection video mode – push twice after the camera is initialized, blue and yellow led
- Motion detection photo mode – push three times after the camera is initialized, red and yellow led
- TV mode – this mode is initialized when the AV cable is connected and used for setup, red and blue led
- Move selection up in the setup menu in TV mode
- Push once to start/stop recording
- Use for selection in setup menu in TV mode
- Move selection down in the setup menu in TV mode
- I haven’t found any other use for this button
- Press and hold for a couple of seconds to reset the camera
|HD Wing camera – battery side (also down)|
The memory card that I am using is a Transcend 8 GB microSDHC Class 6. This card has quite good read/write speed and I don’t feel that I have any problems with this card. Also according to my calculations the estimated amount of memory consumed is ~1.87MB/s or ~112MB/minute for recorded video. So the bigger memory card the better. I would say at least 8GB and that’s why I can recommend this memory card.
For more information on speed classes etc. for Micro SDHC (and other) memmory cards here are two links that you can dig deeper into:
Save your videos/photos
- Connect the USB cable to your camera and computer and the camera will appear as a removable storage on your computer. I have tried this on Mac OS X 10.6.8 and on Windows 7 without any problems. Then just start to copy your files in the usual manner.
- Remove the memory card from the camera and plug it into you memory card reader (this one for example: Transcend P8 15-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader TS-RDP8K (Black)). With that one connected to your computer copy your files in the usual manner.
The FPV trick
Press button 1 and wait until the camera is initialized (blue led and vibration). Go into motion detection video mode by pressing button 1 twice (blue and yellow led). Insert AV cable. Now you (in rapid succession) unplug the AV cable, press button 1 twice until you are in manual video mode (blue led) and put the AV cable back in. If you fail the camera will shut down and you will have to start over again. Now you can just press button 2 to start your recording as usual.
If you run into the problem with the HD Wing camera not responding to anything
A couple of times I have run into the problem with the camera not responding to anything. I have used the camera and the turns it off. Then when trying to turn it on again nothing happens and no led’s are showing anything.
Solution: Try to push and hold the reset button for a few seconds. The reset button can be found beside the memory card slot. Because it is inside the plastic shrink tube it can be tricky to push this button.
Would I recommend this camera? Well, you need to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. In my opinion 35$ is a good price for this camera but if you look at the peers you will probably get equal or a bit better value somewhere else. The HD Wing camera is a simple camera with no fancy packaging or features. The image quality is OK if you remember to get a good fast Micro SD memory card. You can use it for FPV which I think is positive for a lot of guys out there. The fact that you need to connect it to your TV for setup is a bit disturbing but from my point of view but since you only need to do that once that’s not a too big issue. Of course there’s no LCD screen incorporated in this little fellow so you need to connect the camera (or at least the memory card) to your computer to be able to see what you have recorded.
All in all – I have never had any problems with my camera and I have had a lot of fun with it.
- FPV compatible (with a tweak)
- Does not work without Memory card (not included)
- Need to connect to TV for setup
- User interface
Hope this was useful,