Flight cam[edit | edit source]
Traditionally, flight cameras have been re-purposed from the board cameras used in analog security cameras. Without cases, these cameras are lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and are capable of handling a diverse range of lighting conditions. Most of these cameras use a CCD imaging sensor, which is susceptible to 'jello' or 'tearing' during fast motion, but in practise, this is not an issue for a live camera.
Due to the recent increase in demand for FPV cameras, there has been a move to build FPV specific cameras, that combine the flight cam with an HD recording camera (such as this one from Boscam, http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__56990__Boscam_TR1_FPV_All_In_One_Camera_and_5_8_GHz_Transmitter_with_HD_Video_recorder.html) But these are yet to make widespread usage.
When choosing a camera, it's generally advised to pick one with a WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) feature, this allows the camera to expand its dynamic range to minimise black and white clipping, which is very handy when alternately pointing at the sky / ground.
A conservative option[edit | edit source]
A well-tested but old CCD camera is the infamous Sony Super HAD II CCD 600TVL Board Camera. Can be had for $26-29 from here. It does not use the latest technology, but is known to work well and not interfere with other components. The 600tvl camera (CC1333 etc) has been tested for GPS and UHF noise, and found to be very quiet. Also, it has been tested for low voltage cutoff, and it still works at under 9V, although it is NOT advisable to run it that low!
Note that there are various options to choose from, when buying a specific camera:
The IR blocked version cannot see IR light, so during the day its colors are nicer, and probably you can see some more detail. The IR unblocked version can see IR light, so during the night it will see more stuff and it will be easier to fly with it.
The board camera version without case is light but hard to mount. The plastic case makes this easier. The metal case is heavier.
The mini version of the camera is lighter and smaller but has not been as rigorously tested as the normal version. And it's more expensive, too. So if you don't need the small size/weight, why not go with the normal version?
Read the descriptions of each camera to see the options available. Usually links to other models are given there.
Other cameras[edit | edit source]
"Isn't this 1500tvl camera better?" Yes, it may be higher resolution, or even have better performance at low light, or be cheaper. But keep in mind that all of these cameras sometimes cause other problems. Sometimes they emmit noise that will make an on-board GPS unable to see satellites, or a UHF LRS receiver to receive adequate signal.
In short, if you have time, read various discussions and reviews about each camera on fpvlab.com. If you have money AND time order 2-3 of them and try them out. If you want something that just works, is very well tested and does a very good job, order the 600tvl camera above!
HD recording cam[edit | edit source]