Capture the action with onboard video – Seven cameras that won’t bust your budget

Capture the action with onboard video – Seven cameras that won’t bust your budget

Whether you’re looking for project inspiration or want to find out what type of radio-controlled vehicle would be the best fit for you, one of the best ways to get this questions answered or help solidify your opinion is to see video of these machines in action.

First-person-view video isn’t only popular among quadcopter fans. Mounting a camera to your short course truck, nitro racer, or backyard bashing r/c buggy is a great way to show off the action that you’ll experience with these vehicles. And while the first camera brand that comes to mind with on-board, action video may be GoPro, here are seven options that will give you great results without destroying your build budget.

Action Shot Camera –  Standard Definition (SD) – $20.15 (Amazon.com)

While the Action Shot Camera (SD) from Jakks isn’t the heftiest action camera on the market, it is one that can withstand abuse and still give you decent photos and video to share with your friends.  Add to it great accessories like a waterproof case, a high-impact protective case and an array of mounting brackets and you’ll be able to outfit your R/C rig with one (or two of these cameras) to capture all of your trail or bashing action.

Specifications:

Video

  • Standard Def (640×480) at 30 frames per second
  • QVGA Resolution (320×240) at 60 frames per seconds

Photos

  • 640×380 Resolution

View sample video from the Action Shot Standard Definition (SD) camera

Action Shot Camera – High Definition (HD) – $48.99 (Amazon.com)

At the same size and dimensions as it’s standard definition brother, the HD-version of the Action Shot Camera steps up the game by producing 1280 x 720 video at 30 frames-per-second and 5mp still photos.  Having the same accessory list as the SD-version as well, makes this a great camera to toss into your R/C bag and take with you, no matter where your adventures take you.

Speaking from experience, this is a great camera and one that I bring with me on my outings and excursions.  It’s light enough to mount just about anywhere and can give you some great footage to show off your machine’s performance.

Specifications:
Video

  • HD Resolution (1280×720) at 30 Frames per second
  • Standard Def (640×480) at 60 frames per second
  • QVGA Resolution (320×240) at 120 frames per seconds

Photos

  • 5MP Resolution

View sample video from the Action Shot High Definition (HD) camera

Walkera iLook Plus HD FPV Camera 5.8ghz iLook + – $134.98 (Amazon.com)

The form-factor of GoPro’s cameras has been a popular one, and one that a number of manufacturers have begun to mimic.  This GoPro-esque camera from Walkera shoots great video and appears to be well-built enough to withstand a few licks and impacts.

Specifications:

  • Video Resolution: HD 1280x720P
  • FPS: 30 FPS
  • Micro High Speed SD Card: Max 32G
  • Video Format: AVI
  • AV Output QVGA 320×240 PAL/1Vp-p
  • Photo: 1000000 Pixels

View sample video from the Walkera iLook Plus HD FPV camera

C-GO 1 Camera by Blade – $65.64 (Amazon.com)

Another camera in the “looks like a GoPro” class  is the C-GO 1 from Blade.  This is a popular camera among the quadcopter crowd, for it’s light weight, compact size, and the video quality that it produces.  Capable of shooting 1080p video at 30 fps, this is a great camera to consider for your fpv setup.

Specifications:

  • HD Recording 1080P 30FPS
  • Video Format AVI (H.264)
  • Photo Format JPEG
  • Audio Format AAC
  • Photo Resolution 1920×1080

View a video sample from the C-GO 1 camera

GoPro Hero – $129.99 (Amazon.com)

Released in 2014, GoPro’s entry-level, budget-minded camera includes much of what you’ve come to expect from the biggest name in action video cameras, with a few features left out to keep the cost low.  At less than $150.00, you’re getting the rugged durability that GoPro is known for, along with a HD video camera that can shoot 1080p video footage and 5mp stills.

Specifications:

  • 1080p30 and 720p60 video
  • 5MP photos up to 5 frames per second
  • Auto Low Light
  • Waterproof to 131’ (40m)

View a video sample from the GoPro Hero camera

Orbo® NR22 Extreme Sports Action Camera HD Video 4x Digital Zoom – $55.75

I threw in an actual GoPro camera to break up the string of similar-shaped cameras that I had been listing as options. With that out of the way, here’s another camera that mimics the popular style of the class-leader.  Orbo’s NR22 camera is not only built for action, but it’s available at a great price.  The pricing on many of the models listed on this page make it tempting to buy multiple cameras for setting up a few various camera angles on your radio-controlled vehicle.

Specifications:

  • 5mp photos
  • 1280 x 720 video

View sample video from the Orbo NR22 camera

Vehicle Mini Video Camera DV DVR Car Sports Recorder Camcorder – $22.10 (HobbyPartz.com)

This was the first camera that I purchased back when I first got into the hobby.  Two things drew me to this camera; the small form-factor and the price.  With it’s cylindrical shape, you can mount this camera to a variety of locations on your R/C vehicle and get a great sense of what it’s like to travel along, a few inches off of the ground.  The quality is decent for the price and the cost is low enough that you won’t feel too bad if the camera bears the brunt of an impact or two.

Specifications:

  • Sensor Type: 1/4 color CMOS 3M pix
  • Lens: lens f 2.36 mm/F 1.76
  • Auto gain control: Yes
  • Auto white balance: Yes
  • Shutter speed: 1/81/5000 second
  • Video output: AVI file, USB
  • Video rate/size: 30 fps, 1800MB/hour
  • Video resolution: VGA 720×480
  • Picture Resolution: 1600×1200 DPI

View sample video from the Vehicle Mini Video Camera DV DVR Car Sports Recorder Camcorder

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