Review: Runcam Split Mini FPV/HD Camera

The Runcam Split Mini camera is a smaller version of the Split V2. The mini uses a smaller camera and a smaller 2-layer PCB with a 20x20mm mounting pattern. It can be used as an FPV camera as well as recording 1080p HD footage at 60FPS.

You can purchase the Split Mini from

If you haven’t seen what the Runcam Split is capable of, you should check out our review first. The Runcam Split Mini camera is basically the Split V2, “split” into 2 smaller PCB’s.

Split Mini vs. Split 2 - Size Comparison

Split Mini vs. Split 2 – Size Comparison

Smaller frames (90mm – 150mm) that run 3″, 2.5″ or even 2″ propellers don’t normally carry an HD action cameras due to the lack of power. The Runcam Split Mini could be the solution to allow these tiny micro quads to capture HD footage, as long as they support boards with a 20mm x 20mm mounting pattern.

The Split Mini might just be the answer for HD recording on sub-250g multirotors – which is the legal weight limit for drones without registration in many countries.

Further Reading:

  • Split Mini Camera
  • Mounting bracket
  • Various silicone cables
  • 8x M2 3mm Metal standoffs
  • 4x M2 25mm screws
  • 4x M2 5mm nylon standoff
Split Mini Camera Accessories

Split Mini Camera Accessories

  • HD FOV 165° / FPV FOV 130°
  • HD Video Resolution / frame rate: 1080p60fps / 1080p30fps / 720p60fps
  • Dimensions: PCB 29*27*11mm (20mm mounting pattern) / Lens Module 19*19*22mm
  • Power – Voltage/Current: 5-17V / 430mA when idle, 540mA-650mA when recording
  • Weight: 14.5g without any standoff & screws
  • Integrated Microphone (but not for FPV)

The Split Mini has a very similar spec to the Split V2, except the lack of support for WiFi module, and a camera lens with slightly smaller FOV.

Camera Module

The lens module has almost identical dimensions and mounting holes to the Runcam Swift Micro.

Split Mini Camera vs. Micro Siwft 2

Split Mini Camera vs. Micro Siwft 2

Ribbon Cable

The lens module (camera) is connected to the processor module (PCB) with a ribbon cable. The ribbon cable on the Split Mini is slightly shorter than the Split V2, and measures about 65mm.

The connection between the ribbon cable and PCB has changed to “board to board” connector, making it easy to connect and disconnect.

It can be disconnected by accident in a crash easily as it is, but Runcam came up with a solution to this by providing a metal plate that sits on top of this connector. This should provide enough protection and works to hold the connector firmly in place.

Micro SD Card

The Split Mini supports an SD card capacity of up to 64GB, and also has metal plate to prevent the memory card from ejecting in a crash.

To eject the SD card, simply lift the metal plate and push the card to release.

Processing Module (PCB’s)

The Split Mini is built on 2 separate boards that are connected through a “board to board” connector.

Taking them apart reveals both sides of the PCB’s.

There are 5 solder pads on the Split Mini for power, video signal and serial connection (for FC control). There is no JST plastic connector. Also, the lack of audio output means you won’t have sound for FPV, but you will still get sound in your HD footage.

Talking about audio, beware that the sound quality of the Runcam Split Mini will not be as good as the full size Split because of the lack of dedicated audio processor. (it’s removed due to the limited space)

This is the list of hardware changes:`

  • Smaller mounting pattern (from 30.5mm to 20mm)
  • Takes up less horizontal space, but more vertical space due the two-board design
  • WiFi feature removed
  • Smaller camera and lens
  • Ribbon cable connector changed – more robust against crashes
  • Dedicated audio processor removed – lower audio quality
  • Speaker removed – no more beeping when pressing power button or record button
  • Audio output pin for FPV removed
  • Overall lighter

Because of the dual PCB design, the Split Mini requires more vertical space in the frame for installation. Therefore It’s not going to fit all the frames out there.

I am going to use the Runcam Split Mini in this 3″ build from 3B-R (purchase link).

This frame seems to be a perfect platform, with just enough room for an AIO flight controller (FC with PDB integrated) and the Split Mini camera. I will be using four standalone ESC’s mounted on the arms.

The height of the Split Mini stack is just under 12mm. So when you are selecting or designing a frame for this camera, you should make sure there is enough room for the FC stack.

This is how small the Runcam Split Mini is when compared to the full size Split V2.

The 3″ build is done, all-up weight is 152g. 🙂 Even so it’s amazing because this tiny guy is able to capture 1080p 60fps footage!

You can easily stay under the 250g legal weight limit for drones. I will be using 4S LiPo batteries between 600mah to 1000mah.

The stack is very tight. I managed to remove the metal standoffs on top and bottom in order to squeeze it in there.

Latency Testing

The average latency of the Split Mini is about 37ms. Recording HD video doesn’t seem to have an impact on the latency.

My FPV latency testing results.

Aspect Ratio

You can choose between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for your FPV video in the Split Mini, the setting is under “TV-OUT” => “Full Screen”. When selecting full screen it will output 4:3, but you get a smaller FOV image (basically with the left and right edges chopped off).

Under “Non-full screen”, you get the exact image as you would see in the HD footage. Supposedly that’s 16:9 but you will notice 2 black bars on the top and bottom of the FPV video. This is not a huge problem but i hope they can improve this in the future and make use of the whole screen.

Image Quality

When looking through my goggles, the image quality of the Split Mini as an FPV camera is pretty good, it looks just like it’s HD footage with lower resolution, very natural colour and great image detail.

It is lacking some good WDR (wide dynamic range) that we get from dedicated FPV cameras like the Swift or the Eagle, especially the ability in showing shadow detail and low light environments. But considering the weight saving this is definitely not a deal breaker.

I think I mentioned the very same issue when I was reviewing the Split V1. The dynamic range of the Split is just not quite perfected for low light flying, yet! But for general day time flying it’s okay.

Not sure if it’s just me, but I feel like the FPS might be a little lower with the Split Mini, it’s totally flyable, but the video just feels a little “choppy” and not fluid like other dedicated FPV cameras.

Image Quality

I have to be honest here, the image quality is quite nice at first glance, but when you compare it to the the Split V1 back to back, you can tell the V1 is clearly better. The image from the Split Mini is not as sharp, and the colour looks a bit more washed out. I think this is due to the smaller lens, you can only get so much performance out of a tiny camera.

With that said, I have to remind you again that the video was recorded with a 3″ micro quad, and the whole camera weighs only 15g! Considering you will use an FPV camera anyway, the Split Mini really only adds 8g extra weight to your build.

I am actually quite happy with the result: excellent WDR (in the HD video) and sharpness, and very natural colour.

Despite the smaller lens, the Split Mini has the same FOV as the Split V2 on paper. However from my testing, the mini has a tiny bit wider FOV than its bigger brother.

Audio

If the audio on the GoPro Session 5 gets a 8/10, I will probably give the Split V2 a 6/10, and the Split Mini a 3/10. The audio of the Mini is similar to that of a Mobius or Runcam HD.

The wind noise is really loud, it’s almost as loud as the sound from the motors. I shall try to cover the mic with some foam in my next flight see if I can get any improvement. I think part of the reason for the terrible audio is the lack of dedicated audio processor. (because there is no space!)

If you don’t care about listening to motor noise in your videos, then this is not a problem for you.

Here is my first video test:

Micro Quad Parts List:

The camera and VTX are directly powered by the FC’s 5V 2A BEC. I did not soft mount the FC, or use any additional capacitors and yet the video still looks pretty clean.

Another test on a cloudy day with the iFlight iH3 RTF.

What happens if power is disconnected during recording?

The video will be saved automatically, but you will lose a few seconds of the recording at the end of the video.

How to update Split Mini firmware?

  • Download the firmware file (extension ends with .BRN)
  • Place the file on your SD card, put the SD card in your camera
  • Power up your camera and the Split will read the file and begin updating
  • LED should start flashing, when it stops the upgrade is complete
  • Dec 2017 – product overview published
  • Jan 2018 – more testing and thoughts added
  • Aug 2018 – added more info

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