Cheap action cam for race footage, Runcam 5

Chaos_Canyon Thursday, 4/30/2020

Hey All,

I know a few of you are looking at what cameras you can use and I know a lot of us are on tight budgets and can't afford a bunch of GoPro's but I've just trialled this Runcam 5 orange and the first couple shots I'm pretty happy with.

Here's the test footage with some more details about the settings used. Let me know what you think

There is no fancy effects/grading added to ithe video, just some speed effects, as I wanted to see it raw and I didn't even have all my lights. First thoughts are it is great value at $99USD delivered (excludes micro SD card - accepts up to 128gb) and has already survived a fall off the track at Kayem corner (turn 1 and the highest point to fall off from). I'll be using it in Round 2 of 'The Redemption' this weekend so I'll get a much better feel for how it performs after that. 

It is super compact (38mmx38mm) and could run in one of the HW cam cars (if I had one - will try to make one though) for that chase cam footage.

Shooting modes range from 4K at 30FPS, 2.7K at 30 & 60FPS, 1080P @30, 60 and 120FPS and less but why would you go lower? 

You can see the cam for yourself here if you want to get all the deets :) 


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TuxMcBea 5/1/20

That doesn't look too bad at all. In my (limited) experience, the cheaper action cams don't deal with low light situations well at all and while that is far from perfect, it does sem to be better than I would have hoped. Reckon once you have the lighting sorted that has real potential.

  • Yeah. This wasn’t all my lighting and I normally colourgrade my footage before I release it so this could work very well once the lighting is better as that always helps reduce blur and grain, which makes it clearer — Chaos_Canyon
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redlinederby 5/1/20
Site manager

That looks very good indeed. I had tried some less-than-top quality cameras in the past and my luck was the opposite. But this looks especially good at 50% when chasing the cars. 

So, not having used a GoPro or any "action" camera do you line up your shots if you can't see what you're shooting? I assume it uses your phone as the viewfinder?

Thanks for the quick review...I might investigate one of these myself.

  • I’ll do a proper review soon, was hoping to shoot side by side with the GoPro to compare but still waiting for the new MicroSD card to arrive so can only use one at a time currently. I don’t line up any shots via cam, it is all just point in general direction and hope for the best. Thankfully because they have a wide field of view, it’s not too much of an issue to get it good enough. All my ‘chase cam’ work is literally holding the cam in my fingers, no gimbal etc yet, so that also adds to the shake so will look better again once it has a gimbal. I haven’t tried the 2.7k or 4K yet as they top out at 30 & 60fps but you can apply in cam stabilisation to them so will test that in my review as well — Chaos_Canyon

I'm curious about this one. 4K camera for 50 bucks.

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera Ultra HD Waterproof DV Camcorder 12MP 170 Degree Wide Angle

  • Haven’t seen that one before. I also want to get an insta360 R for my corner cams, so I never miss a shot, and can follow cars around a corner - like the jump cam in 3D’s DRC — Chaos_Canyon
  • That would be nuts dude! — RustBeltRacing

Slightly different issue, as not concerned with filming as such, but has anyone set up a camera at the finish line to record race finishes in slow motion?  I was thinking that this might be an alternative to a finish gate, particularly for open track - if the finish is too close to call, simply play back the footage and watch the excitement of a slow motion replay to see who won.  The camera would need a screen to play back the footage straight away, so the runcam 5 (which otherwise looks great) would be no use, but the AKASO or similar might work if it had slo mo.  Ideally you would want a sensor that could detect objects and start recording in slo mo, but could do it manually if that kept costs down.  My smartphone can kind of do it but it only records a few seconds of slo mo and it can be hard to time it right with the cars crossing the line.

  • The FPS would have to be really high to make slow-mo reliable as a finish line in close races. Otherwise it's just blurry and open for argument. — redlinederby
  • I use an iPhone on the finish line currently, shooting 120fps, same as this camera and it’s worked well enough for my track but will also depend on how close your races are. If you’re talking 1000ths of a second it may not be good enough — Chaos_Canyon
  • Actually I have managed to work my smartphone (a 2 year old Huawei P20) properly and it does have slo mo good enough to see who won a race (60fps at 4x or 8x speed). Unless it really is down to mm you can see whose nose is ahead, the problem is that it happens too fast to be sure with the naked eye. Play it back as an instant replay and you can generally call the winner. Different considerations if making a video for public consumption of course. — EcuWeeEcosse

Just saw over on 3D's forum - a guy is buying some of these for his track. They're like $20USD so I'm guessing they aren't all they're saying they are at that price, but they still say 4K at 30fps or 1080P at 120FPS so same specs as the Runcam. Has anyone tried this one before? Link takes you to the Amazon page.


It has a screen on the back, which would make it a lot easier to frame shots unlike my cameras (GoPro and Runcam) where it's a point and hope - thankfully I mostly get it, but that's more often due to the wide angle lens :)

  • Hmmm...interesting, but until I see it, I'll be filing that under To Good To Be True. Although the screen is nice and the remote record is a nice bonus. — redlinederby

Found this video of someone testing the slow mo of the DBPower camera. It looks ok. Not amazing, but for $20 bucks, it could be better than what some people are using already

Widowmaker Run here...I will receive the $20 cameras on monday or tuesday and will post test footage on Youtube by next weekend.  I plan on using them on my long straights where great detail is not really needed.  I will have 8 or 9 cameras in total to cover my track.  Its impossible to fit my entire track into 1 picture.

  • Really looking forward to seeing the footage of cars on the track, especially as a slo mo — Chaos_Canyon

Finally got my side by side test of my GoPro Hero 4 and Runcam 5 Orange done. Have a look and you can decide for yourself.

Both cameras set to the same settings (and colour profiles - as close as possible being they have slightly different setting) and run side by side, I gotta say I'm really happy with the quality of the Runcam. Plus the small and square bodyshape of the camera means I could run it down the track or hide it easily in buildings etc for additional footage.

Your thoughts?

  • The only thing I see that's a biggish difference is the GoPro handles the light better. It's brighter so it's a better picture but not sure that's worth an extra $200 in our cases. — redlinederby
  • Most of that can be adjusted fairly easily with some simple colour correction - the noise is the bigger issue. However, during today's racing - I wanted to make sure so I recorded with both and glad I did as the RunCam footage wasn't there once I tried to download it. I think the issue might be with the new micro sd card so needs more testing — Chaos_Canyon
  • Follow up to this. Tried another SD card and so far it seems to be working fine, so may just have a problematic card — Chaos_Canyon
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redlinederby 5/13/20
Site manager

Windowmaker Run got the other alternate camera, the $20 DBPOWER camera and posted some grab comparison videos. Check them out over here.

  • They look pretty good from what I can see. Pity they won’t sell them to a NZ address — Chaos_Canyon
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