Runcam Thumb Review

I was super stoked for the Runcam Thumb once I heard about it and saw that there is a 1.0.0 release candidate for Gyroflow. Potentially a super low budget, low weight - 10g - solution for stabilized footage.

Unfortunately the initial reviews were not so great, gyro logging was not working properly and stabilization with Gyroflow was not really possible - this all changed with the latest firmware version 2.1.0 - I highly recommend you follow my tutorial on how to update the firmware on your Runcam Thumb.

Table of content


Let’s first have a look at the specs. The Runcam Thumb is capable of recording in 1080p in three different frame-rates: 30, 50 and 60fps. The framerates all share the rather low bitrate of 18Mbps.

A comparison chart with some cams that might be considered alternatives to the Runcam Thumb all at 1080p resolution:

Cam FPS Bitrate (Mbps)
Insta 360 Go 2 / Caddx Peanut 30, 50 80
GoPro Hero 6 Black 24, 30, 60 47
Caddx Turtle 60 30
Insta 360 Go 25 30
Runcam Thumb 30, 50, 60 18

As you can see, when it comes to bitrate it is on the absolute bottom of all the possible alternatives - which for me really is the biggest bummer with this otherwise really promising cam.

Power supply

The cam can either be powered via 5V from the PH1.25 connector (be aware that the polarization is reverted from what is the default with PH1.25 connectors) or via Micro USB port. Be aware that when powering via USB, make sure that it has to be powered via dedicated charging cable from a PC or any cable from a USB power bank. If data lines are connected, it will go into “Mass storage” mode and you will not be able to record.

The cam is specified to draw 250mAh @ 5V, I tried to verify that with my USB power meter and it turned out to be hovering at around 150mAh - maybe this is dependent on settings, but I could not reproduce the specified current draw.

Also the cam does not get particularly warm during operation, so there should not be any overheating issues when letting it run for extended periods of time. I tested it for an hour and it worked like a charm.

Storage size

You can use Micro SD cards with a size of up to 128GB. Make sure it is a Class 10, UHS 3 card. The Micro SD card is easily accessible and can thus be easily swapped. The door that is covering the SD slot is a bit lose, and in might be a good idea to use some electrical tape to hold it in place and not lose it during a crash.

There does not seem to be a file length limit - I did record for an hour in one sitting, the recording gets chopped up in 2GB big chunks.

With the rather low bitrate a minute of footage will be around 135MB in size. So the average 3:30 flight will end up at around 470MB.

The files can be pulled down when connecting the Runcam thumb to a computer via Micro USB port - it will come on as a “Mass storage” device.


A mic is present, but pretty much useless for flight footage. I’d say it is on par with all the split cams - maybe slightly better - but nothing in comparison to what you might be used to from a GoPro.

So this is a feature that I will personally never use, although I generally like to have motor noise in my vids. Also with stabilized footage motor noise might be a bit distracting from what you see, or might give away that the footage has been stabilized since people might be able to hear the imperfections in your flight, which will obviously not match up with the stabilized footage.


Two lens covers are included, one with a transparent glass to protect the lens and a second one which is an ND16 filter. This is really a usefull addition and I can only encourage you to actually use the ND filter when it’s bright outside, otherwise Jello will make your footage pretty much unusable, at least on a sunny day outside.

Be aware that those lens covers have two short-comings:

  1. The locking mechanism is not the strongest one - it might be a good idea to secure the lens cover/filter with some sticky tape or some none permanent glue
  2. The glass itself is only mounted with double sided sticky tape to the plastic cover piece and tends to pop out. Unfortunately I lost mine in the third session. I’d recommend you to use some small amount of CA glue where the glass meets the plastic to secure the glass. Just be careful to only use a small amount of CA glue on the outer border or it might fog up your filter.

As of now, Runcam does not provide them as a spare part. You can order them from Runcam on Facebook for $7.99 shipped for one…

Included is also a cam mount and a PH1.25 connector to supply power. As mentioned before, be aware that the PH1.25 has inverted polarity to what is common with those connectors.



Since the Runcam Thumb only has one button to start/stop recording, everything else is done via a configuration file on the Micro SD card.

If you are flying in lots of different conditions it might be worth it for you to have different, dedicated SD cards for those situations with a config file sitting there, ready to go.

As a reference, this is the configuration I am using, basically just turned down exposure a notch. Also I chose to go with 30fps, just to get the max out of the bitrate. I have noticed that when going with 30fps instead of the recommended at least 50fps for stabilized vide, it takes more sync points in gyroflow to get a solid result.


The Runcam Thumb has a Gyro build in which allows the footage to be stabilized in post with Gyroflow. The Gyro is rather noisy and has a slight bias, but this can be accounted for in Gyroflow.

Some sample footage and comparison of stabilized footage can be found here:

Runcam recommends to record with at least 50fps if you want to stabilize afterwards. I experimented with 30fps in order to obtain a higher quality image and this is definitely also an option, but I found that it needs more sync points in Gyroflow. Also it generally seems to yield better results if you are just cruising and not moving too fast.


I am honestly pretty stoked about this cam - especially regarding the price point and that it is a self contained unit providing everything necessary for image stabilization.

In my opinion it could have been a good alternative to split styles cams - especially since you can easily swap it between different crafts.

I am quite disappointed by the super low bitrate, I would have hoped that it at least hast a bitrate of 30Mbps - at least on the higher frame rates. With 60FPS, a bitrate of 18Mbps for 1080p footage simply does not cut it. To really be a viable option it should be able to match split style cams when it comes to image qualtiy - this is unfortunately not the case.

If your craft is capable of logging and you are running DJI HD FPV, you are probably better off just using the footage that the goggle records and stabilize with gyro data from the Betaflight blackbox log.

But if you are looking for a cheap, self contained solution for stabilized footage that you can swap around on your micro quads, the Runcam Thumb could be worth a try - especially at the price point of $55.

With such a low price point, it is also a good choice for high risk stunts, where you don’t necessarily want to sacrifice your naked GoPro.

I wish Runcam would provide more PH1.25 connectors in the box. Also I would like to see them properly address the issue with the filters. An easy solution would be for the lens holder to have a lip on the outside and the glass is simply stuck to the holder from the backside where it is held in place by simply being attached to the cam. I would also appreciate a wider selection of ND filters, I think an ND8 would be a better all around choice instead of the included ND16.

Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.

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