While the hobby of adding FPV to just about anything rc is growing fast with new products coming to the market almost daily. One area that is finally gaining some attention is low-light fpv or more commonly called startlight fpv. True night vision takes a whole lot of components and a price tag beyond anything we are doing here so total darkness is not an option with-out some source of illumination (more on lights later).
Starlight FPV what..?
Typically a low light set-up consists of runcam owl and the usual suspects for fpv gear, maybe an optional IR led. The original Owl was plagued with heat problems and a bad design of an un-configurable camera, but it did give us a glimpse into the night from pretty much any rc vehicle.
There is a wolf and it’s hunting owls
Fast forward a bit and while runcam may have realized the error in their ways and given us the Owl Plus, Foxeer has already sensed the problems too and sent in their NightWolf to gobble up some of these owl’s fame in the starlight fpv market.
Owl Plus Vs the Foxeer NightWolf
The two latest low-light offerings by the 2 top fpv camera manufactures side-by-side at 2am.
The test gear
We chose to use an SX10 as a stable platform that I could basically drive from an almost pitch black area to an area lit by street lights without losing my machine in the process. I strapped a runcam owl plus right next to the foxeer nightwolf, with separate vtx, DVR and battery. I connected the DVR between the camera the vtx so interference wasn’t involved in the clip, just straight video feed.
- Runcam Owl Plus
- Foxeer NightWolf
- 2x Eachine DVRs
- 2x 600mW vtx
- 2x 2s lipos
- SC10 4×4
Check out the side by side video
No headlights or anything, both using IR Blocked lenses you can see or not see each of what the cameras see side by side at night…
So what can we tell from this video
On stock settings, with an almost full moon clear night side by side you can make out where you’re going better with the Owl Plus. If i was looking for the best looking picture it would definitely be the NightWolf, but we’re not, and in the case of star-light fpv… it really is more important to see every little particle and spec on the screen.
Final thoughts about each camera
Owl Plus: Daylight performance is just okay with owl plus. Its almost too bright. Day/night switching with the owl plus is terrible too. It constantly wants to switch if there is any light source near. This wasn’t a problem with the old owl and the IR sensitive lens. The Owl plus did tend to run a little hotter than the Nightwolf after some use, not to the point it falls apart like the old owl either.
NightWolf: Daylight performance is better and that probably has to do with the amount of light coming in. Foxeer just sacrificed too much light and it shows. The nightwolf didn’t get as hot as the owl and they both ran side by side with identical equipment.
Both cameras have taken a pretty fair beating just stuck to the top of my sc10. I ran them for 30 minutes at a time with at least one nasty roll per battery. In the end I hammered these things and besides a scraped lens they are both still working flawless.
Runcam Owl Plus
- No Light Source 85% 85%
- Near Light Source 85% 85%
- Daylight Performance 75% 75%
- FOV 65% 65%
- Durability 75% 75%
- No Light Source 50% 50%
- Near Light Source 75% 75%
- Daylight Performance 85% 85%
- FOV 90% 90%
- Durability 85% 85%