In many respects, the GoPro Hero Session was the perfect HD camera for FPV. It had great image quality, could do 4K, and was 30g lighter than the full sized GoPro Hero line. Sadly, nobody but FPV pilots liked it, and so GoPro killed it off. Vendors like RunCam and Foxeer have box-style cameras, but they’ve never been good enough. Until now?
Enter, the Foxeer Box 2.
Foxeer Box 2 has resolution from 720p/240fps up to 4k/30fps. The key resolutions for FPV pilots, in my opionion, are 2.7k/30 fps and 1080p/60fps. These give the best balance of resolution and bit-rate for FPV flight. Bit-rates are not as high as GoPro supports, but high enough for acceptable video quality: 59 Mbps for 2.7k/30 fps and 30 Mbps for 1080p/60fps (GoPro is 45 Mbps). The Box’s 4k resolution uses a bit-rate of 61 Mbps which is the same as the GoPro Hero 7 Black, but the end result is nowhere near as good… maybe due to lens or sensor quality.
The Box 2 has got waterproofing up to IP64, so it can get damp and still not break. But it’s not submersible.
The Box2 has a replaceable front lens cover. If you damage it, just take the screws out, take it off, put the new one on, and screw it back down. There’s also an option for ND filters to remove jello in your footage on those really sunny days. It’s great that the ND filter screws to the front of the camera, so no need to mess about with stick-on filters.
FPV footage looks best with a larger field of view. In its widest setting, the Box’s FOV is just a little narrower than the Hero5 Session, but still wide enough to give good results. The Box2 has a “SuperVision” mode that is intended to compete with GoPro’s patented “SuperView”. Like the GoPro, the Box can show increased vertical field of view. But the GoPro uses a non-linear stretch to leave the center of the image un-distorted, while the edges of the image are stretched to the edges of the 16:9 frame. In order to avoid infringing on GoPro’s patent, the Box 2 uses a linear stretch. As a result, the image distorts unpleasantly when you do roll maneuvers. The good news is that the Box 2 can output a square aspect-ratio video, which you can then apply SuperView to on your computer, if you have the tools.
As far as image quality goes, you should judge for yourself by watching the above video. In my opinion, the Box 2 is not as good as GoPro image. The resolution specifically seems lower, which is weird since they both have a 4k sensor. But the overall quality of the Box 2 image is acceptable, especially given its low price. It’s one of the best-looking budget-priced action cameras I’ve seen.
The Box’s audio is thin and high-pitched. But it’s tolerable. It’s not the ear-splitting roar that you get from cheap HD cameras. But it’s nowhere near as good as whatever magic GoPro is doing.
Battery life? The Box 2 in my tests recorded for 1 hour and 27 minutes at 2.7K with its version of SuperView turned on and wifi disabled. With similar settings, the Session 5 recorded for 90 minutes, so basically the same battery life, which is good. It does not have a replaceable battery, but it can quick charge in 45 minutes.
The GoPro Session 5 does offer more tweaking of the picture than the Box 2 does; however the Box 2 does allow for some like saturation, contrast, and brightness, and you can lock the ISO. It doesn’t support a Flat color profile, which is desired by those who do a lot of color grading in post.
The Box 2 also does not have an integrated screen and menu system to make changes without a smart device. The Box 2 has an app for making changes to settings, and it works pretty well. Make sure you download the Foxeer HD app, not the normal Foxeer app.
The Box 2 does not fit into GoPro Session cases.
Purchase the Foxeer Box 2 at:
GetFPV - http://bit.ly/2YRdwJ0
RaceDayQuads - http://bit.ly/2QrVWZc
Rotor Riot - http://bit.ly/2QtLyQy
Banggood - http://bit.ly/2QrKFbr
In summary, this camera is not a GoPro Hero 5 Session killer. Remember, GoPro killed the Session 5 already. But it’s good, very good! Foxeer hit all the major things us FPV pilots want in a camera like this – lower weight, replaceable lens covers, good battery life, good resolutions with adequate bit rates, good field of view, enough tweakability on the settings to make a good video, and the price at $130 is definitely good. This camera is definitely worth that price, so if you’re needing a camera with this form factor, or you can’t spend more than $130, this camera is a completely viable and honestly good option.
Durability? That’s an unknown, but the reality is none of these cameras, GoPros, Foxeers, or otherwise, can withstand the repeated crashes we tend to have as FPV pilots. That’s why I still recommend a GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition with a Best Buy warranty if that’s accessible to you if you have the money to pay for that up front. Absent of that, so far this is the next best thing. If you’re wondering about the RunCam 5, I’ll be reviewing that as well as soon as I get my hands on it. But for now, this is a worthy alternative to the venerable Session 5.