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Thread: Review: Hawkeye Firefly Q6 4K camera

  1. #1
    Crashing since 1985... kross1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NY, USA

    Review: Hawkeye Firefly Q6 4K camera

    The Hawkeye Firefly Q6 is a high definition camera which I love, and hate. Mostly LOVE!

    Summary from an online vendor:

    "Hawkeye Firefly Q6 is a 4K action camera with 120 FOV. Hawkeye Firefly Q6 is equipped with a Novatek 96660 chipset, and a Sony IMX078 image sensor that can capture still images up to 16MP. Hawkeye Firefly Q6 also offers multiple video resolutions at 4K (24fps), 2.5K (30fps), 1080p (60, 30fps), 720p (120fps). Hawkeye Firefly Q6 is built in an 800mAh battery lasting for about 60 mins of video recording at 4K (24fps), the 0.7-inch OLED screen ensures easier operation.”

    Let’s deal with the “hate” part first, to get it out of the way. The built-in battery is insufficient in capacity due to the current draw of the camera. While the specs. claim the battery should last for 1 hour, mine will be dead within 15-25 minutes, it often doesn’t make it thru 1 single flight. The camera draws 0.25A when powered on, 0.35A when recording videos.

    Fortunately the camera comes with a mini-USB adapter which can be connected to your flight battery which resolves the problem. The quality of the videos makes it well worth the draw off of the flight battery, believe me. The camera can be configured to automatically record when powered by the mini-USB adapter, which is a great idea if used as a dash-camera in your car, and possibly for FPV. Additionally, the camera can be started and stopped via R/C control over the USB-port.

    The camera comes in either yellow, white, or black, with 4 bright/blinking LED’s at the corners indicating power on and recording. Yellow seems the obvious choice for R/C purposes as it shows up well in the grass.

    Now for the LOVE part of the review!
    Look over the table below of resolutions and frames-per-second. This camera is at the upper end of frames-per-second and resolutions. The camera is LOADED with features, one of my favorites being the gyro stabilization of the image which greatly stabilizes the video.

    See my sample video comparing the FireFly Q6 to the Mobius ActionCam and the Runcam HD.

    Hawkeye Firefly Q6 RunCam HD
    Mobius Action Camera
    1080P 1080P HD
    Typical price $65.89 $69.99 $74.95
    FOV 120 degree 120 degree 85 degrees
    Video Resolutions/fps
    4K@24fps yes no no
    2.5K@30fps yes no no
    1080p HD@60fps yes no no
    1080p HD@30fps yes yes yes
    720p HD@120fps yes no no
    720p HD@60fps no yes yes
    720p HD@30fps no yes yes
    VGA@30fps yes no no
    Battery run time 60 minutes 120 minutes 80 minutes
    Can use external power yes yes yes
    Memory 8-64 GB (256 GB works too) Micro SD up to 32GB Micro SD up to 32GB
    Weight 50g 42g 39g
    Audio (microphone) yes yes yes
    Ports audio & video out audio & video out audio & video out
    Dimensions 34W, 75L, 19H 35W, 67L, 18H 35W, 67L, 19H
    Gyro Image Stability
    Picture Resolutions
    16M 4608x3456 yes no no
    8M ~3264x2448 yes no no
    5M ~2592x1944 yes no no
    2304x1536 no yes yes
    1920x1080 no no yes
    1280x720 no no yes
    Time Lapse 0.5, 3s, 5s, 10s, 30s no 0.25,0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60
    HDMI output yes no no
    WDR yes yes yes

    *NOTE*: There are other/newer versions of the RunCam and the Mobius, as well as other brands of cameras. This table reflects the attributes for the cameras I used in my test.

    The camera has a small 0.7” OLED display for configuring the camera. It is easily seen when inside, in the bright sun you’ll need a bit of shade. The menu system is quite easy once you get used to it. Since it is a small 0.7” display you need good vision on some of the screens, or reading glasses.

    The camera does NOT include a mount/holster, but self-adhesive Velcro on the bottom works very well for me.

    My camera came with the 2.1 firmware, however I downloaded and tested with their newer 2.2 firmware. Update: even newer 2.3 firmware available, but not used in my testing.

    Like some of the competition the lens protrudes more than anything else, so some care should be taken in mounting the camera to try to protect it in the event of a crash.

    The specs. state the camera supports 8-64GB micro-SD memory card (not included), however I tested with both a 64GB and 256GB card, both worked flawlessly, the camera was able to format and fill them to 100%.

    For the video above I needed all 3 cameras set identically. Realize this camera does far better at the higher resolutions and frame rates, the goal of this test was to compare these 3 cameras on an equal footing. Set the Q6 for 4k 24 fps, and you'll love it as much as I do!

    This video shows the difference when raised a bit to 1080P@60fps, compared to the Mobius at 720@60fps.

    I have not tested this camera in low-light/dark conditions, or tested the still-photo abilities enough to post an opinion. I will update this thread in the future.
    Last edited by kross1; 21st September 2016 at 10:26 AM.

  2. #2
    I haven bought it yet, but it also can output the flight battery voltage on the video out. That and the light weight, pretty much prove the design is targeted for fpv. I've seen reviews with the fpv latency as ~60-70 ms. Pretty decent, considering it's also recording 60fps gyro stab. footage for only ~40 gms.

    Good job on the thorough review. How much does it weigh on your scale?
    Last edited by sonic_boom; 21st September 2016 at 11:01 AM.

  3. #3
    If you are interested in getting YouTube subscribers, you should make a new video with the new firmware. You'll be the the first, and the improvements are supposed to be for low light so a quick indoor test will be helpful.

  4. #4
    Crashing since 1985... kross1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NY, USA
    Thanks for the idea, sonic_boom. I'll make a quick indoor/dark video, and outdoors, upgrade, and see if I see a post-worthy difference.

    Mine is 48 grams for just the camera, but I left it in the table as their advertised 50g as with the USB-dongle plugged in for use with the flight-battery it's gotta be at 50.

    Personally I don't think I'd use any of these as my FPV-camera on a plane I have a lot of money in, or one where I do long(er) distance, or might cause a risk if I crashed. I like the simplicity of a simple/tested FPV-view camera, and use these other units for HD-video recording, only. Just my preference, other folks do other things.

    I'll see if I can do the F/W upgrade tonight and see what the results are.

  5. #5
    Crashing since 1985... kross1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NY, USA

    2.3 F/W loaded

    I made a quick video on the front porch using the 2.2 fw, and upgraded to 2.3 fw and repeated the same test. Both cases I reset the camera to default, and formatted the card first.

    Their release notes simply say: "Optimize image in low light condintions." (spelling error theirs).

    Their notes say to use a 8/16GB card, the process worked fine with a 4GB card, and did not work with my 256GB card (which is out of spec).

    Below are 2 clips from the 2 videos, there is a definite difference. The 2.2 has more "noise", where the 2.3 has less.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	74382 Click image for larger version. 

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    OLD 2.2 New 2.3
    Last edited by kross1; 21st September 2016 at 10:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Where's the video? Remember YouTube rewards quantity and post frequency. I'm only saying this because you put so much great work into the chart and information, that I think more people should see it. Even 3 min talking about the upgrade process is useful for some people.

    this is light enough to be in a sub 250gm auw build, so there the integration makes perfect sense. And that's far better quality than anything near the weight range. The OSD shows this is very smart targeting IMO...

    If you remove the built in battery while running off the flight battery, does it still work and how much weight do you save?

    Some people have taken the battery out of the runcam HD, and put a Buck VR and 5.8 ghz VTX. This is pretty cool thing for any RC vehicle, imo. And the gyro should make heaps of improvement.
    Last edited by sonic_boom; 22nd September 2016 at 12:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Seems like a super cool camera. I might have to get one

  8. #8
    Crashing since 1985... kross1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NY, USA
    At the price, I am impressed myself for FPV flight recording. An amazon review was not pleased with the abilities in the dark, but I bet he was on older F/W. Another reviewer said it was not "truly 4K", which I cannot confirm/deny. Maybe I can, have to check the specs on the recorded video, but that won't tell me if it is up-scaled or anything. I still am impressed, as it has a lot of higher-resolutions and does well for me.

    I don't know if I want to take mine apart to remove the battery to see what it is, or how well it works on external battery only... but if I do, I'll let you know, and get the weight without the battery. I'm having too much fun with it to risk breaking it, currently.

    Big issue of course is the battery, if you get one, expect to need to use an external power source.
    Last edited by kross1; 22nd September 2016 at 08:12 PM.

  9. #9
    Crashing since 1985... kross1's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Central NY, USA
    As far as the sub-250, check this out: I got this little quad, and mine is 200 grams with battery. So it is still sub-250grams with the Hawkeye Firefly Q6, just barely!

    It's really a decent little quad, I plan to do a review on it at some point.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    A user on one of my FB groups is claiming that the 60fps footage this camera shoots is actually doubled-framed 30fps. Can anyone who had already received this camera confirm whether this is true or not? Just trying to figure out if I just threw money into a GoodBang hole.

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