The best cameras for model rockets
Model rockets are a whole lot of fun. From designing to assembling to launching them, it’s always easy to find why so many hobbyists are dedicated to the craft.
But if there were one complaint we had about model rockets, it’s that they don’t come with built-in cameras. We live in an age where cameras are accessible and can record some very exciting footage.
And if you’re looking to record your next model rocket launch, then you may want to try out action cameras. You can mount these cameras to your model rocket using a mount, press record before launch, and check out the footage once you land.
To help you figure out the best option for your next, we’ve compiled this list of the best models on the market. That way, you get a durable, high-definition, and high-quality camera that you can use for recording fun and exciting videos!
RunCam 2 4K Edition FPV Camera
This is one of the best action cameras on the market. It’s very aerodynamic and lightweight, so it would make a great fit on a model rocket without drastically affecting flight patterns.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
We found that this model is the best overall pick on the market. This RunCam can record in HD and at 60 frames per second. So, you will get incredibly clear video footage of everything that happens during the launch.
On top of that, the camera is really small and compact. You can easily attach this to a model rocket with a dedicated mount, place it inside the rocket, or even with electrical tape. Since it’s very light, there’s a smaller chance of ti affecting the flight patterns of the rocket.
This camera is very light and aerodynamic. You can also connect it to your phone and get a live HD feed with low latency. With that said, you have to place this camera in a safe place as it doesn’t come with any additional protections.
But if you’re looking for a high-quality camera that blends quality and affordability, this is a great option.
GoPro Hero7 Black Camera
The Hero7 is one of the most popular cameras on the market for a reason. If you need a reliable, high-quality, and premium camera for your model rocket launches, this is a great option for you.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
If you have the funds to invest in a premium action camera, then you can’t go wrong with a GoPro Hero7. One of the latest releases of the popular brand, the GoPro Hero7, records in excellent quality, allowing you to view your model rocket launch like never before.
While it is on the pricey side, it comes with many features that justify the price. This is a camera used by professionals and hobbyists alike. So, this is one of the most versatile models on the market that you can use for model rocket launches, mountain biking, and more.
One complaint we found however is that navigating through the features can be tough. If you’ve never had a GoPro before, be ready for a fairly steep learning curve. Additionally, because of its design, you need to take some measures to ensure that it won’t affect your rocket’s flight path.
FUVISION Micro Camera
This is a very small and very affordable micro camera. So, it’s ideal for simple model rocket launches as its lightweight records decent video and won’t have a drastic effect on the rocket’s flight.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
You don’t always have to bust the bank to get a camera to record your model rocket launches. A great example of this is the FUVISION Micro Camera. While it is a very affordable model, you don’t sacrifice any quality.
In fact, this camera can record in full HD and stay alive for over 1.5 hours. On top of that, since it’s very small, it’s ideal for smaller and weaker model rockets. You can rest assured that this tiny spycam won’t have that much of an effect on your rocket’s flight pattern.
However, this isn’t the most durable model out there. Additionally, since the lens isn’t that great, the clarity won’t be as good as other cameras. But if you need a simple and affordable camera for your launch, this one works just fine.
Best with holder
Estes Universal Astrocam HD Rocket Camera
This camera comes with a mount for your rocket. So, it’s much easier to use and attach this to the model rocket and record your exciting flights.
- Ease of use:
- Value for money:
We decided to feature this camera on the list because it comes with accessories built for model rockets. It comes with an actual mount that you can attach to most model rockets. That way, you won’t have to struggle to find ways to attach the camera to the rocket.
This isn’t great for large model rockets, and you may want to do some test flights before attaching the camera. This is because if the rocket lands too hard, the SD card may fly out, and your footage will be lost.
But because this is a simple and affordable camera, you can expect a couple of downsides. We found that this Estes Universal Astrocam is a great option for school projects and very simple rocket launches.
What to look for in a good camera for model rockets
Model rockets have a lot of uses. These cool machines were designed to help teach people about rocket power. Designed by Orville and Robert Carlisle in 1954, these were machines used to demonstrate how rockets would work and what they could do.
But we’ve progressed really far since then. So now, people aren’t just using model rockets for educational purposes. There are tons of model rocket enthusiasts and hobbyists out there who find joy in assembling and launching these model rockets.
Nowadays, one of the newest trends in the field is attaching a camera to your model rocket to record the flight. Many people are doing this because we now have small cameras that are incredibly durable and can record the launch in high definition.
And to attach them to your rocket, all you need is a compatible camera mount.
With that said, finding the right camera to attach to the mount is also very important.
So, let’s take a look at some of the key features you need to consider when shopping for a camera for model rockets.
Model rocket & camera mount
It’s very easy to find model rockets nowadays. Aside from designing them and sourcing the materials yourself, you can always buy model rocket kits that are much easier to assemble and launch. With that said, there are many different model rockets on the market, and not all of them may be a good option to attach a camera.
It’s important to keep in mind that you have to attach a mount to your model rocket before you can attach the camera. So, you need to find a camera mount that fits the measurements of your model rocket. That way, you can ensure that the actual camera will be safe and steady on the mount.
Once you’ve found the right mount, then you can start considering cameras. Usually, the mounts will have a list of cameras that are compatible with it. It’s important to make sure that the camera you buy is compatible with the mount as it’s very common to miss those features.
The next thing to consider is the video quality. Of course, you would like to view the video afterward in high-definition. So, make sure to look at the camera’s specs and find what resolution it records in. Ideally, it would be good to get a camera with different video quality settings to give you more options when filming.
When checking out the weight of your model rocket camera, it’s important to look at your model rocket. The stronger the rocket, the heavier the camera you can attach. However, you have to make sure to get the lightest possible camera that still matches your needs and preferences.
This is because a heavy camera can drastically affect your rocket’s launch. You want to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. And to do that, you need to find a camera that doesn’t add too much weight.
What goes up must come down. And sometimes, you may not be able to control the way your rocket hits the ground. In fact, there are many instances where the camera may break when you launch the rocket. To prevent this from happening, we recommend getting cameras that are durable and have shock-proof features.
That way, you can use the camera for multiple launches over a longer span of time. After all, you don’t want to invest in a fancy camera to capture your launch only for it to break during the first launch.
Rocket camera mount – How does it work?
There are a few different ways to mount a camera on a model rocket. There are also many DIY methods that you can use as well. However, we always recommend practicing extreme caution when attaching anything to your model rocket.
This is because the smallest changes can drastically affect the way the rocket flies. And to stay as safe as possible, you want to be able to predict the flight pattern. That’s why the safest way to install a camera on a model rocket is to place it inside the rocket itself. That way, the camera won’t interfere with the aerodynamics.
Alternatively, you can also get a dedicated model rocket to mount with a camera hood. The camera hood is very important as it will reduce the camera’s impact on the aerodynamics of your rocket.
When attaching and mourning a camera to your model rocket, one of our biggest suggestions is practicing with a smaller engine. That way, you can see some of the things that could impact the rocket’s flight and whether attaching the camera to your rocket was a good idea in the first place.
Can I attach a camera to a model rocket?
Yes, you can attach a camera to a model rocket. However, we recommend practicing caution when doing this. Since tiny details can drastically affect a rocket’s flight, it’s important to choose small and lightweight cameras that won’t impact the flight patterns as much. That way, everything stays as safe and predictable as possible.
Do I need a permit for a model rocket?
This depends on your location and the rocket. Generally, you need permission from the landowner to launch on their land. Rockets with a class-2 high power rocket rating or higher need an FAA permit before launch. And depending on your location, the local government might require you to secure additional permits.
How high can I launch a model rocket?
Model rockets can go as high as 2,500 feet, depending on your one. However, the general restriction is that you may only launch a rocket to a height of 400 AGL. If you wish to launch a rocket higher than this in protected air space, you may need to secure additional permits.