The DJI FPV Drone is further evidence that DJI produces the best quality drones. At the beginning of March, 2021, DJI debuted its FPV (First Person View) drone. We kind of wish they had come up with a better name because, while FPV does describe this quadcopter, it’s also simply a broad category of devices.
It’s like calling the next model of an Apple computer the “Laptop”. Not very helpful when discussing it.
Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the name (for now) and will probably see the DJI FPV 2 sometime in the future. We’d guess that it’s likely already in development. (If you’re listening, DJI, consider coming up with a unique name next time.)
If you’re an experienced drone pilot who wants to see what it’s like to feel like you’re actually in the cockpit of your machine but you’re in a hurry right now and simply need to check the pricing and availability of the DJI FPV at Amazon, you can click the link just below. If you can match the price tag, we think you’ll like what you see.
As we hinted at just above, the FPV is not a drone that a first-time pilot will want to tackle. Even in Normal mode, it takes some skill to keep it aloft and out of trouble. In full Manual mode, even an experienced flier may find their abilities tested.
In Normal mode, your drone has forward and downward vision sensors for detecting obstacles. However, there’s no automatic avoidance function. When an obstacle is near, the FPV only slows down. It’s up to the pilot to avoid the crash.
In many areas, laws require that you maintain a line of sight with your drone. How can you do that with FPV goggles on? You bring along a friend to act as spotter. Even with a spotter helping you watch out for potential obstacles, it’s still up to you, the pilot, to maneuver around them.
Once you do graduate to Manual mode, note that there are actually two versions. One is similar to what some refer to as “Angle mode”, where the FPV will stay level on its own. Both pitch and roll are somewhat limited, and you can’t make the aircraft flip.
The other Manual mode is full manual, called “Acro mode” (short for Acrobatic) by some. In this mode, there’s no GPS or collision controls at all. You’re really completely on your own, so you better be able to bring lots of skills to the sky at that point.
Combine all the above with a fairly hefty price tag, and you’ll quickly see that, while we like the DJI FPV, it’s just not for the beginner or the faint of heart. Neither is it for the professional photographer, as you’ll see below. If any of these qualifiers disqualify you, we recommend one of the DJI Mavic series or Mini drones instead.
DJI FPV Photography
The DJI FPV should give you decent still shots and videos, but don’t expect top-notch quality. So if you’re a professional photographer looking for a drone to add to your collection of gear, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere first.
The field of view (FOV) of the camera lens is a wide 150 degrees. Though you might not see it in video from DJI, the propellers are supposedly visible in the camera’s view field. You may not care about this, but if that’s a big negative for you, you also will want to look elsewhere for a photography drone.
The camera and associated gimbal are good quality pieces of equipment but not the best available today. The camera’s sensor is a 1/2.3” CMOS, effectively producing 12 million pixels.
Lens aperture is f/2.8 and you can set the ISO from 100 to 12800. For stills, you can only take a single shot at a time. There is no option for multiple automatic shots. Stills only come out in JPEG format – no option here for RAW, which is another strike for pro photographers.
You can shoot videos at 4K or full HD resolution. When set to 4K, speeds of 50 or 60 frames per second are available. At full HD, choose from 50, 60, 100, or 120 fps. Videos record as MP4s or MOVs with a maximum bitrate of 120 Mbps.
General FPV Drone Features
With a weight of 795 grams and dimensions of 255 x 312 x 127 millimeters (with props), the FPV is rated at 20 minutes of flight time. However, real life experience says you should expect about half of that most of the time from the 2000 mAh, LiPo 6S battery.
There are three flight modes – Manual, Sport, and Normal. Speeds vary accordingly with Manual giving you the fastest rates.
There is no onboard storage, but you can use a slew of micro SD cards to save your experiences.
DJI gives you their Remote Controller 2, but what you’re really interested in is the goggles, right?
DJI FPV Goggles – For the First Person Experience
We won’t go into a lot of techie details here, but the goggle do just what you’d expect of them. They are obviously what make the DJI FPV a “First Person View” drone.
The Version 2 goggles weigh about 420 grams with the headband and the four antennas attached. The screen size is 2 inches for each eye.
As we mentioned earlier, when you’re wearing these goggles and soaring through the skies with your drone, you most likely will need a companion to keep their eyes on the craft from the ground so you can fly legally.
We’ll briefly mention here too a piece of equipment often described along with the FPV but not actually included in the box – the Motion Controller. Available separately is a gadget that many video game players will quickly recognize.
This single-handheld unit lets you control your drone via hand motions and a few buttons. It’s cool but not absolutely necessary…and of course, add to the cost.
The Ups and Downs of the DJI FPV
Here are the pros and cons of owning a DJI FPV as we see them.
- The goggles!
- Full manual control possible
- Acceptable camera
- The goggles!
- Higher cost vs, say, a Mavic Mini
- Requires previous flight experience
- Props visible to camera
- Motion Controller not included
Conclusions about the DJI FPV Drone
To reiterate our opening thoughts, you should look seriously at this FPV if you’re an experienced pilot who doesn’t care too much about photo quality, and if you can afford the price tag. You’ll be pleased.
But if any of those qualifications goes beyond you, look at something else, like the Mavic Mini or a larger drone from another maker.