DJI’s FPV arrived in March 2021. FPV flying, or piloting a drone through a first-person view, was a speciality until then. The region was filled with diehard drone heads with the hand-eye coordination and motor skills needed to fly these aircraft. Before taking flight, most FPV pilots had to build their aerobatic flying machines from kits of parts.
The DJI FPV makes FPV flying accessible, intuitive, and exciting for even the Captain Slows of the drone world. Because of its straightforward controls and intelligent design, it’s one of the best drones we’ve tested, even though its camera may not wow aerial photographers.
Interested in FPV drones? What are FPV drones? Drone racing: The basics Read on for our review of the popular DJI model.
DJI FPV looks different from other drones. The sleek plastic appearance has a hint of HR Giger’s Alien, while DJI’s Mavic range’s folding form has been eliminated. The fixed motor arms and upright body make it look bigger than the Mavic 2 despite being lighter.
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The drone’s 10×12.3×5-inch dimensions require a large bag for transport. Remove the propellers before packing, as they can bend in transit. Goggles, controllers, and batteries add to your gadgetry.
Once you put the heavy ‘intelligent’ battery, the takeoff weight is 28oz.
Before you launch, attach the drone, FPV goggles, and controller or hand controller. The goggles include a separate battery and wire that you can tuck into your pocket while flying. Once all signs are green, you can don goggles and take off.
First, we utilised the main controller, which is comparable to other DJI controllers but lacks a phone cradle. First-person goggles won’t let you miss it. Unused control sticks can be stored in the controller handles. Large buttons make flying by touch easier. Learn the six buttons’ positions.
DJI FPV may be controlled by hand or motion. This controller’s throttle grip and brake button are unlike any we’ve used before.
The DJI FPV is a drone built for fun flying rather than serious aerial video and photography, hence its moving image and stills capacity is less than other DJI drones. 4K @ 50/60fps and 1080p at 50/60/100/120fps are remarkable for an FPV drone.
The DJI FPV has a 12MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with a 14.66mm fixed lens and f/2.8 aperture. The fixed focal length ranges from 0.6m to infinity, so everything in the shot should be in focus.
Immersive video can be shot at 120Mbps in Standard and D-Cinelike colour profiles. Your video editor should have lots of dynamic range.
Overall, the 4K and 1080p videos look nice, and aside from the camera capturing the front propellers, it’s YouTube-worthy. Switching on lens distortion removes barrel/fisheye distortion. As an FPV drone, the gimbal merely tilts (vertically). Image stabilisation (used from the Osmo) fixes any difficulties and offers buttery smooth video.
The FPV’s photography capabilities are less spectacular, and although it’s easy to switch between video and still shoot with a long press on the controller shutter button, the DJI FPV is not a drone for high-quality aerial photographs. Both ‘Auto’ and ‘Manual’ take JPEGs. Raw shooting isn’t an option, and there are no automated still or video shooting options.
Shooting stills with a side breeze is another difficulty. Since there’s no horizontal gimbal movement, the drone will tilt to keep position, resulting in skewed photographs. All of this adds up to a drone that is ideally suited and developed to shoot FPV forward-facing video.
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FPV drone piloting was easy than expected. This model is similar to DJI’s Mavic series.
The business leveraged its Mavic series knowledge to create a drone with beginner and advanced flight modes. Beginner is relative. If you’ve never flown a drone before, start with a basic model to learn the controls and basic manoeuvres. DJI FPV’s USP is FPV and is easy to use compared to self-built FPV drones.
What About Different Modes?
‘Normal’ mode uses GPS and front and bottom vision sensors. We took off in this mode for our first few flights and were relieved to find the handling smooth and, with a top speed of 33mph, easily controlled.
“Manual” disables GPS and collision detection. In this mode, FPV pilots can execute aerial feats and fly quickly around obstacles. DJI FPV can reach 87mph in the manual (0-62mph in two seconds). The drone’s speed, acceleration, and tight turns are thrilling.
‘Sport’ mode combines ‘Normal’ and ‘Manual’ to offer some manoeuvrability and safety. This mode can reach 60mph, so it’s not slow.
The Mavic series automatically stops when sensors detect an impediment, unlike the DJI FPV. The DJI FPV’s collision detection slows the drone and alerts you to danger, but the operator must stop or manoeuvre out of harm’s way. Even in ‘Normal’ mode, you must fly the DJI FPV carefully.
In FPV flying, the immersive drone vision makes all the difference. It’s like flying without leaving the earth. We had trouble adjusting the screen to our eyesight using the dioptre sliders. Some flight information is hard to read because the screen is so huge.
Changing camera and flight settings on the goggles isn’t as easy as using a phone on a joystick. We struggled with the headset’s buttons and would have liked a blink-to-accept system. Accessing headset commands via the controller or motion controller would be more natural.
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We loved the motion controller for piloting the drone. Ergonomic buttons, throttle, and user interface positioning made flying easier and more intuitive. It’s point-and-shoot. Just point to the controller and pull the trigger. Turns with a wrist flick. Not in Manual mode, only Normal and Sports.
BUY DJI FPV?
This model is suitable for those who have previous drone flying experience and can afford the substantial expenditure and repair bills. DJI FPV is a terrific way to get into FPV, and the flying experience is unmatched. FPV flyers build cheap, lightweight kits for a purpose.
Well-made using ‘advanced’ plastics? This drone won’t survive a high-speed collision intact. Even with DJI Care refresh/insurance, it’s a dangerous and expensive investment.
While the video specs are fantastic, the still picture isn’t, which may deter people who desire high-quality aerial shots. This is a physics-defying, fast-flying machine. If so, get this drone.