DJI FPV drone is here: everything you need to know

DJI has cornered the market of photography drones, drones for kids enterprise drones, drones for agriculture, drones for roof inspections and more. And today, DJI adds one more, super-important vertical to its collection: FPV. DJI today announced DJI FPV, a drone designed for racing, and it can fly at nearly 90 mph.

FPV is short for first person view, meaning that the drone is operated by looking directly through the camera’s video feed for spatial awareness, rather than looking at the drone as it flies in the sky. The style of flight is most common in the flashy world of drone racing, where drones shot via FPV are able to capture a unique, cinematic look of wild, lightening-fast flights between narrow alleys, through windows and whipping around race tracks.

With DJI FPV, you’re getting a drone designed for drone racing that’s ready to fly right out of the box. It can reach maximum speeds of 87 mph, at a maximum acceleration of 0-62 mph in just two seconds.

“It can fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director, DJI Europe. “DJI FPV lets the world experience the absolute thrill of immersive drone flight without being intimidated by the technology or spending hours building a system from scratch.”

DJI FPV goes on sale today starting at $1,299.

The DJI FPV drone pictured with propeller guards. Image courtesy of DJI.

Who is DJI FPV best for?

DJI FPV is a racing drone designed for beginners and pros alike. It’s best for people who want to get into racing, but don’t necessarily want to build their own drone (most drone racers today fly their own, home-made drones, which might create a barrier to entry to the sport for someone who can’t build their own drone).

It’s especially good for beginners, kids, or anyone who appreciates good safety features, such as a new Emergency Brake and Hover that immediately makes the drone stop and hover mid-flight when activated. While FPV drone racing typically entails flying at relatively low altitudes, other safety features help prevent collisions with other aircraft, such as GPS-based geofencing to advise pilots of airspace restrictions and potential hazards, and an ADS-B receiver system to warn pilots when other manned aircraft are nearby.

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There’s also a failsafe ‘Return to Home’ that will bring the drone back to its home point automatically when activated or if the transmission signal is lost. 

Thanks to multiple flight modes, pilots can fly in a mode that matches their skill level. Those modes are:

Normal (N) Mode: This one is for newbies, and has the most security features at play, making the drone as close to crash-proof as possible. N mode basically allows DJI FPV to operate much like any other DJI drone, enabling it to hover in place via GPS and/or visual positioning systems (VPS) under the drone. N mode also allows you to use obstacle detection sensors on the front.

• Sport (S) Mode: This mode is basically a step up from N mode, offering some of the dynamic movement capabilities that come with the more advanced M mode (more on that later), while incorporating key safety features of N mode.

• Manual (M) Mode: This mode is for the pros. M mode disables all sensors and hovering features.

Clockwise from bottom left: FPV Goggles V2, FPV drone, Remote controller 2, and the Motion Controller. Images courtesy of DJI.

What’s included

The DJI FPV ecosystem includes the drone itself, as well as goggles, a dedicated remote controller, and a new type of motion controller option that steers the drone based on the movement of your hand.

O3 allows high-definition video with a low latency: DJI also announced its new FPV system using O3, the third iteration of DJI’s proprietary OcuSync technology. OcuSync is a transmission system that increases range, while allowing low-latency transmission of 4K video at 60 fps with the assistance of RockSteady electronic image stabilization. It offers a 10km transmission range, auto-switching dual-frequencies, and a high bitrate of 50 Mpbs.

When you purchase the standard DJI FPV Combo ($1,299), you’ll receive the FPV drone itself, remote controller 2, FPV Goggles V2, all required cables and one battery.

There’s also a DJI FPV Fly More Kit ($299) which includes two additional Intelligent Flight Batteries and the dedicated charging hub.

That slick Motion Controller is sold separately for $199.

When flying, you can choose from different viewing options, including:

• Standard low-latency HD mode: This display is 1440x810p in either 60 fps with a wider 142° Field of View (FOV), or 50 fps with 150° FOV. Latency is as low as ≤ 40 ms.

• Smooth mode: High frame rates create a more cinematic look, though signal latency is decreased to ≤ 28 ms. Resolution is 1440×810p 120 fps with a 142° FOV or 100 fps at 150° FOV. 

• Audience mode: Audience mode allows you to see what the pilot sees. You can connects up to eight additional goggle sets.

The camera: don’t expect Mavic-level video quality

You’re not buying the DJI FPV to shoot most types of cinematic video. While FPV video does have a unique, mesmerizing aesthetic, it’s not what you’ll expect from something like a DJI Mavic. The camera shoots at 4K/60fps 120 Mbps.

Don’t expect the footage to be as smooth. While most DJI drones leverage a 3-axis gimbal, DJI FPV has just a single-axis gimbal, which reduces that gliding aesthetic that 3-axis gimbals typically provide.

DJI FPV does try to mitigate any bumps with what it calls RockSteady stabilization technology to smooth shaky footage and eliminate rolling shutter. There’s also distortion correction software to try to remove the warped and unappealing fish-eye look common in FPV footage.

As far as recording, you also have the option to film in 4x slow motion in 1080p and 120 fps.

Footage can be stored in H.265 or H.264 (which uses less space on the memory card but preserves fine details during compression). 

Where to buy the DJI FPV drone

The DJI FPV drone is available for purchase now from the DJI store, starting at $1,299. There’s also the option to pay $299 for the DJI FPV Fly More Kit and $199 for the Motion Controller.

Along with your DJI FPV drone purchase, there’s also the option to buy DJI Care Refresh at an additional cost. DJI Care Refresh is the company’s extended warranty plan that covers offers up to two replacement units within one year, or three replacement units in two years, along with other services including after-sales support and free two-way shipping. Though, the newly launched DJI Flyaway Coverage — available now for either the DJI Mini 2 and/or Mavic Air 2 drones — is not available for the DJI FPV drone.

Will you be ordering your own DJI FPV drone? If not, is there another racing drone you prefer, or are you just not interested in FPV drone racing? Share your thoughts below!

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