The DJI FPV drone is a bit of an enigma. It’s not quite a photography drone. And it’s not quite a racing drone either, to be honest. The DJI FPV drone is a bit of a hybrid of both, actually. And for that reason, the DJI FPV drone is ideal for a very specific type of drone pilot. DJI FPV footage is incredible and unique. But good footage is also not exactly easy to get.
Only certain types of people will have the skills needed to maximize the DJI FPV drone. But if you are one of those types of people, then DJI FPV could be just the drone you need.
DJI FPV, in a nutshell
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. Its a popular style of drone particularly in racing and freestyle.
And in early 2021, Chinese drone making giant DJI launched its own FPV drone. It can reach maximum speeds of 87 mph, at a maximum acceleration of 0-62 mph in just two seconds. But this drone isn’t really about speed. It’s about video. FPV flying generates a unique, cinematic aesthetic unlike even other types of aerial photography tools. It’s a swooping feeling, like an elegant bird. And thanks to the incredible camera on the DJI FPV, the image quality is suburb too.
Here’s an example picked off YouTube from an everyday drone pilot from their escapades in Spain:
With that, who is the DJI FPV drone for?
DJI has long been a brand that serves everyone. The same drones being used by casual hobbyists grabbing selfies of their beach vacations are also being used by Fortune 500 companies to conduct inspections of multi-million dollar equipment. DJI’s drones have been used and praised by industry experts, by amateur photographers, by STEM teachers, by grandpas delivering donuts and by young children. DJI FPV bucks that trend.
You already have at least intermediate flying skills:
The DJI FPV drone is for you if you’re already an experienced drone pilot. This should not be the first drone you fly on. Instead, go for a cheap toy drone with protective propeller guards, like the $50 Tomzon mini drone. If you accidentally fly that one into a pool, it’s not a big loss.
If you’re set specifically on FPV style drone flying, look to the other end of the spectrum and consider an entry-level, full FPV drone like the $150 Emax TinyHawk 2. As far as FPV drones go, that’s light on your wallet. That entire Emax product line consists of RTF (ready to fly) and Bind-and-Fly drones that include the goggles and transmitter you need to get going and fly.
That said, you don’t need to panic completely about whether or not your flying skills are up to par. DJI FPV is packed with safety features including Emergency Brake and Hover, allowing you to stop and hover at any moment with the press of one button. Other safety features include:
- An auxiliary bottom light for better sight
- Smart and Low Battery Return to Home in case you lose your drone (Though this isn’t completely foolproof, because the drone could still crash into a tree or building on its way home if it’s really lost. Save this feature for open space flying only.)
- Both forward and backward obstacle sensors (which at least should reduce many odds of crashing).
You’re prepared not to crash
DJI FPV is not exactly delicate, but it’s not super sturdy either. If you’re used to the FPV life of going fast and accepting that crashing is inevitable (even the pros frequently crash!), you’ll have to change that mindset. The DJI FPV can stand up to some crashes, but this isn’t one you probably want to send through complicated race courses.
And if it does crash, you probably won’t be able to repair it yourself. You’ll likely need to order parts from DJI. And you might end up opting to purchase DJI Care Refresh additional drone protection coverage — which means an extra fee.
Another set of sample, amateur footage shows the FPV drone flying around yachts:
You want high video quality and cinematic DJI FPV footage
The standout feature of the DJI FPV drone against all other FPV racing quads is the image quality. DJI FPV footage is spectacular compared to most FPV drones. While DJI FPV does not have a 3-axis gimbal as is the case with most camera drones (it’s just a single-axis gimbal), DJI FPV footage is still smooth thanks to built-in stabilization through a program appropriately named RockSteady. Especially noticeable during dizzying flights, you’ll find the background rotation is smoother.
As far as the camera itself, you’re looking at a larger, higher-quality lens than most FPV drones. You’ll see more contrast between light and dark. You’ll see sharper image quality. The camera shoots at 4K/60fps 120 Mbps, which is far higher than most FPV drones. You can also optionally film in 4x slow motion in 1080p and 120 fps.
You specifically don’t want a custom drone
For some it’s a feature. For some, it’s a bug. The DJI FPV drone is essentially ready to fly out of the box. That’s ideal for people whose primary goal is flying and who want to build a pre-built drone. Or, as made evident above — for people whose primarily goal is that unique, cinematic FPV look.
But many in the FPV community pride themselves on their custom modifications and home-built drones. Look to the racing circuits; no one is flying a DJI FPV drone there. Everyone is flying a drone that was custom built at least to some degree. There’s little you can do in the way of customizations with this one.
You’re drawn by DJI Goggles
Throw in the fact that DJI Goggles are arguably the highest-quality goggles out there, and you’re looking at a visually stunning experience in-flight and after. After all, DJI’s Goggles V2 provide 810p of resolution at 120 FPS with a max video bitrate of 50 Mbps, a crisp, 150-degree FOV, and unwavering reception. The ability to see what the pilot sees via USB is icing on the cake.
How do DJI’s camera drones fit in?
It wouldn’t be quite right to call DJI FPV a true camera drone, though. Most photographers will likely want to stick to something like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro with Hasselblad camera on the high-end, the DJI Air 2S for the highest-quality drone under $1,000 or the Mini 2 if you’re really on a budget.
|Drone||DJI Mavic 2 Pro||DJI Air 2S||DJI Mini 2||DJI FPV|
|Sensor||20 MP 1” CMOS Sensor||20 MP 1” CMOS Sensor||12 MP 1/2.3” CMOS Sensor||4MP 1/2.3” CMOS Sensor|
|Video Transmission||10 km 1080p Video Transmission||12km FHD Transmission||10km HD Video Transmission|
The bottom line
If your goal is drone racing, DJI FPV is probably not actually the best drone for you. It’s far from the fastest, most responsive, agile drone out there.
But if your goal is the quality of the footage itself, the DJI FPV drone definitely is it. Up until DJI FPV, it’s been accepted that FPV footage is low-resolution and blurry, especially when analog signals get weak. Fly DJI’s HD system, and you won’t be able to go back to standard-definition analog.
More than anyone, the DJI FPV is well-suited for people who got hooked by DJI’s camera drones, and want to take the step into FPV. If that’s you, you’re already comfortable flying drones. You value high image quality. And you’re addicted to DJI’s unparalleled quality. And now, you have a drone that’s you gateway into the world of FPV.
Are you considering getting DJI FPV? Do you have one already? Tell us why you want (or don’t!) want one in the comments below!