DJI FPV Evaluation: A Highly effective Drone For The Critical Pilot

“The DJI FPV is a fast and agile drone for serious pilots.”

  • Incredible agility and speed

  • Responsive controls

  • Low latency video transmission

  • Steep learning curve

  • Soft video quality in low light

When it comes to variety in the drone world, DJI offers perhaps the most extensive lineup aimed at both enthusiasts and professionals. From the Mavic line for those just starting out to the Inspire line for commercial work, DJI seems to have the full range.

While one could argue that DJI dipped its toes into the first-person view (FPV) world with its FPV goggles not so long ago, the DJI FPV marks the company’s official entry into the exciting new world of FPV -Drones – those soaring, fast drones that perform like souped-up street racing cars. It opens up a whole new world to existing drone enthusiasts. But what does choosing the DJI FPV really bring you?

Powerhouse animal

I’ve mentioned to people several times how intimidated I am by the DJI FPV. It’s a powerhouse on paper and in real life with its aggressive design language that is a marked departure from previous designs I’ve seen from DJI. For starters, the two second acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph is a reminder of its raw power – something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if it’s your first time flying an FPV drone. I managed to get the DJI FPV to 60 mph during my tests, but that’s still a step back from its top speed of 87 mph.

The strength and responsiveness is incredible, something that is required to achieve some of your aerial acrobatics. While other consumer drones piloted by me like the DJI Mini 2 and the Mavic Air 2 prefer more gentle movements, the DJI FPV is all about tight movements and quick coverage that provide a different kind of visual capture. For example, you can get the feeling of floating in the air with the DJI FPV because it is capable of making such tight turns.

The strength and responsiveness is incredible.

Because of its incredible performance, I wouldn’t recommend the DJI FPV to anyone just starting out. Driving is similar to driving a manual racing car for the first time. It is therefore helpful if you have any driving experience at all.

Steeper learning curve

One reason experience is necessary is that there is a steeper learning curve to becoming familiar with the manual mode of the DJI FPV. On one hand, I appreciate that the normal mode makes it similar to piloting DJI’s other consumer drones, but flying for the first time was an experience I haven’t felt since flying my first drone. I was scared because it was by far the most powerful drone I have flown.

Aside from just controlling the drone, there is also all of the equipment that makes up this completely new system. While the drone is at the heart of all of this, there is also the remote control, FPV goggles, and batteries that complete them. I usually just turn on a drone and connect my smartphone to the controller before it’s ready to fly. However, because there are more components involved, the DJI FPV will take a little more time to set up and start up.

The new OcuSync 3.0 technology, which is used here with the DJI FPV, delivers reliable video transmission at 810p / 120 frames per second (fps), which enables a real-time view of my flight location and a better feeling for the strict controls that react immediately. This is important because control is everything. Some latency and delay may or may not mean the difference between the drone capturing the shot. Fortunately, DJI’s FPV system works like a charm.

If your main goal is to take photos, then you shouldn’t get the DJI FPV.

Even so, the menu system is hard to miss. It is difficult to access controls, options, and different modes from a smartphone by tapping the appropriate controls in the DJI Fly app and just relying strictly on the joystick on the FPV goggles. You can’t easily switch video resolution on the fly through the goggles, and it requires a few menus before you can get to that. This simply adds to the steeper learning curve of the DJI FPV.

Finally, I really want to emphasize that you cannot control the DJI FPV by yourself. Since you are wearing the DJI FPV Goggles 2, someone else has to be with you to have a visual line of sight with the drone. Therefore, by default, it is a two-person operation.

Dynamic action footage

If your primary goal is to take photos, then you shouldn’t get the DJI FPV – mostly because there are other options that are better suited to it, like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro with its larger camera sensor. The DJI FPV is really intended for the serious videographer who wants to get the nifty and fluid action shots that fast FPV drones are known for capturing. Photos are just an addition to the experience.

Equipped with a 12-megapixel camera with a 1 / 2.3-inch CMOS sensor, the DJI FPV 4K records 60 fps with a bit rate of 120 Mbit / s. Leveraging its impressive speeds and tight controls, this drone can definitely achieve a style that DJI’s other consumer drones cannot match. I was able to fly right over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at over 50 mph, then rocket at an angled speed, and finally make a tight turn in mid-flight. Considering this is all happening in real time, this is the kind of footage I couldn’t get to with drones like the DJI Mini 2.

You could emulate the look and style, but to get the same pace the footage would have to be sped up to make it look like you’re flying at the same incredible speed. It’s not the same, however, especially when subjects move in the frame – moving strangely because the footage is speeding up. This is not a problem if the recording contains static elements.

With enough lighting, the 4K footage is sharp and saturated at 60 frames per second, but softens as the sun goes down. There are notable artifacts in the shadows, so in terms of low-light quality, I got it on better with the DJI Mini 2, although it’s nice that DJI has its D-Cinelike color profile in the post for better optimization offers. The camera sits on a uniaxial (tilt) gimbal, which, unlike the triaxial gimbals found in DJI’s other drones, gives it a very peculiar look as the left / right panning inclines to them during flight Images leads, the pilots see in a real cockpit. The stabilization is thankfully done in the form of RockSteady EIS, which does a good job of reducing vibrations and jitter, but is not as good as a camera sitting on a 3-axis gimbal.

John Velasco / Digital Trends

The DJI FPV’s video style is incredibly unique – you won’t find anything like it in DJI’s portfolio. That alone is the biggest incentive for drone pilots looking for nifty action sequences. You won’t get any of the cool cinematic recording modes that DJI is known for like circle, rocket, and boomerang. In order to get similar images, the pilot must expertly steer them.

For serious videographers only

The biggest question is, who is the DJI FPV for? As I mentioned earlier, if your primary objective is to take photos, you have nothing to do with the DJI FPV. It’s not for beginners either. It is intended for the serious videographer who wants to capture action sequences, such as when following a high-speed biker through a course.

Our opinion

On paper, the DJI FPV, at a cost of $ 1,299, is in close proximity to the DJI Mavic 2 line – that is, at the upper end of the spectrum in the DJI portfolio for consumer drones. It’s not cheap, but the prices are reasonable as it’s a complete FPV system in one package, unlike other FPV drones that require a DIY approach.

I would recommend paying the extra $ 299 to purchase the Fly More kit, which includes two extra batteries and a charging cradle. The cost is worth it when you consider that a single replacement battery is $ 159. Finally, for $ 199, the DJI Motion Controller offers a new and unique way to control the DJI FPV by providing controls that make it seem like you are actually controlling something right from the cockpit.

How long it will take?

It’s well built, but I’d like to say that you should buy DJI Care Refresh’s extended warranty anyway, not only because of the drone’s expensive cost, but also because of the fact that piloting such an animal could result in an accident those who are not so experienced. It covers accidental damage and starts at $ 199 for a one-year plan.

Is there a better alternative?

Not really in terms of the visual style of shooting. Yes, you could buy an FPV drone, but the vast majority have to be hand-assembled – while with the DJI FPV, you have a complete system that is ready to use out of the box.

Should you buy it?

Yes, only if you are a serious drone videographer looking to add a new visual dimension to your recording portfolio.

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