DJI FPV Review: Serious hybrid Racing Drone

DJI has been around for a while now and has proven itself in the consumer drone market. Their latest offerings have been the “Hobby” line of products, such as the Phantom series, the Inspire series, and the Mavic series. These produce decent quality and are a great entry into the drone world.

The Serious hybrid Racing Drone is the closest a drone has come to being a racing drone and a filming drone. The controller has a built-in screen that can be attached to the controller, or a pair of goggles. The drone can also take a camera and has a very small form factor that is perfect for racing.

With the DJI Spark just released DJI has already set their new frontier of combining the best of their drones. With the world, the first 3-axis gimbal on a racing drone with a 1080p camera and 16MP stills camera drone flying has never looked more perfect. Here is my full DJI F8 review.

DJI has been in the drone business for a long time. They were one of the early entrants that really took it from the hobbyist side of things to the serious drone racing side. This new drone has a lot of top-end specs and is a serious racing drone. It’s a great reminder that some of the best toys are the ones that let you test your limits.

What is the DJI FPV?

What is the DJI FPV?

The DJI FPV is a great mix of two concepts – those being a camera drone and a racing drone. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, then this might be what you’re looking for; however, there are limitations. For example, if you plan on taking this drone to an international pro-drone race, then don’t! It’s just not fast or agile enough to keep up with other racers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find the one-axis stabilized camera gimbal with electronic image stabilization. Now don’t let its smooth video footage fool you – it’s not quite as nice looking or feeling when compared to your higher-priced jcdrones. And finally, be mindful that propeller blades can take up a lot of room in shots!

Now that we’ve scared you off, please come back. This drone is fantastic! Not only does it fly great but also captures amazing footage for an affordable price. It’s not really made for racing around or using as a camera, but there are other features on it that make up for these limitations.

The DJI FPV is an agile drone, even when flying at its slowest speed setting, I needed to be gentle on the sticks when in tight spaces. Once full throttle was engaged, it reached speeds of 87MPH- double what the best Mavic drones can do. With vertical ascent times too short to measure, this drone was exhilarating! It was almost comparable to those racer drones I had flown before – but without me having to take control of them (making them less tiring)!

DJI FPV performance

DJI FPV performance

The racetrack is full of machines that zoom at speeds too quickly for the average camera drone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limits operation to under 100MPH, but these speedy racers can clock up to over 170MPH. My Serious hybrid Racing Drone also cannot reach these speeds and reaches only 87 MPH – this is double what most people are used to with the Mavic line.

Though it cannot maintain its top speed straight down the line, the drone demonstrates its power in small maneuvers too. Be sure to maintain a gentler touch on the controls when you are near the aircraft itself – it has front and downward obstacle avoidance sensors, but this craft will fly into an object head-on if it senses anything from its left or right. This device can accelerate up to 62mph in only 2 seconds!

All this power comes at a reasonable cost; please anticipate a maximum of 20 minutes of flight time per battery – not a leader on our battery life list. That number reduces with how aggressively you use the controls, but it will still exceed that of a typical racing drone, which lands in the 5-10 minute range.

DJI FPV camera

DJI FPV camera

First off, the camera on this DJI FPV unit is superb. It has among the best resolution available and it can take amazing high-quality shots at higher altitudes. The downside to owning this unit though is that your propellers are visible in every shot so if you’re looking for something good enough to replace your Mavic 2 Pro then keep looking. That said, I’ve never seen a drone with such an expansive 150-degree field of view which makes it hard to see as normal video content because there’s just so much going on at once.

The last attribute of the DJI FPV Camera that you might not enjoy while shooting ultra-smooth aerial videos is its tilt function. Physically, it tilts up and down. However, the camera still has one limitation – when the drone tilts sideways, so does the tilted camera which can be viewed as an accurate depiction of where the drone sits at a certain time.

For the first time FPV pilots, they will find more of a natural feel when making a turn. It is similar to how you would feel on your bike while making a banked turn or how it feels in your car while going through a long straightaway along the side of the road – it is fun but some people don’t like doing anything besides staying completely upright.

DJI FPV software

DJI FPV software

You can control the DJI FPV without any special software. The DJI FPV Goggles 2 included with the drone has its own built-in software, enough to operate the drone. When you are ready to connect your account, check for updates, or handle more than just a basic flight, we recommend downloading the DJI Fly app.

When you put on the headset, you can see what the drone sees. You can also see how much battery life is left and if you’re recording something or not. It’s not meant to replace your use of the controller, but it provides a cool new way of experiencing flying one of these drones.

One thing I noticed right away was how quickly this system responds – so much faster than when operating this drone without it! To make full use of the new Motion Controller you will need to install the DJI Fly app.

DJI FPV Specifications

The newest Drone from DJI, the FPV (FPVision) has many new features that set it apart from its predecessors. One such feature is its height – It stands at around 3 feet high while others hover around 2 or less feet high. What’s even more striking about this drone is that, unlike many other drones which fold up after use, it remains in its open form during flight and storage. So if you’re looking for an easy way to tell these two drones apart; just look at their heights!

AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATIONS
Takeoff weight795 grams
Dimensions with propellers255 x 312 x 127 mm
Dimensions without propellers178 x 232 x 127 mm
Diagonal length245 mm
Propeller size5.5 inches diameter
Power6S
Maximum speed140 kmh
Acceleration0-100 kmh in 2 seconds
Maximum altitude6000 meters
Maximum flight time20 minutes
Maximum hover time16 minutes
Maximum flight distance (but see controller distance)16.8 km
Maximum wind speed39-49 kmh
GPS antennasGPS + GLONASS + Galileo
Hovering accuracy+/- 0.1m vertical, 0.3m horizontal with Vision positioning.
+/- 0.5m vertical and +/-1.5m horizontal
StorageMicro SD up to 256 GB
CAMERA SPECIFICATIONS
Sensor1/2.3 inch 12mp CMOS
Lens focal length150 degrees FOV
equivalent to 14.66 mm focal length
Focal distance0.6m to infinity, fixed focus
Aperturef/2.8
ISO100 to 12800
Shutter speed1/50 to 1/8000
Photo resolution3840 x 2160 JPG
Video resolution3840 x 2160 @ 60fps or 1920 x 1080 at 120 fps
Video formatH.264, H.265
Video bitrate120 mbps
Color profilesStandard or D-Cinelike
StabilizationRocksteady EIS
Distortion correctionYes
GIMBAL
Type1-axis (tilt) + electronic roll axis
Controllable Range-50 degrees to 58 degrees
Mechanical range-65 degrees to 70 degrees
Maximum speed60 degrees / second
Electronic roll stabilizationYes up to 10 degrees tilt angle
SENSORS
Forward range0.5 to 18 meters
Downward vision sensor range0.5 to 30 meters
Downward TOF sensing height10 meters
VIDEO TRANSMISSION
Frequency2.4 Ghz and 5.8 Ghz
Bandwidthup to 40 Mhz
LatencyHQ mode: 40ms.
Low latency mode: 28ms.
Maximum video bitrate50 mbps
Range10 km (FCC) or 6 km (CE)
DJI FPV GOGGLES V2
Weight420 grams
Dimensions with antennas202 x 126 x 110 mm
Dimensions without antennas184 x 122 x 110 mm
Screen size2 inches each
Refresh rate144 hz
Field of view30 to 54 degreez
Interpupillary distance adjustment58 to 70 mm
StorageMicro SD up to 256GB
DJI FPV REMOTE CONTROLLER
Frequency2.4 Ghz , 5.8 Ghz
Range10km (FCC), 6km (CE)
Weight346 grams
Battery life9 hours
Charging time2.5 hours

Who is the DJI FPV made for?

Who is the DJI FPV made for?

The DJI FPV was a lot of fun to fly. I raced around and captured some decent aerial footage but it wasn’t meant for everyone. It requires a lot of skill from the pilot which isn’t something that everyone possesses. This is one of those drones that would be best suited for someone who loves flying, has an extreme sense of speed, likes to experience things from above – whether they are real or fictionalized with virtual reality goggles on – because it’s one heck of a performance piece.

I want to compare the DJI FPV to a motorcycle. It’s not a car, but still gets you from A to B. That’s not the point of it though; motorcycles are made for experiencing life on the road – an exhilarating experience for many riders. Not something that all people can do, or even want to do- but it’s addictive nonetheless.

While costing around $1,000 – this is not a cheap toy for those who are looking for one. This pro-level drone comes ready-made for racing which should keep kids and adults alike entertained, but don’t worry if you’re new to the game because it also functions well for beginners. For those of us who are passionate about drones – we think you’ll find yourself enjoying this one too!

DJI FPV flight modes

DJI FPV flight modes

N, S and M. Just like other DJI drones, the DJI FPV offers N mode and S Mode. Call them Normal and Sport for now – because it’s what we’re all used to since it operates very similarly to how we flew before. But this time around we have S which comes in handy because it flies much faster than normal – though it does operate a little differently out of the box on the FPV (first-person view).

The newly implemented S mode is not just a speed boost. On the FPV, S Mode stands for training mode – specially made for beginners who are looking to get involved in racing. While this means that its pace is quicker than N Mode – it also allows manual-piloting functions, giving you tight and thorough control over how far/ high up the drone goes while still being able to monitor its position at all times. With these features combined together, DJI has created what they call a hybrid between self-piloted drones and racers.

Your right stick isn’t just for direct navigation anymore, it is a control for the physical orientation of the drone. That is, Mavic pilots use the right stick to tell the drone were to be in the sky, based on GPS coordinates, while racing pilots use the right stick to control how high or low they are at any given moment; and when they want their parachute deployed. In N mode, a quick tap to the left on the right stick makes them strafe slightly to one side before hovering once again; moving ever so cautiously toward their next destination.

In S mode, the same tap tilts the drone to the left – the result is that the drone will strafe to the left, but it will continue flying off to the left until you tap the opposite direction on the stick to correct the orientation of the drone.

DJI FPV flight modes

Continually holding left in N mode will just continue to strafe the drone, while S mode instructs it to tilt until it reaches a predetermined limit; this maintains its altitude and returns the drone to a hover. Then there’s M mode, where if you hold right on the right stick, instead of making the drone rotate counterclockwise (left) or clockwise (right), it will flip over – regardless of what its current orientation is.

S Mode is both new and familiar. This hybrid between the fully-assisted GPS flight mode Mavic pilots are accustomed to is paired with M Mode, which is for hardcore pilots – though there are two different versions of M Mode available. One variant places limits on how far the tilt can go; while another offers authentic full manual control over the drone’s movements.

In S mode, the same tap tilts the drone to the left – this result means that the drone will strafe to the left. However, it continues flying off in a straight line until you take corrective action by tapping right on the controller stick so that it faces back toward the center.

DJI FPV flight modes

Max speed:

  • N mode – 32MPH (50km/h, 14m/s)
  • S mode – 60MPH (97km/h, 27m/s)
  • M mode – 87MPH (140km/h, 39m/s)

DJI FPV parts and accessories

DJI FPV parts and accessories

DJI Drones are known for having an extensive list of accessories, not just limited to batteries and propellers. Not only does the market provide for these popular drones, but DJI itself also produces a wide range of replacements and extras.

The base DJI FPV for $1299 includes:

  • FPV drone
  • One Battery
  • Remote Controller 2
  • FPV Goggles V2
  • One pair of spare propellers
  • USB Type-C cable
  • Gimbal cover
  • Micro USB, USB Type-C and Lightning remote control cables
  • Spare joysticks
  • Spare colored shell
  • Torx Allen wrench

Optional: DJI Motion Controller

Optional: DJI Motion Controller

The new DJI Motion Controller is a fun piece of technology, the first official one-handed control system for a consumer-grade DJI Drone that we know of so far. Currently, this controller is only compatible with the DJI FPV Drone – but it could potentially expand to other models in the future.

As you might imagine, the Motion Controller isn’t a full-fledged remote control. It lacks some of the features of one, but it can still manage to let me fly without touching anything else or looking at what I’m doing.

The red Lock button functions as the starter and takeoff button. The Brake key will put my drone into a hover, which will trigger its return to home function. When I press the Mode key, it switches flight modes; the tilt is for camera nominals, while pressing the Record buttons act accordingly.

Optional: DJI Motion Controller

Operating the drone is done by tipping and pressing the acceleration trigger. To all the camera-drone operators out there, please pay close attention – operating this one isn’t as easy as it looks!

  • Tilting side to side does not strafe the drone, it turns it.
  • Tilting up and down does not raise and lower the drone, it changes its vertical trajectory when in motion.
  • Finally, the trigger move the drone forward.

The DJI FPV drone acts more like a remote aircraft than a quadcopter drone when used with the Motion Controller. If this feels unfamiliar to you, make sure you get your spotter in place so you can utilize the First Person View goggles. It’s easier for beginners because it feels much more natural when you feel like you’re playing an arcade-style video game.

DJI FPV Goggles V2

DJI FPV Goggles V2

DJI’s alternative-looking VR headset offers up one of the most beautiful visual experiences we’ve seen so far. The digital screen is large and clear, lightweight enough so as not to be uncomfortable when worn for an extended period of time, has sufficient room to fit over spectacles wearers (even those who wear very thick lenses), and lengthy battery life ensures that it can last throughout an average flight day.

The only notable downside to these goggles is that when it comes down to low-quality videos and user interface, there’s some room for improvement. For example, the nav joystick can be difficult to reach if you have large hands which means changing your grip might come up once or twice during recording. Additionally, while it may seem small given what else this gadget has going for it – the battery isn’t attached directly to the glasses themselves so finding a way to store them can take up some time.

Should you buy the DJI FPV?

Should you buy the DJI FPV?

The DJI FPV is hard to sell. It’s an excellent drone both in capturing great footage and racing through courses. However, it doesn’t excel at either – which makes it difficult to recommend one over the other without knowing what you want most out of your drone first. There are a lot less expensive options that can take great photographs from high up in the sky – but just remember that those won’t let you race them around (unless you’re interested in crashing).

If you have a specific need in terms of aerial imagery or winning on the race track, consider another drone, but if you are looking for one of the most exciting piloting experiences around from an easy-to-fly drone, the DJI FPV is hard to beat.

Check it out:

  • DJI FPV ready to fly package for $1299
  • DJI FPV Fly more combo for $299
  • DJI FPV Motion Controller for $199

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