Reviews |DJI FPV

DJI FPV Review

Amazing fun but not a drone for imaging despite the specifications

DJI FPV Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£1249

$1349

Our Verdict

DJI has been involved in FPV components for years, so this drone’s release is really no surprise on the technology front.

In this verdict, I’ll skip over the worries of an 87mph FPV with early release software and concentrate instead on how this drone flew and captured imagery. Surely that’s what we’re interested in?

Flight wise the FPV is fast, agile and not at all scary to fly due to the flight technology that cuts in and makes you feel like you’re totally in control and flying on rails. It’s amazing.

The FPV live view feed is also incredible; however, I made my spotter wear the glasses, and after a few moments, they lost balance and fell over. From the floor, they confirmed the visual quality was excellent before disappearing.

However excellent the live feed is, the props appear in the footage, cancelling this out as an imaging drone.

At its heart, it is an FPV racing drone, although far more refined than I’ve ever seen before. I’m hoping DJI has some ideas about the potential market; it will be difficult in the UK due to drone safety, but we’ll have to wait and see.

However, maybe DJI has a world series event planned, in which case I’m definitely in.

For

  • Great design
  • Crystal clear video stream
  • Fast and agile

Against

  • Blades appear in the footage.
  • Only designed for use with Goggles.
  • Requires two people

DJI’s new compact drone is insanely fast and can record 4K video at 60fps. It’s great fun to fly, but is it suitable for aerial stills and filming? I’ll explain all in my DJI FPV review.

What is the DJI FPV?

DJI’s new drone has arrived early and we’ve been putting it through its paces for our DJI FPV review. The DJI FPV might look like a new direction for the company, but in reality its technology has been used in FPV drones for many years. So this drone’s release should be no surprise.

The DJI FPV is a completely new drone featuring an aggressive design, sci-fi styled goggles and a streamlined remote. There’s also an optional game-style controller which uses hand movements and position rather than sticks.

The DJI FPV drone’s idea is that you pop on the goggles and get an FPV (First Person View) from the drone’s perspective.

DJI FPV Review

However, UK drone safety laws say that you should always have an unobstructed view of the drone in flight at all times. Obviously, this isn’t possible with the glasses on, so DJI suggests you should also have a spotter in the UK.

Essentially, a spotter is someone who stands by your side looking out for obstacles, danger and, well, this time of year, most likely complaining about the cold and wishing the drone’s battery would hurry up and die.

Taking a look at the drone, it’s obvious that this is a break from the imaging drones that the company has launched in the past. The aggressive FPV design, three-blade props and goggles are all testament to this.

This departure from imaging is re-enforced as soon as you take off. The DJI FPV’s true colours are instantly on display. It’s fast, agile and sticks to the path you give it like no other drone I’ve used.

However, as soon as you realise that this is one of the most controllable drones you’ve ever flown, you also realise that it is not really designed for imaging. The visuals may be spectacular, but as with all FPV’s, there’s the issue of the blades creeping into the frame.

Specification

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Lens FPV: 149.4°
  • Lens 35 mm Format Equivalent: 14.66
  • Aperture: f/2.86
  • Shooting Range: 0.6 m to ∞
  • ISO: 100-3200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8000-1/60 s
  • Max Image Size: 3840×2160
  • Video resolutions: 4K: 3840×2160 at 50/60fps, FHD: 1920×1080 at 50/60/100/120fps
  • Max Video Bitrate: 120Mbps
  • Stabalisztion: Single-axis (tilt), electronic roll axis
  • Flight time : 20 mins
  • Take off weight: 795g
  • Max Speed : 140kmph, 87mph

Build & Handling

The build quality and body design standards for DJI drones have always been exceptional, which is why the Phantom and Mavic series have been so popular.

What’s more, each new generation builds on that quality, and DJI’s use of materials always seems to take a step-up. Once again, this is certainly apparent with the small DJI FPV.

As you’ll see in the images, the design is remarkably different from previous DJI drones. The DJI FPV is more akin to traditional FPV drones, although far more refined.

DJI FPV Review

However, if you’ve ever used or seen an FPV drone, you’ll know that one of the key considerations for users is the weight. FPVs are usually designed to be as light as possible and are almost always, even now, imagined and built by the pilots who fly them.

While FPV drones are usually unique to the builder, many parts such as the flight controller, image transmission and camera are made by companies such as DJI.

What DJI has done with the DJI FPV is add a refined commercial edge to the FPV design. Comparing the DJI FPV against FPV racers and you’ll start to see some familiarity with the motors’ positioning, the three-blade props and agility in flight.

However, there’s a big difference; the DJI FPV has been designed to be flown by normal people and within most territories laws, which is a great thing.

If you’ve ever tried to fly an FPV, it takes practice and skill as there are no limits on the roll, pitch or yaw.

If that didn’t make it hard enough, most FPV’s are usually flown full manual. This means that there is the absolute bare minimum of computer control flight assistance, making them almost impossible to fly.

The DJI FPV has flight assistance in abundance, which is more akin to the Mavic and Phantom ranges, making anyone able to fly this small FPV drone and have fun in the process.

The DJI FPV is FPV refined, the body of the craft is beautifully designed, and I feel it is one of the best-looking drones from DJI yet. It’s also incredibly robust, as I found out when testing, but the less said about that, the better.

As anyone who flies’s drones in the UK, the laws here are tough for UAV pilots; you have a series of forms and tests that you need to pass before you can fly.

The introduction of these rules was no surprise here in the UK, after the issues around the airports with drones a couple of years ago, so it’s good to see that DJI has factored in a wealth of safety features, including the geofencing and no-fly zones, that will stop you from trying to take the drone off in locations you shouldn’t.

This is all especially relevant with this new FPV from DJI.

The new Fly App, which is being updated at present, adds in all those drone safe features, but as ever, it’s good to download the NATS app just so that you can keep up to date with the latest when it comes to notifications and other flight safety data.

The other point on safety is that this drone has been designed to be flown by two, apparently! Or at least in the UK, you’ll need two people to get the full experience, although I think the whole thing is a little close to the law, but we’ll see.

One thing that did surprise me was this drone is still unclassified under the new rules that will come into force on the first of January 2023. So at best, if you buy it now, then commercially, you only have just under two years to use it for any commercial flights.

However, I can’t see why you want to use this commercially, as this drone isn’t made for that type of use; it’s definitely for fun.

FPV Goggles V2

DJI might not have released an FPV drone before, but they’ve supplied FPV components for years. I’ve used the V1 goggles and OcuSync in previous drones I’ve made in the past.

I chose the DJI kit for a couple of my drones as the Ocusync system is relatively easy to install into your system compared with some of the other offerings. More than that, it’s the image transmission speed and resolution that is so reliable that won me over.

The V2 goggle builds on the footage’s resolution and quality; the live view stream on the DJI FPV transmits footage at 1440×810p 120 fps with 142° FOV or 100 fps at 150° FOV, which gives a clear view from the perspective of the drone. The clarity is unbelievably good.

Again, the goggles’ build matches that of the FPV, solid and robust, and once on, you look like an extra from a sci-fi movie. A simple elasticated strap secures the goggles on to your head and creates a good comfortable fit to the head.

The other purpose of the googles is as an app replacement so that you can access all the options and settings directly using the two buttons and the double-action joystick on top.

The small joystick enables you to enter the menu system and select options such as resolution, control systems and logging that you want.

Next to this is the back button that enables you to retreat through options and exit the menu system, and then there’s the record button. A quick tap, and you’re ready to film from your FPV action.

The DJI Goggle V2 are very neatly laid out.

The goggles also feature a USB Type-C for power and another for HDMI out so that audiences can watch the flights on the big screen. There’s also a small rubber flap that covers the Micro SD card slot and another USB type-C that enables you to plug in directly to a computer for firmware updates.

One slightly annoying aspect of the goggles is that they use and external USB power pack. Once in place, this slips into a pocket, but compared with the rest of the design’s finesse, it feels a little out of place.

The DJI FPV Controller

The remote control is the final part of the main puzzle, and here you have two options. The first arrives in the box with the drone and goggles and is of the traditional two-stick design. To date, this feels like the nicest controller that DJI has created, with a simple, uncluttered front and a selection of physical buttons and dials on top.

Those top buttons enable you to adjust the camera angle, start and stop recording and take photos; it’s all quite standard DJI stuff, just better laid out.

The big difference with this controller over past controllers is that there’s no clamp to place your mobile phone. Again this drone is designed as FPV, so if you’re wearing goggles, you wouldn’t be able to see the phone anyway, so why to have it.

That is unless you’re in the UK, where it might have been handy to have the phone holder on the controller so you could fly without dragging someone along with you. The alternative is to plug the goggles in, leave them lying on the floor, and fly the drone as a simple RC.

The DJI Fly app works in the usual way even if you’re unable to attach it to the remote.

While that would usually be the end of the remote story for DJI drones, there is a bit more to it. There’s a single-handed remote, which is a lot more like a games controller.

This works by using your hand movement to control the drone rather than the two sticks. In theory, this should make the drone easier to fly for those experienced with gaming. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one of these controllers to try, but we’ll let you know what the flying experience is like when we do.

Performance

Drones don’t usually grunt, but that’s exactly what the DJI FPV does when it starts up. First, you hear the electronics come to life, and then after a few moments, the motors shake, and the small craft lets out a threatening grunt.

At which point you know the small, powerful DJI FPV has arrived, and it’s unlike any DJI drone that has been before.

The take-off procedure is the same as ever, two sticks towards the middle and then left stick forward, and up you go.

DJI FPV Review

After a few checks forward, back, up, down, landing and taking off again,  you’re ready to go. The first flight was conducted in N (Normal) mode to feel how the small craft would perform.

N, or it’s equivalent, is usually a sedate stroll when motors are limited and the craft’s speed is kept in check. Herewith the DJI FPV, the speed is kept in check for an FPV but would be akin to almost full pelt for any another drone.

A quick round of the field and the small UAV’s agility is displayed. I noticed instantly just how fast and controllable this compact drone is.

Banking shows off the new flight characteristics in full. Turning slightly left with both control sticks, I was impressed by how the wide turn is smooth and accurate, almost as if it were on rails. I then gently transferred both sticks to the right with a bit of uplift and, again, the change in direction and turn are both fluid.

For my next test I sent the DJI FPV at full pelt going forward, and then I made a quick turn to the left and right, banking on the turn. The drone held its course well with little, if any, sideways drift. Drift is something you usually have to compensate for with the Phantom series but there was nothing of the sort with the FPV drone.

The improved handling for the FPV is down to DJI’s enhanced technology. This is by far the most complex drone on the flight side the company has ever released, and the attention to detail really shows. A new braking system kicks in when cornering hard, almost completely eliminating drift, and this is very impressive. I flew a Phantom 3 Pro after flying the DJI FPV, and my usually agile Phantom 3 Pro felt like a 2 tonne lorry in comparison.

A quick wiggle of the controller sticks throws the drone’s flight all over the place, but somehow you always feel in control. As soon you release those sticks, the FPV drone stops in a hover. All recent DJI drones do this, but those drones aren’t flying at the super fast speeds you can reach with the FPV.

I also wanted to test the DJI FPV’s object detection. With some reserve, I flew the drone directly at a woodpile. Sure enough, as soon as the drone got close it slowed to a stop demonstrating that the front sensors were aware of everything in its path.

However, I should note that these sensors are front-mounted only, so don’t attempt a sideways drift or reverse, as the FPV will impact with anything in its way.

The final safety check I want to carry out was the loss of connection. This is one of the most important tests a drone pilot can make to avoid flyaways. I flew the drone slowly at a height of 3m towards some netting at a distance of 300m. I then switched off the remote for a full 30 seconds and switched it back on.

As soon as the connection was lost, the DJI FPV drone stopped and hovered where it was. After about 30 seconds, the drone flew up into the air and then returned to its home point.

It’s always a bit nerve-racking making this test, but DJI FPV performed admirably.

Overall the flight performance of the DJI FPV drone was exceptional in N mode. It’s great fun and easy to control. The new auto-braking system is even more advanced than past iterations and enables you to control fast FPV-style turns.

Although this is FPV, the auto flight features are there for safety, so unlike my FPV, you can’t flip or roll or get complete manual control, which is good.

At present, the Manual and Sports modes aren’t fully activated but will be after 2pm on its launch day of 2 March 2021. Switching to these modes enables you to access the maximum speeds.

DJI FPV Video & Image Quality

DJI has vast imaging experience, and the small Mavic 2 Pro still stands out as one of the best imaging drones on the market.

If you’re under the impression that the goggles that come with the DJI FPV will give you a more immersive imaging experience, then think again.

This DJI drone is designed for FPV. The footage you can view and capture, while excellent, is not as suitable for serious photography or video, so if your goal is to record cinematic aerial footage it’s still better to buy the Mavic 2 Pro.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the gimbal on the FPV is single-axis rather than three, so much of the stabilisation is digitally processed. Even though DJI’s RockSteady electronic image stabilisation is exceptional, it’s just not quite as good as a mechanical gimbal. Although to be fair, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.

The camera’s image quality is also not quite up to the imaging potential of that found on the front of the Mavic 2 Pro. It may be able to record 4K video at 60fps and able to capture at 120mb/s, but the seemingly lesser Mavic 2 Pro imaging is exceptional.

The footage from the DJI FPV is good, but if you’re using it for filming the sides will need a crop. The small form and reach of the propeller arms are designed to be agile and enable fast flight, but they are not designed for filming, as the tips of the blades appear at the frame’s edges.

The actual quality of the video and images is exceptional, minus the pop ends. It should appeal to those on Twitch sharing gaming footage, or even GoPro action camera users showing off their extreme stunts. Herewith the DJI FPV, we have another avenue for people sharing footage, only this time it’s their extreme drone footage.

After several flights, I can say that this drone is a lot of fun, especially with a spotter and using the goggles for the POV view. A testament to this is the amount of time I’ve spent driving to flight zones to use the thing.

The DJI FPV does worry me, as I can also see how this drone could be used out of context. The visual image transfer from the drone to the goggles is fast and in realtime, and that view is exhilarating.

I worry that once this drone is in the public’s hands, there will be an issue in the UK with people not using spotters and flying this drone safely. However, if everyone sticks to the rules, it’s a great deal of fun.

DJI Fly App

Along with the release of the DJI FPV drone is the DJI Fly App. This has been updated to include the FPV along with the companies existing range of drones.

While the Fly App has been an integral part of the DJI Drone experience with the FPV its part in the operation of the drone, it’s lesser due to the part of the FPV Goggles.

However, as with previous iterations of the DJI Fly App there are still plenty of options and settings that you as the pilot or spotter can access.

These include the flight modes, video and stills settings as well as all the usual safety check features.

We’ll bring you more on the updated DJI FPV Fly App soon.

 

 

DJI FPV Review Final Thoughts

The DJI FPV looks great, and with the video specifications, goggles, agility and speed, it’s certainly appealing.

But, before I go any further, it’s just not suitable as an imaging drone. However much I like the way it looks, the small excited grunt it lets out when it powers up, and despite how fun it is to fly, this isn’t a drone for photographers or videographers.

So, don’t even think about it. You’ll have great fun flying it, there’s no doubt, and the speeds it can reach are unbelievable. But you have to contend with its blades appearing in the footage. You can see an example of this around the 7-second mark in my sample 4K at 60p footage above.

DJI FPV Review

It should be a given that the DJI FPV is designed for something else other than imaging; the name gives it away. So, yes, the blades appear in the footage, and they do with all FPV drones I’ve ever flown.

The DJI FPV is a very different drone from what we’re used to from DJI. So, for now, if you’re looking to film cinematic aerial footage, sit back and wait for the DJI Mavic 3 Pro or buy one of DJI’s current Mavic drones.

Until then, I’m going to rip up the sky, find some other like-minded aerial hooligans and have some FPV racing fun. Or at least I would if I wasn’t in the UK.

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Lion Falkenstein
Lion Falkenstein
1 year ago

Being an FPV drone, most pilots flying these type of craft won’t bother about props in camera view.. as a solid clear image with low latency is more important along with an agile responsive flight character.
If one is looking for a cinematography drone, stay away and buy a spark or mavic… this is and FPV drone, worlds apart and should not be compared with features of your typical video drone.
So I think the author of this post should have another think about the core purpose of this drone before saying anything negative..
But that’s just me..I’ve only been flying for a little over 20 years.

Angela Nicholson
Admin
1 year ago

Ali has been flying drones for a long time, and I believe he’s built and raced a few. But as Camera Jabber is primarily a photography and videography website, we need to let readers know that the FPV isn’t an imaging drone.

Stephen Rudge
Stephen Rudge
1 year ago

Question: I am wanting to get into ariel photography, and I know this drone is not the best drone out there for photography, however, I only have one hand. (I’ve been shooting photography 1 handed for 20+ years) what drew my to this DJI FPV drone is the one handed motion controller. Because you e been flying for over 20 years, is there another drone you would recommend?
(Didn’t mean to post twice)

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Rudge
Stephen Rudge
Stephen Rudge
1 year ago

I am wanting to get into ariel photography, and I know this drone is not the best drone out there for photography, however, I only have one hand. (I’ve been shooting photography 1 handed for 20+ years) what drew my to this DJI FPV drone is the one handed motion controller. Because you e been flying for over 20 years, is there another drone you would recommend?

Chris Del
Chris Del
1 year ago

I’m sorry but this seems like lazy writing. It takes 15 seconds to adjust the camera settings to remove the propellers from the shot