The DJI FPV is a unique hybrid drone, it packs a capable 4K camera into an airframe that is designed for speed!
The new flying techniques
We flew the DJI FPV for five days before writing this review. We flew it as a camera drone, as a racing drone, and took advantage of the hybrid racing systems.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Our DJI FPV review originally published in March 2021. We will update this post when new information or updates are available.
What is the DJI FPV?
The DJI FPV is a fun blend of a camera drone and a racing drone. You get the best of both worlds, but there are compromises. On one end, we do not recommend taking this drone to a pro drone race, it’s too heavy and not agile enough to keep up with most racing machines.
On the other end, the one-axis stabilized camera gimbal, with electronic image stabilization, is far smoother than we had expected, but still does not maintain a silky-smooth video experience like your higher-end Mavic drones. Plus, the propellers get in the shot.
Now that we’ve scared you off, please come back, this drone is fantastic! It’s not really made for the race track, and it’s not really a camera drone, so what is it? Well, it’s possibly the most fun you’ll have with a flying machine today.
The DJI FPV is an aggressive machine, even in its slowest flight mode, you’ll want to be gentle on the sticks in tight spots. Full tilt, the FPV soars at up to 87MPH, that’s about double what the best Mavic drones can do. In the vertical, we weren’t timing it, but we got from the ground up to 400 feet in just a few seconds. This drone is exhilarating, like many racing drones are, but you can also let go of the stick and this machine will lock onto as solid of a hover as DJI produces in a consumer drone today.
Bottom line, the DJI FPV is a drone for pilots, the thrill of flight packed into a stable drone that happens to shoot great video.
DJI FPV performance
The racing scene is filled with machines that travel much faster than the average camera drone. While the FAA limits Part 107 operations to under 100MPH, the fastest racing drones can clock over 170MPH. The DJI FPV cannot go that fast, rated for 87MPH. For all of you seasoned Mavic pilots, that’s about twice as fast as you are used to.
The performance is not limited to just a top speed in straight flight, the power of the DJI FPV is evident in smaller operations as well. Be sure to be gentle on the sticks when you are close to the drone yourself. It has forward and downward obstacle avoidance, but this thing will jump into an obstacle to the side or rear faster than most people can react. The drone is rated for acceleration at about 2 seconds to go from 0 to 62MPH. We’re talking about supercar speeds here.
All this power comes at a reasonable trade-off , please anticipate a maximum of 20 minutes of flight time per battery – not a leader on our battery life list. That number reduces depending on your aggression with the sticks, but will still exceed that of a typical racing drone, which land in the 5-10 minute range.
DJI FPV camera
First and foremost, the camera on the DJI FPV is one of the best consumer-class units that DJI has produced to date. That said, this is probably not a viable replacement for your Mavic 2 Pro for your aerial photography needs. The biggest detractor for most pilots is that your propellers are in view on this drone, from there, the expanded 150 degree field of view lens is great for situational awareness for the pilot, but is a little unnatural to watch as a ‘normal’ video goes.
The final aspect to the DJI FPV camera that you may not enjoy for your silky smooth aerial video capture, is the single axis tilt of the Gimbal. This camera physically tilts up and down, but that’s it. When the drone tilts to the side, the camera tilts to the side. This is standard operation for racing cameras, as it accurately depicts the orientation of the drone.
For the first time FPV pilot, it’s a far more natural feel in the turns, similar to the tilt you experience on a bicycle when taking a banked turn, for example, or the feel in your car when on a banked road through a long corner on the highway – it’s fun, but if you have an aversion to anything but being perfectly vertical, this may not be for you.
In the traditional sense of providing a fully stabilized camera, no, the DJI FPV is only a 2-axis stabilized system. Also, the 4K sensor is sub-par for comparably priced camera drones.
The DJI FPV captures very fun high-speed video from the sky, but is not recommended for overall camera enthusiasts.
In addition to the physical stabilization, DJI has equipped an EIS solution as well. This Electronic Image Stabilization is, actually, pretty impressive. The lack of physical gimbal tilt traditionally renders aerial video useless. Drone flight is, inherently, violent. The constant vibration and orientation correction translates directly onto film, making video that hurts the head to watch.
The video capture from the DJI FPV is smoother than some 3-axis systems can offer. DJI Calls it RockSteady EIS, and we’d say that’s a good name for it.
New feature: Gimbal position switch
The controller for the DJI FPV is equipped with a few new buttons, one of them is a three-position switch for the camera gimbal. The rocker switch will instantly orient your camera all the way up, center, or all the way down. This is a nice feature to have for camera operators, but is even more helpful for the racing pilots out there, that need to adjust the camera as quickly as possible, with as little effort as possible.
Did we mention, the gimbal goes from about 70 degrees downward to about 80 degrees upward. (*exact measurements coming soon.) For the camera enthusiast, that gives you a nice upward looking shot. For the racer, that means you can still see where you’re going when the drone is in full tilt forward.
DJI FPV software
You can choose to fly the DJI FPV without any special software. The DJI FPV Goggles V2 included with the drone have their 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, you’ll want the DJI Fly app.
You will need the DJI Fly app in order to use the new Motion Controller as well.
Inside the headset, you’ll enjoy the full live view from the camera, plus power information and an indicator that you are recording video or not. This is not intended to be your full resource for piloting the drone, just a fun addition to the familiar piloting experience. The live video has very low latency, you may be able to notice a delay, but most responses from the drone feel like they are instant.
DJI FPV Specifications
The DJI FPV is a brand new design with all new parts and accessories. Some of you may have gear ready to work with the Goggles V2.0, but the FPV airframe is a totally new non-folding footprint. The FPV is also much taller than most other DJI drones. That said, there’s a good reason things are different, this drone is far more powerful than a typical camera drone.
The DJI FPV is a blast to fly, but let’s explore the specifics for a moment:
[specs table loading…]
Who is the DJI FPV made for?
The DJI FPV is a fun machine to fly. It races fairly well, and it can capture some solid aerial imagery, but it’s really a pilot’s drone. If you love to fly, have a passion for high-speed maneuvers, like to see the world soar past your ears, even if only inside of a VR headset, this is a great drone for you.
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, a motorcycle is designed to experience the road, an exhilarating experience for the rider. Not for everyone, but many fall in love with it.
With a starting price over a thousand dollars, this is not the inexpensive toy many wish it could be. As a machine that expertly marries the fun of racing with the stability and ease of use that DJI has come to be known by, we imagine many passionate drone enthusiasts will fall in love with this one.
DJI FPV flight modes
N, S, and M. Like many DJI drones, the DJI FPV offers N mode and S mode. Let’s call them Normal and Sport. Normal is the self-stabilized flight mode that Mavic pilots are used to, where the drone is able to hover in place when you take your hands off the sticks. S mode can be configured to be very similar, just faster, but has a little different operation by default on the FPV.
The new S mode isn’t just a speed boost, on the FPV, S mode is a training mode for those looking to get into the racing scene. Yes, S mode on the FPV is faster than N mode, but it also offers a very controlled manual-piloting function, allowing you to control the tilt of the drone, with safely controlled limits. DJI calls it a hybrid of a self-piloted drone and a full racer. Let us explain.
Your right stick isn’t just for direct navigation anymore, it is a control for the tilt of the drone. That is, Mavic pilots use the right stick to tell the drone where to be in the sky, based off of GPS coordinates, while racing pilots use the right stick to control the physical orientation of the craft. In N mode, a quick tap to the left on the right stick makes the drone strafe to the left a little in the air, where it comes to hover in its new location.
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.
Continually holding left in N mode will just continue to strafe the drone, in S mode, the drone will tilt until it hits a pre-defined limit, maintaining its altitude and returning to a hover. Then there’s M mode, in which the drone will flip over, as holding left on the right stick simply tells the drone to roll left, regardless its current orientation.
S mode is a hybrid between the fully-assisted GPS flight mode that Mavic pilots are used to. M mode has is for hard-core pilots.
M mode does come in two variants, the first places a limiter on the tilt, so you can’t actually tip the drone upside down. The second is legit full manual operation.
- 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 drones have a long list of accessories available to them. Not only does the market catch on and help these popular drones excel, but DJI themselves also put out a great selection of add-ons and replacement parts.
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
The DJI FPV Fly more combo for $299 includes:
- Two more batteries
- Charging hub
Optional: DJI Motion Controller
The new DJI Motion Controller is a fun little unit, the first official one-handed control for a consumer-class DJI drone that we know of. This controller is currently only compatible with the DJI FPV drone, but may expand to other drones in the future.
As you might imagine, the Motion Controller is not a full-fledged remote control. There are a few missing features as compared to a full remote, but you can successfully take off, fly and land all one-handed now!
The red lock button acts as the starter and take-off button. The brake button puts the drone into a hover, and triggers the return to home function. The mode button, well, it changes flight modes. Tilt is for the camera gimbal, and the record button acts as predicted.
Operating the drone is done by tilting the remote itself and squeezing that accel trigger. All you camera drone operators, please pay attention, operation is not what you’re used to.
- 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 airplane than it does a quadcopter drone when using the Motion Controller. If this feels a little unnatural to you, make sure you get your observer in place so you can get into the FPV Goggles. It feels much more natural when you feel like you’re in a video game.
At this time, the DJI Motion Controller only works with the DJI FPV. The controls work very well with the flight experience of the DJI FPV, but other DJI drones operate a little differently.
DJI FPV Goggles V2
DJI’s alien looking VR headset offers up one of the nicest looking experiences we’ve seen. The screen is large and clean, the headset weighs little enough that it isn’t uncomfortable to wear, there’s enough space to accommodate glasses wearers, and battery life will get you through the average flight day.
Related reading: DJI FPV System
The only appreciable downsides to the goggles is that they display/record sub-HD video, the nav joystick is a little tough to get at for big hands, and the battery is an external unit that you have to find a place for. The power cord is long enough to slip the battery in your pocket, but we’d have liked a pouch on one of the head straps.
Should you buy the DJI FPV?
We think the DJI FPV is a hard sell. It’s a fantastic drone that is extremely fun to fly. It’s a solid blend of easy-to-fly camera drone with fun-to-fly racing drone, but it is not really a top contender in either space. I know a few pilots that will absolutely love this machine, myself included, and it’s a fun way to carefully get a feel for the difficulty of flying a true racing machine, but there are less expensive drones that are more capable at taking photos from the sky, and far less expensive drones that can beat the FPV around a race track.
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
- 4K camera
- Over 85mph!
- Versatile flight modes
- Very fun to fly
- Motion Controller is unique and fun
The DJI FPV is a fantastic hybrid drone. It takes the very best from both the racing drone scene and the camera drone experience, making for one of the most exciting flying machines around. Blending the two has compromises, including shorter flight times than camera drone pilots would like, and agility that may not keep up on a tougher race track.