The DJI FPV Makes Photography into a First Person Shooter

Using the DJI FPV was incredibly fun and just the spark that the industry needs.

The brand new DJI FPV gave me all the fun that playing with toys did as a child. But instead, it’s a serious device for creating. Drone photography is seriously one of the most fun and enjoyable things you can do. Like a few other types of photography, you can think of it as a toy shooting style. Unfortunately, lots of products don’t really have things like RAW capabilities. But some, like the DJI FPV have extra fun factors to them!

DJI FPV Important Stats

  • Shoot using a first-person VR headset
  • Similar controller to other DJI drones
  • New design with a lifted rear area
  • VR headset shows you where the HOME is
  • 4K 60p video
  • Rocksteady image stabilization
  • No manual exposure control or RAW
  • Emergency brake
  • Hover function
  • Normal (N) Mode: During N mode operation, DJI FPV operates similar to other DJI drones, hovering in place with the use of GPS and/or visual positioning systems (VPS) on the bottom of the drone. The most approachable flight mode, N mode, allows for obstacle detection sensors on the front to be activated to warn when obstacles are near and slow down. Pilots are tasked with maneuvering the drone away from any detected obstacles. 
  • Manual (M) Mode: Take full control over the drone with M mode, which is designed for more experienced users. While in M mode, all sensors and hovering features are disabled.  
  • Sport (S) Mode: A new hybrid blend of M and N mode, S mode offers some of the dynamic movement capabilities that come with M mode along with some of the key safety features of N mode. S mode is the middle step between the three modes and developed to give pilots more room to explore their skills as they get accustomed to FPV flight.  
  • Standard low-latency HD mode: See the world in 1440x810p in either 60 fps with a wider 142° Field of View (FOV), or 50 fps with 150° FOV. In this mode, latency is as low as ≤ 40 ms.
  • Smooth mode: In this mode, pilots activate high frame rates for a more cinematic look to signal latency is decreased to ≤ 28 ms. Resolution is 1440×810p 120 fps with a 142° FOV or 100 fps at 150° FOV. 
  • Audience mode: Share the pilot’s perspective in audience mode, which connects up to eight additional goggle sets to the pilot’s view so even onlookers can experience the flight. 
  • The standard DJI FPV Combo includes the FPV drone, remote controller 2, FPV Goggles V2, all required cables, and one battery for the retail price of $1,299. The DJI FPV Fly More Kit is also available, which includes two additional Intelligent Flight Batteries and the dedicated charging hub for the retail price of $299.

A New Take for Creators

The DJI FPV is designed for a first-person view. So operating it is done through the controller and the visor. It’s designed for speed, hence the design. But it gives you the immersion that wasn’t possible like it is with putting your eye to a viewfinder. 

Before I go any further, this doesn’t shoot RAW. And it doesn’t have manual exposure control. So if that makes you stop reading, then to each their own. But I’m fine with JPEGs and applying filters via my phone. That’s what mobile photography is all about. And overall, this is just for fun. I absolutely wish that there was a way to shoot RAW; it had a large sensor and manual exposure control with variable apertures. But that’s not the case here.

Drone photography, videography, and shooting have surely had their experts. But I feel cutting out the distractions is going to open the doors. It’s going to be easier for folks to shoot and become immersed. 

I flew it above Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NY, in my short time with the drone. The immersion gives you a truly visual experience unlike anything else. You always see those long, winding, beautiful cinematics. But you never make them yourself. In this case, you are. So you need to be careful about the speed, the pitch, yaw, etc. Getting a view from a drone is one thing. You can easily do that with a DJI drone and your phone. But being in the cockpit is something totally different. Again, it’s like you’re behind the viewfinder. 

Combine this with other experiences that so many of us have: gaming and VR. I use VR goggles for workouts. And I’ve been gaming for years. This drone is truly for folks that have wanted to be a more active part of the story. Of course, that also comes with a bit of risk. Because you’re basically in another world, you probably want to do this with someone you trust. Having someone nearby to watch your stuff is pretty important.

A big thanks to IGN‘s Kevin Lee for letting me tag along! 

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.