First-Person View (FPV) technology has taken drone flying to new heights. It is a boon for both ace pilots and for hobbyists. But before you rush to buy an FPV drone, find out how this innovation works and what it is used for. You’ll be in a better position to decide whether it will suit your needs and which models are available in the market.
What is FPV?
Usually called FPV (short for First-Person View), “video piloting”, or Remote-Person View (RPV), it is the act of flying a remote-controlled aircraft from a first-person perspective, by using a camera and a monitor or FPV goggles for the pilot. The camera’s feed is transmitted wirelessly and the pilot might feel like he is on board the aircraft, sensing the speed when the drone is fast, or enjoying stunning visuals when it is high in the air.
Drone cameras, controllers and FPV goggles are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Some cameras may be gyroscope-controlled and have gimbals; controllers (with screens) might be able to record a live video of your flight; and goggles can immerse you in the whole experience.
FPV can work in many different radio frequencies, depending on the manufacturer and product you choose, but the most common are: 900MHz, 1.2GHz, 2.4GHz, and 5.8GHz. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and some are even restricted in specific countries (including the US), so beware of local legislation before investing in that shiny imported system.
While some might think this feature is superfluous, watching a live video feed from an unmanned aircraft has many interesting outcomes. The basic idea is that the pilot can see exactly where the quadcopter is and what the camera is filming, in real-time. So it can be used in filming & photography, drone racing, or even checking your plantation or monitoring cattle.
By watching the real-time video feed, pilots can avoid obstacles easily, even ones that can’t be seen directly. Just imagine that you want to fly in a forest full of trees, it would be a nightmare to do it by looking straight to your quadcopter, because trees would block your view. However, the FPV signal can cross all that and allow you to make great images in these harsh conditions.
FPV also suits anyone who needs a real-time view of objects from the ground. For example, real estate agents can get a broad overview of properties from the air, and scientists can collect valuable research data as well.
What quadcopter should you buy?
If you have just started out or if you are an experienced drone racer, there’s a model fit for you, check out our recommendations:
With a carbon fiber frame, an HD FPV camera, and a flight time up to 14 minutes, this guy is very popular among drone racers. This version is Ready-To-Fly and it comes with a 6-channel transmitter and an LCD screen that shows the live camera feed (5.8 GHz) from the quadcopter.
It uses brushless motors for higher performance, a white LED headlight for flying at night, and it weighs 400g (without the battery). Check it out here.
If you have just started out with quadcopters, this is a good choice for you. It is small, lightweight, resistant, and very popular among drone flyers. This version has an LCD screen built-in the transmitter, so you can do your stunts and watch the on-board perspective.
It flies up to 7 minutes with one charge and can go up to 100 meters (~330 ft.) away. Take a look here.
If you want more flexibility on the screen you use, this is a good match. Apart from being a reliable and fast drone, it comes with a camera that transmits the video feed via WiFi, so you can use your smartphone or tablet to watch, in real time, what your drone is up to. (You just need to install the APP).
In case you want it back fast, just use the One-Key-Return button, and enjoy the headless flying without being confused about directions. It flies up to 8 minutes, and can go 100 meters (~330 ft.) away. Click here for details.
This quadcopter is as complete as you need it to be. With its FPV camera, LCD screen attached to the transmitter, spare batteries, spare propellers, spare motors, and a nice case for carrying everything, it is a complete kit for starters. Check the specs.
Maybe you’ve about this model before, it is resistant, affordable, and very popular for new pilots. It can fly up to 12 minutes on a single charge, perform flips, take videos and photos, and it also has the WiFi FPV capability, which transmits the camera feed directly to your smartphone or tablet. Visit the website.