Are you excited by drone racing videos from pilots like CHARPU, Mr. Steele, or Skitzo? Perhaps you’ve been to a drone race and experienced what it’s like to look into the goggles of a drone pilot? No matter how you got here, there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with drones – First Person View, or FPV for short. FPV lets a drone pilot see what their drone sees using a drone mounted camera. This camera is linked to a transmitter, which uses radio waves to a connect to a receiver on the ground. The receiver passes on the video footage to a small screen or FPV ‘goggles’.
FPV racing pilots tend to use Fat Shark goggles, particularly the Dominator V3, but many new options have become available. DJI drone pilots have flocked to Avegent’s ‘Glyph’ goggles, which allow pilots to quickly switch between immersive FPV flight and traditional ‘line-of-sight’ flying, which is particularly reassuring when you have $1000+ of drone in the air! Compare goggles side-by-side and read on for all the detail about our category winners.
DJI Friendly Winner Avegent Glyph
The unconventional Avegent Glyph goggles have become an unlikely hit with DJI drone pilots; their unique design allows you to flick your eyes up or down, quickly switching between FPV and line-of-site flying (or looking down to track navigation on your tablet). DJI pilots with Fat Shark Dominator HD3’s have described the Glyph as a ‘revelation’, their only regret being they should have purchased the goggles a long time ago. The Glyph can accommodate vision adjustments between +1 and -7 diopters – if your vision falls outside this range, we would recommend the Headplay HD FPV goggles, which can accommodate reading glasses. If you’re ready for FPV flight with your DJI drone, remember to purchase an additional DJI HDMI module so your new goggles can receive FPV signal from your drone.
Entry Racing Winner Eachine VR D2 Diversity
The Eachine VR D2 Diversity has been described as a Quanum Cyclops ‘killer’. The Diversity is more expensive than the Cyclops but includes Direct Video Recording (DVR) and a ‘Diversity’ receiver. For this goggle, Diversity means the use of two different aerials, whose unique properties combine to improve video range and signal. With a wide field of view (FOV) and a 2000mah battery, the Diversity goggle provides extended periods of immersion. The only downside is that unlike the cheaper Cyclops, the Diversity cannot accomodate reading glasses. This type of goggle is also bulky, but the Diversity features three comfortable elastic straps to secure the goggles in place.
Intermediate Racing Winner Quanum Fatshark Genesis
The ‘Genesis’ is a joint product by Quanum and Fat Shark, and a more serious goggle than the entry level Cyclops. The best feature of the Genesis is a ‘glorius’ 1280×720 (720P) HD display, with each eye viewing the display through its own dedicated lens, providing a field of view up to 96 degrees. This makes the Genesis the best HD goggle at any price. The Genesis also boasts a Diversity receiver improving video signal and range. Despite its bulk, the Genesis is very comfortable to wear but unlike the more expensive Fat Shark Dominator V3, the Genesis does not feature a ventilation fan to prevent fogging of the lens/screen. This is a particularly important feature if you plan to race, where one wrong move can cost you victory.
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Performance Racing Winner Fat Shark Dominator V3
Worn by CHARPU, FGA, Mr. Steele and Skitzo, the Fat Shark Dominator remains the favourite FPV goggle for competitive racers. Everything about the Dominator V3 is designed for racing. With a lighter and more compact design than the ‘Genesis’, the Domiator V3 prevents distraction from tiring neck and head muscles. A ventilation fan prevents fogging of the lens/screen, so racers maintain maximum video detail. An optional 3-axis Trinity head tracker module lets you control orientation of the drone mounted FPV with your head. Again, this allows racers to pick out detail on the race track that could seal victory. To relive fastest laps and racing victories, the Dominator V3 also features DVR.
The Fat Shark Attitude V3, little brother to the Dominator V3, carries a slightly lower price but sacrifices the fog prevention fan, the head tracking option and DVR. Even so, owners with both goggles say they ‘keep going back’ to the Attitude’s, but come race time, the Dominator V3 takes charge. Please note, before use Fat Shark goggles require purchase of receiver module, which fits directly into the receiver bay.
PROS and CONS of different FPV Goggles
The facts are pretty easy to lay out. It’s much more difficult to determine which FPV goggles will work for you, as there’s no hard and fast ‘best’ goggle on the market. When you’re looking at FPV goggles you have two options; true goggles, or a head mounted display. True goggles have two screens, with one eye each viewing one screen. This option is the most compact and portable choice for FPV. Head mounted display units have a single monitor. These monitor goggles are usually much cheaper than a true goggle option. The pro’s and con’s of each option are outlined below.
1. True Goggles: FatShark Dominator/Attitude
- Clean build
- High quality image
- Modular design makes them very versatile
- Built in DVR allows you to record flight footage
- Requires purchase of a receiver module to work
- Some users have focus issues on Dominator HD line
2. Head Mounted Display: Headplay HD FPV
- Large FOV
- Higher resolution screen
- Boxy, clunky, and difficult to transport compared to goggles
- Locked into provided bands and frequency
- Large FOV makes flying difficult for some users
- Some users experience focus issues
Q: What are the Best ‘All-Around’ FPV Goggles available in 2016?
A: The Attitude V3 goggles from FatShark are widely regarded as the best all-round FPV goggles. With a 35 degree field of view, adjustable IPD, and the benefits of a modular receiver bay and built- in DVR, these goggles provide for virtually all the wants and needs of an FPV pilot. The Attitude V3 is a favorite of drone freestyle pilots, though some have moved to the updated Dominator V3 and Dominator HD3.
The FatShark Dominator HD V3, as the name suggests, is an 800×600 HD FPV goggle that supports HDMI input. These HD video goggles were designed with the DJI Phantom and Inspire in mind – while much more expensive than the mid-range goggles, they offer the widest field of view and highest screen resolution available in true FPV goggles. However, some users have reported blurry edges around the screen. Unless you’re able to try on goggles before purchasing, we recommend the Attitude V3 as the best ‘one size fits all’ option available.
Q. What are the Best Accessories for FPV Goggles?
The most important part of any goggle is the screen. The second most important part is how it gets an image. Most goggles have built-in receiver modules, that receive the image being transmitted from your drone and then send that image to your screen. FatShark goggles, specifically the Dominator line and the Attitude V3, offer modular receiver bays that allow the user to switch out receivers. This allows users to access different channels and different frequencies.
Check out some of our recommended FatShark module options below:
The antenna is also an extremely important part of FPV. Most goggles come with a linear- polarized dipole antenna. These antennas, while suitable for FPV use, do not reject ‘bounced’ signals, and so are much more susceptible to interference. Most serious FPV pilots always use Circularly polarized antennas, as they reject interference much better.
FPV ANTENNA UPGRADES
These are our recommended upgraded antenna options:
Beginner Q & A to FPV Goggles
Q: I’m interested in FPV, but I’m looking for a good ‘all in one’ combo with everything I need to get started. What should I buy?
A: The Attitude V2 Bundle from FatShark is an excellent choice that comes ‘plug and play’ with a ready- to- go FPV setup.
Q: If I purchase Dominator V2 goggles, what else do I need to be FPV ready? What equipment do you recommend?
A: These are the following recommended items you’ll need to get in the air. Happy Flying!
Q: If I want more video range, should I buy a higher power video transmitter?
A: No. Range is much more dependent on your antennas than on your transmitter power. Instead of increasing your transmitter power, try using a patch (like the one linked above) as your receiver antenna.