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FPV goggles, also known as “First Person View” glasses allow the wearer to see the flight and the surrounding environment through the drone’s camera, more or less like an actual pilot would see things while up in the air.
They connect to the actual camera that is mounted on the drone via WiFi connection, just like your phone does. Through a series of small adapters and frequencies, the best FPV goggles allow the user to not only see what the camera sees, but also manipulate the camera settings, the zoom, and – if the mechanism of the camera allows it – even the direction in which it is pointing.
The attraction for these is understandable because of 2 major factors.
- The goggles make it a lot easier to fly the drone – before these goggles, you would either have to rely on a small screen attached to your controller or simply look for the drone from the ground and try to guide it around. This made dodging obstacles like trees, power lines and so on quite difficult.
Not to mention the fact that you would have to maneuver the drone in such a way that you would always have visibility of the drone. This usually meant that the pilots would have to restrict the flight path in such a way that the drone would never wind up on the other side of a tree or wall.
- The goggles allow you to immerse yourself in the actual flight, enhancing your experience as well as overall performance. With these goggles, you can easily maneuver the drone around, negotiate obstacles with a lot of ease, and even get that perfect shot that you are after without having to stress yourself and the drone, too much.
Before FPV goggles, pilots were heavily restricted in regards to the footage they could get with their drones. Things like chases, fast panoramic shots and fly-by shots, just to name a few, were heavily restricted by the pilot’s need to see the drone from the ground at all times.
With FPV goggles on hand, pilots are not only able to get amazing shots but the flight quality has improved considerably.
Now that you know why goggles are so important, let’s take a look at some of the best products on the market.
Top 5 FPV Goggles to Consider When Shopping
Fat Shark Spektrum Ultra Micro Kit
First off, this is not just a simple pair of goggles, but rather an entire kit made by Spektrum and based on the Fat Shark FPV gear.
This kit combines the best of both worlds, managing to bring together the features and performance that Fat Shark goggles bring to the table and the resilience as well as customization that the Spektrum kits have to offer.
This is a great choice that can fit in with most camera drones and their transmitters. This means that the product is compatible with most 5.8 GHz transmitters and is able to bypass and work around the 2.4 GHz wavelength interferences that come when dealing with high frequencies.
The goggles themselves have a built-in head tracking system, making it perfect for drones with gimbaled camera mounting brackets. You will be able to move the camera around by simply moving your head rather than having to rely on your fingers feeling around the controller.
Another big advantage of this kit is the fact that it does not require an FCC license in order to be flown while in US airspace, making it easier and more comfortable to use while at the same time not having to adhere to strict regulations and red tape.
It is currently one of the best FPV kits for beginners, allowing them to get a lot of performance as well as a lot more control right from the start. It can also be adapted and tweaked by changing the transmitters and antennas in order to sync it with high-end performance drones, allowing even then most experienced and well-versed pilots to use it and push their performances even further.
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BTG KDS Kylin Vision
The BTG KDS Kylin Vision is one of the bigger heavy-duty FPV goggles on the market. Still, even though the pair is relatively heavy and well built, it is not heavy enough to cause strain and discomfort while being worn for extensive periods of time.
This product is made for the popular 5.8 GHz frequency controllers, managing to meet the requirements of virtually all camera drones that use that frequency. They also come with a small, lightweight antenna that is barely noticeable while wearing the goggles.
Because of the active screen, the goggles are also great with fast racing drones as well as acrobatic quadrocopters. This is because the goggles are able to take advantage of the big screen, making it possible to provide the pilot with an increased FoV (Field of View), making it a lot easier to see everything around you without having to turn the camera around constantly.
It is because of this increased FoV that most drone racers prefer this model, allowing them to see everything clearly while in flight, so that they can focus on the race rather than panning the camera everywhere constantly.
One last thing to note about these goggles is the fact that they are incredibly simple to sync up to any drone and transmitter, as well as incredibly simple to use. The 5-inch screen that sits in front of your eyes is made to be easy on the eyes, with a resolution of 800×450. This way, the eyes don’t get strained and the refresh rate of the screen is lowered on purpose so there won’t be any damage to your vision.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it from Amazon.
Fat Shark Dominator V3
The Fat Shark line is famous amongst drone pilots. The Dominator V3, may not be the latest product in their line, but it’s still among the most popular and the most sought-after product because of 5 major reasons:
- It is lightweight yet sturdy
- It sports a pair of high-resolution low-frequency displays that are rather gentle on the eyes
- They are easy to maintain
- They work with nearly all drones on the market
- They work in extreme weather conditions.
That being said, the Dominator V3 made it on our list due to their great performance in extreme weather conditions, making it easy to get video footage that other goggles simply cannot handle. Besides this, these goggles are also able to bring something else to the table: the Trinity head tracker.
This makes it so that the camera moves in perfect sync with your head while wearing the goggles.
This adds an entirely new layer of control and immersion, and the easy-to-use controls that are spread out on top of the goggles make it so that controlling the actual camera and its features is easy and risk-free even though you might have to take one hand off of the controller for a second every now and again.
The Dominator V3 can be used with 1G3, 2G4 and 5G8 band receivers, and a maximum frequency of 5.8 GHz, making them usable with a very large array of drones.
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Eachine has been on the market for quite a while now, providing the drone enthusiasts and pilots with a wide range of drones and quadrocopters that serve a wide variety of purposes, from racing to leisure to filming.
The same goes for the Eachine EV 800 – the FPV headset that can serve multiple purposes. This is actually one of the major reasons behind the popularity of the EV 800. First of all, it is a 5-inch screen with a very low refresh rate that will not be taxing on the eyes while being worn. The frequency at which it operates is a popular 5.8 GHz, being able to cover a wide selection of drones.
Although it does not support the state of the art advanced camera features that other FPV headsets support, what it is able to do is adapt to all the requirements and preferences of the pilots.
The headset itself is separable, meaning that it can be broken down into sections and still function accordingly. You can use the screen itself as a standalone monitor on a small tripod, or a small monitor on the controller itself if need be.
Another great thing about this headset is the fact that it is also made to work great with racing drones, especially the Eachine Racer which can reach impressive speeds for drone standards, and the FPV headset is able to handle them without any motion or side blur, allowing the pilot to clearly see where he or she is going even at high speeds. You can find out more about this drone model in our Eachine 250 Racer review.
If you like this product you can find and check its price on Amazon.
This particular brand of FPV goggles and headset is not particularly famous outside of drone racing circuits. The product is considered as the top-end FPV head mounted display units due to the way in which it operates.
First and foremost, when you order them, you don’t just get the headset, you actually get a full kit which includes a lot of miscellaneous add-ons that will prove useful as time goes on. The goggles can be separated in different units, however they can be individually configured and tuned in order to fit the needs of even the most pretentious of pilots.
The product is able to work with drones and transmitters at 5.8 GHz but it offers the possibility to down-tune the actual frequency, making it possible to use it with older models as well.
One last thing to mention about this FPV headset is the fact that it is incredibly hard to damage. The body is made out of strong shock-absorbing material, as well as strong insulation, protecting both the screen and internal circuitry from the harsh elements or impacts and water damage.
The downside is seen in the ease-of-use as these goggles are not recommended for beginners and people that are not accustomed to immersive drone flight. This is because they implement quite a complex system which makes them rather uninviting for inexperienced users.
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Features to Consider before Buying
There are a few details and a few elements that you will have to keep in mind before deciding what the best FPV goggles for you are.
The size of the goggles
Some goggles are as small as an average pair of sunglasses while others are as big as a virtual reality headset. The bigger the goggles are, the better insulated the eyes are from external light. It also goes without saying that the bigger the goggles, the bigger the screen that you are looking at.
However, with size comes weight and loss of comfort. The smaller the goggles, the easier they are to wear, the more comfortable they are the easier they are to control as well.
The placement of the transmitter/receiver antenna
All goggles, whether big or small, come equipped with antennas and internal transmitters which allow it to sync up to the drone’s camera and even control its features (if the goggles have the controls for it).
Some antennas are internally placed, some are external, some are lob-sided and some are evenly balanced. Depending on the drone, the range at which you will be using them and your personal preferences, the antennas themselves will play a very important part in your experience.
Right off the bat, not all FPV goggles have camera controls on them. However, some of them actually come packing everything from zooming and directional controls, all the way to advanced functions and features.
This is a double-edged sword as well because regardless of whether or not you have camera controls on your goggles, you will still have them on the actual radio controller.
While there are pilots that have an attraction for the controls on the actual goggles, there are also pilots that prefer the goggles without any actual camera controls.
The major debate reason being the fact that you might find yourself needing to make adjustments to either the camera itself or the goggles’ displays while mid-flight, meaning that you will have to take one hand off of the radio controller.
The weight of the goggles
It goes without saying that the last thing that you want happening is being stuck with a shoddy light pair of cheap goggles that will break on you when you least expect it.
However at the same time it should be kept in mind that the heavier the goggles the more difficult it will be to wear them, going as far as to cause strain issues on the back of the neck, the eye sockets and the bridge of the nose.
The best thing to go for here is a balance between the two. A pair of goggles that is not light enough to feel cheap, but not heavy enough to cause discomfort while being worn for extended periods of time.
Not Sure What to Buy Yet?
It can be difficult to figure out what you want to buy, particularly because of the fact that the last thing you want is to have multiple pairs of goggles, each for individual needs.
That being said, you will have to look at the drone that you are flying, as well as the flight style and the various needs that you have.
If you prefer racing/agile flight, you might want to look towards bigger headset style FPV goggles. They allow for bigger FoV settings, allowing you to see more details and a wider view. Very useful for racing and acrobatic flight allowing you to make split-second decisions and grad tight turns at fast speeds.
If you prefer leisure/videography flight, your best bet is with smaller goggles. These provide a better overall resolution and better overall capture features, making it possible to get those perfect shots a lot easier. However, you will be working with a more reduced FoV and a slightly better output resolution.
However, before considering features, you must first consider whether or not you want to buy FPV goggles for your drone. There are some pros and cons for this that you should keep in mind.
- It allows you to see the flight from the drone’s point of view
- The experience itself is immersive and enjoyable
- The goggles offer bigger flight freedom
- They provide overall safer flight
- They make it possible to become a better pilot overall with time
- They are not particularly cheap
- They can cause strain as a result of prolonged usage
- There is a lot of variety and a lot of options for you on the market, making it harder to find the right one for you
- It’s another thing to check and charge before the flight.
- You are completely focused on your screen, the rest of the world being locked out for the duration of the flight.
That being said, there are a lot of reasons to both buy and not buy FPV goggles for your drone. But, if you find them to bee a bit too expensive for your budget, we suggest that you check out our article about cheap FPV goggles, where you can find more affordable models.
If you are interested in them and you feel that they would be a great addition as well as a massive improvement to your flight experience, then you might get a lot of enjoyment out of them.
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