Having the best fpv goggles - or video glasses as they are also called - is of paramount importance if you are going to be using your quadcopter or your RC helicopter for aerial photography or aerial videography. Only the right first person view (FPV) system will be able to help you get that perfect shot. It's nearly impossible to use a UAV for aerial photography and videography without using FPV goggles.
Even if you're not into videography, these goggles are a must have. They allow you to fly the UAV a lot further and higher up in the sky than you'll ever be otherwise able to. Precise control is nearly impossible to achieve when you're standing on the ground and looking up at the quadcopter.
Goggles greatly enhance the experience of flying a UAV - while significantly improving your ability to control it.
Here's a quick list of the best FPV goggles on the market today.
Fat Shark Base VGA
Cell 1 / 3
Fat Shark Teleporter V3
Cell 2 / 3
OBOSS Original Boscam GS920
Cell 3 / 3
Skyzone SKY02 AIO 3D
Cell 4 / 3
Fat Shark Predator V2
Cell 5 / 3
Selecting the Right where video goggles for use with your UAV is anything but easy. There are a lot many choices and most people have no idea what to look for in these devices.
So here are the key features you'd want to look for in a pair of goggles before you buy them...
That said, any OLED screen may be superior to just about any LCD screen, no matter what the resolution. For best picture quality, the resolution of the input source - in this case your UAV's camera - should be high resolution as well.
Most TV screens and computer monitors have an aspect ratio of 4:3 - four parts wide to 3 parts high. That's almost square. But movie screens have an aspect ratio of 16:9. 16 parts wide and 9 parts high.
For the most immersive experience, you want the FOV to be as large an angle as possible. For best results, you want to use an FPV camera that has a large FOV as well. This image gets projected on the screen of the goggles, so the FOV of the goggles should be as large as possible.
The bigger the field of view, the bigger - and more realistic - the image you see will be. The experience will be very immersive and this is what you are looking for. Among FPV cameras, GoPro has the widest FOV. You can choose between 170 degrees, 127 degrees or 90 degrees. You can even vary a GoPro's FOV electronically.
You would want to make sure the IPD on the model is adjustable, and the maximum range is more than your own IPD. Else you might have to go cross-eyed to keep yourself from seeing double images.
You can expect FPV goggles with very small screens to last for up to 8 hours while those with larger screens will need their batteries recharged every 3 to 5 hours.
Lithium batteries are the longest lasting, but they are more expensive compared to the standard alkaline batteries. If you have a choice between two models - one that uses an alkaline battery and the other comes with a lithium poly battery, you would want to choose the latter.
Before you buy a model, make sure it is compatible with whatever device or devices you will be using it with.
In case you plan to use it with an android tablet, make sure it is compatible before buying.
This does not matter if you're going to be using these exclusively for controlling your quadcopter or helicopter. But in case you also plan to use it to watch movies or TV shows, you of course would want to buy a model that offers excellent sound quality.
Some models, with ear bud style headphones that cannot be removed or replaced. If that would be a concern to you, make sure to select a model that allows you to use your own headphones. In addition, here's a brief list of additional questions you would want to ask about any pair of goggles ...
Ideally, the package should include the following accessories:
It's always a good idea to use goggles that have two antennas as opposed to one. With a dual antenna, you might be able to view video even when the signal becomes very weak.
The device will get the feed from whichever of the two antennas is receiving the stronger signal.
At this time, only Skyzone has a model with dual receivers.
One other thing you could do would be to connect the goggles to a monitor with dual receivers. This way, a friend can view the video on the monitor while you use the goggles.
You would also want the receivers to be compatible with the FPV transmitter you are using and should support 5.8 GHz - which is the frequency most commonly used with FPV systems. You radio transmitter will be using 2.4 GHz - so 5.8 GHz is usually the only option for fpv.
Some models allow you to bind the FPV camera on the drone to your goggles. So as you move your head, the camera moves as well, resulting in a more realistic experience. With quadcopters and other drones, this may not be a big deal as you can yaw and pan the camera fairly easily. But if you are flying a fixed wing aircraft, this feature does make a lot of difference.
The real advantage is you can look around for obstacles and avoid collisions.
Not every model comes with inbuilt digital video recording, but this is a really nice feature to have. You can record video onto a memory card for later review. Should you happen to crash, the recorded video can help retrieve your drone.
Is your camera compatible with the goggles?
Be sure to check whether your UAV's camera is compatible with the goggles. Not all quadcopter cameras may be good for use with FPV systems.
Last but not least, there's one aspect that's rarely ever talked about on RC forums, but nevertheless is very important.
Quadcopters and other model aircraft need to be always flown within line of sight of the person controlling it.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) which also governs model aircraft prohibits anyone operating quadcopters or other model aircraft flying in and line of sight.
But with the aid of these goggles, it is possible that you may not be able to see the model aircraft, but you'll still be able to fly it.
It may not seem like a big deal, but legally speaking, this is kind of a grey area.
Here are some reviews of the best FPV goggles on the market...
Fatshark Base SD
If you are looking for a starter model, then this would be the best choice. As the name implies, the video is standard definition - 352 lines (640x480). It has a 35 degrees FOV and IPD is adjustable. It does not have a receiver - so you will have to use an external video receiver. It does not come with DVR either.
This model supports insertable diopter lens - something you would certainly want to do if you are nearsighted (myopic).
Fatshark Dominator HD
This is one of the best models you can get right now. It comes with a built-in video receiver, video recorder and has head tracking. The resolution is 800 x 600 (SVGA) - possibly the highest of any model today, and the FOV is 50 degrees - which is pretty good. It even has
Fatshark Dominator HD
This is one of the best models you can get right now. It comes with a
This is possibly the only set of goggles that comes with 32Ch dual receivers. It's very important that you use dual receivers for FPV so that you can minimize the chances of losing the video signal - and thus losing control of your drone.
Included is a front camera that some may find handy. Some folks frequently switch between first person view and line of sight. If you want to see your drone while wearing these, all you need to do is press a button and the front camera will be turned on, showing what is directly ahead of you on the screen.
Skyzone SKY02AIO 3D
This is the first - and till now the only 3d FPV goggles on the market. It too comes with dual receivers, 32 channels, head tracking, a front camera, adjustable IPD and has a FOV of 30 degrees. The resolution is 854x480 and you can use diopter lens inserts if you are myopic.
Quanum DIY FPV Goggle Kit
This is the least expensive goggle, but you will have to do some assembly as the name suggests. But even at the low price, it packs an impressive set of features.
It has a TFT LCD non-blue screen monitor with a 480p resolution. You can switch between 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. PAL and NTSC are both supported. It does not come with advanced features available in the expensive models. It does not include a video receiver, and you will have to take care of the IPD settings yourself. And it has no front camera either. But for the price, you cannot be expecting these features. You can use this with just about any drone - all you need to do is use a 32 channel or 40 channel receiver.
If you are new to FPV and are on a tight budget, this model will get you started.