Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Who doesn’t want a drone? Nobody! However, drones come in different types, sizes, and prices. Remarkably, there’s a new game-changing technology called FPV camera technology for drones that’s giving pilots the best experiences ever.
One of the most fascinating technologies is the FPV camera technology in drones makes it possible to view high angles and beautiful scenarios.
So, what is FPV camera technology? And how exactly does it work?
First-person view(FPV) technology involves controlling a radio-controlled vehicle from the pilot’s perspective. An FPV drone provides entertainment, aerial images and videos, and is also applicable to security, and inspections. It works by sending actual video from the drone camera to the screen or smartphone device.
This extensive guide answers all your questions about FPV drones. Read to the end!
Table of contents:
- What Is An FPV Camera Drone?
- Uses of FPV Drones: Why Do You Need FPV Drones?
- What Is The FPV Camera Technology, And How Does It Work?
- Types of FPV Drones:
- What Is The Best FPV Camera For Your Drone? Buying Guide:
- How to Attach FPV Camera to a Drone?
- How to Connect FPV Camera to My Phone?
What Is An FPV Camera Drone?
Cameras used in the FPV system are usually tiny and affordable. These cameras are at the front of the drone, mounted to capture and send actual footage through a video transmitter.
Nonetheless, you should understand that the first-person view isn’t about the aircraft but the method.
When flying an FPV drone, the pilots and the drone have the same view. Instead of the usual procedure where the pilot controls the drone from the ground, FPV drones control it from the drone’s position.
It’s more like a drone’s eye view.
Uses of FPV Drones: Why Do You Need FPV Drones?
On most occasions, both traditional and FPV drones have the same applications.
However, only a few conventional drones can use the FPV application for its leading task-racing!
Generally, it’s true to say that FPV drones provide a fabulous real-time experience for every drone pilot.
Some of the uses and advantages include;
- FPV drones are more precise. This is primarily important for the racing drones because they offer a cinematic viewpoint that you can’t access from the ground. Still, flying FPV drones is fun!
- They are more maneuverable. FPV drones operate through FPV hardware that allows even freestyle flying. Therefore, the pilot can do stunts and even zoom effortlessly through challenging conditions. Just the way you watch the drone races on TV.
- FPV drones are useful in search-and-rescue operations. Sometimes, searching with foot on the ground can be hectic, not to mention tiresome. However, with the precision of drone eyes in the sky, the rescue mission can take shorter than expected with good results.
- Farmers also use FPV drones for crop spraying. This way, they cover a more extensive section of the farm using less effort and time.
- FPV drones present an up-close view of in-depth data. Most of them feature obstacle avoidance that helps them navigate easily and quickly for greater detail. Thanks to their high resolution, their images and videos show cracks, damages, and other nasty things worth noting.
Some cons come with each flying mode, and FPV isn’t an exception. Here’s why.
It would help if you had a second pair of eyes to check around when you fly an FPV drone with a headset and screen. Also, beginner pilots find FPV drones challenging to fly because of maneuvering from a first-person view.
Above all, FPV drones are more expensive than the traditional models.
What Is The FPV Camera Technology, And How Does It Work?
First-person view technology is the same as remote-person view. This technology controls a radio-controlled drone from the pilot’s perspective.
There’re several vital elements featured in the FPV system. It has a camera and a video transmitter—also the tiny, navigable multi-rotor model for accurate vertical take-off, hovering, and control.
The cameras come in different types, from basic models to the high-end 1080p and 4K options.
The video transmitter must be high-quality to enable a steady live-video signal with low latency.
This means the time lag is less between the actual viewpoint of the camera and what’s available on the ground.
The FPV system at ground level operates using FPV goggles and a remote controller. The remote controller is usually what the drone pilot uses to fly, and it looks like a video game pad.
On the other hand, the goggles come with a headset with a screen to capture the first-person view.
Types of FPV Drones:
You can also call FPV drones racing drones or mini quads. Typically, their design is specifically for speed, durability, and maneuverability.
They come in two main categories;
- Custom-built: Many racing drones are self-built. If you have little knowledge of electronics, it can be difficult to custom make your FPV drone.
However, most pilots enjoy building their drones just like flying. The advantage of custom-building your FPV drone is the freedom to choose the parts you want and configure it just the way you want.
- Ready-to-Fly: For those who don’t have the hands to DIY, you can opt to buy an RTF (ready-to-fly) FPV drone.
This saves time and the trouble of the entire building process. However, purchasing a ready FPV can be somehow more expensive than making one.
What Is The Best FPV Camera For Your Drone? Buying Guide:
Choosing the best can be a challenge with plenty of FPV camera drones in the market. While most people rush to buy from big brands, it would also help to consider upcoming models. This is because some features are more important than others.
However, the essential features that you shouldn’t miss in your FPV camera are as follows;
Image Sensors-CMOS and CCD:
Most importantly, the image sensor of the FPV camera significantly affects the drone’s performance. CMOS and CCD are the primary image sensors in FPV cameras.
Which is better? Let’s take an in-depth look at each.
- CMOS sensors: Usually, they come at a low price, and they have a better performance that’s compatible with FPV applications than the CCD. The cost is crucial because the camera is the first to crash.
After all, it’s at the front of the drone in case of an impact. Additionally, CMOS camera sensors are lightweight and consume less power.
- CCD sensors use a global shutter that produces whole and quality images in real-time. Still, their vast dynamic range makes them perform better in extremely bright and dark settings. Sadly, the CCD sensors cost more for FPV applications.
Video Transmission Latency:
Latency occurs when the camera processes the actual footage from the image sensor. So, the latency is lower for a faster process and vice versa.
For action cameras, it may take a while before they can finish processing any complex videos and images while they’re still transmitting the FPV transmitter.
Because of their low speed in their task, they produce a high latency than FPV cameras.
But how do you measure the latency of your drone?
Simply set the timer of your FPV camera with the monitor. Use the second camera to capture the monitor’s image and the timer in a single shot.
Next, compare the time in the timer and the monitor to see the distance covered by the signal. The space you get is your latency.
TVL is the resolution measurement for FPV cameras because they use analog videos. So, when the resolution is high, the image captured is of high quality.
While it’s essential to look for a camera with high TVL, it’s not the only factor for a good image. Factors like dynamic range, latency, and color reproduction also play a significant role in image quality.
Field Of View:
It’s the area the FPV camera can see in the given range. But, most FPV camera manufacturers don’t quote it in their models. Instead, they label the focal length of the lens measured in mm. you can always search for the standard FOV of most lenses.
Generally, FPV applications recommend cameras with a high field of view to cover a wider area.
But, it all depends on the pilot as others prefer a narrow field of view.
Nonetheless, it’s best to explore different cameras for their field of view to settle on the one you like. Better still, some advanced cameras allow you to swap the field of views for different settings or as you prefer.
This is the ability of your FPV camera to record specific and desired details of the image in very dark or very bright settings.
The camera focuses above the horizon with a low dynamic range, and you can’t see anything because the ground is black. But, you can fix this by tilting the camera to face down so you can see more land.
Then, the camera adjusts the exposure for a more visible ground and a slightly washed-out sky.
Though manufacturers don’t publish the dynamic range, the default setting is usually wide straight from the box. However, take your time to review your preferred FPV camera or even ask the seller before buying.
Infrared Filter/ Sensitive:
Generally, most cameras come with an inbuilt infrared cut filter. The work of the filter is to block out light from entering the sensors, which can cause the image to look washed out.
With the infrared-sensitive in a camera, the image of the video contains bright and vivid colors. Also, the IR cut can allow you to see clearly in the dark because they adjust to let in more light in dark settings.
Remember to get an FPV camera with this feature and confirm before buying as most don’t come labeled.
How to Attach FPV Camera to a Drone?
In the current generation, FPV cameras add more value to drones. See how to attach an FPV system to a drone below:
What you need:
- Power supply
- Power the transmitter using the power supply.
- Use the yellow wire from the power supply to the transmitter. Still, you can use the red and black camera wires to connect to the BEC converter.
- Lastly, attach the camera to the front of the drone. You can also put the transmitter where you want, but most are usually at the back of the drone.
Bear in mind that various cameras operate on different levels of voltages. Therefore, ensure the voltage and camera specifications match before use. Others require a direct connection, while others must go through a BEC converter.
How to Connect FPV Camera to My Phone?
Sometimes, you have no access to a remote controller for your FPV camera drone. But, worry not.
Your android phone can efficiently work as a monitor for your FPV drone. Here’s an illustration of how you can convert your phone into an FPV monitor.
What you need;
- Android phone
- FPViewer from Playstore
- USB Video Capture Adapter
- OTG Micro To USB Adapter
- Put the OTG Adapter in the USB Video Adapter. Ensure your smartphone is OTG compatible.
- Use the Video Adapter to insert in the Micro USB Port of your android phone.
- Connect both the USB Video Adapter and the FPV Receiver. You choose to use yellow or the black plug for the video signal.
The white and red plugs are for the audio signal. Go ahead and connect the FPV receiver and the battery. But, ensure the frequency of the FPV receiver and transmitter are the same.
- Download the FPViewer App, then open and connect it to the drone.
With the video signal now on your smartphone, you can choose to work using the fullscreen or two screens, the virtual reality goggle mode. Better still, you have the option to record the video signal using your phone.
Can You Fly an FPV Camera Drone Without Using The Goggles?
Aside from the goggles, you can also use a monitor. However, the goggles and monitor don’t work with the FPV application. Besides, using FPV goggles brings the whole experience to a new level.
How Fast Do FPV Racing Drones Go?
Typically, the racing drone has a legal speed limit of 100mph. But a pro pilot can fly them faster, reaching up to 120mph. Plus, the world record is 179mph.
How Much Is A FPV Drone?
The Ready-to-Fly models for beginners are as low as $200, while the advanced models go for $1000.
So, what is FPV camera technology in drones and best uses? We’re confident the guide above leaves no chance for assumption and cluelessness.
FPV camera drones are becoming more popular by the day. People use them to enjoy drone racing and even get an up-close view of the fantastic scenery from above.
Besides, using the FPV technology is simple. You need a good drone with a receiver to transmit real-time events using a monitor or FPV goggles. With the FPV system running even in your android phone as the monitor, you can use it for various functions. Have fun!