With the DJI FPV, can you take photos?

The DJI FPV is a popular drone for beginner drone enthusiasts to fly in first-person view (FPV) mode. The FPV drone has incredible speed and power and is flown using the DJI FPV goggles version 2. However, you can also use the DJI FPV as a camera and video drone.

You can take photos with the DJI FPV by pressing the shutter button on the goggles or remote control. Press wants to take photos when in photo mode. The drone will take JPEG format photos up to a resolution of 3840×2160.

The drone has a wide field of view thanks to its lens, which makes flying in the first person very immersive. It also helps you capture very wide-angle drone videos and photos.

Whether a seasoned FPV pilot or a beginner, this drone offers you three intuitive flight modes to fly confidently and capture stunning aerial photos.

This article will go through everything you need to know about using the DJI FPV to take photos, including its limitations.

Camera and gimbal specs

Ultimately, the camera and the gimbal of a drone determine how well the photos turn out.

Here are all of the important specifications of the camera that you need to know about.

Camera

The DJI FPV takes photos that are 3840×2160 pixels in size.

This size is suitable for most drone pilots to capture noise-free photos for printing.

However, the camera is not as versatile as some other drones in the DJI range.

Spec FPV
Sensor1/2.3″ CMOS Effective pixels: 12 million
LensFOV: 150° 35mm Format Equivalent: 14.66 mm Aperture: f/2.8 Focus Mode: Fixed Focus Focus Range: 0.6 m to ∞
ISO Range100-12800  
Still Image Size3840×2160
Photo formatJPEG
Still Photography ModesSingle shot
Color ProfileStandard, D-Cinelike

 

One of the amazing aspects of this drone is the massive field of view. For example, the DJI Mavic Air 2 can only cover up to 58% of the image compared to the DJI FPV field of view with the distortion correction setting turned on.

Some issues with the camera

Compared to other drones in the DJI range, the FPV drone has some issues with capturing photos and videos.

People have noticed that there are some particularly major flaws if you are looking to use this drone for professional purposes.

These include:

  • Shadow noise is more visible in the DJI FPV camera, especially in lowlight settings
  • The standard colour profile results in a very flat image, so most people prefer to keep their FPV drone in the D-Cinelike colour profile.
  • Distortion correction needs to be used to flatten the image and remove the propellers from the frame.

Some of these issues can be rectified by postponing your image, but a drone such as the DJI Mavic Air 2 will be much better for all of the abovementioned issues.

Gimbal

The gimbal of the drone is relatively disappointing stop

On most camera drones, you expect a minimum of two-axis stabilisation and the best cameras have a three axis stabilisation that will stabilise the drone on all axes. The stabilisation will result in a much smoother and noise-free image.

The DJI FPV only has a single access stabilisation which does not act as a gimbal but just a positioning of the camera. It uses an electronic roll axis to smooth out the footage.

While taking a photo with this drone, you will need to stay as still as possible and ensure that you are not flying in gusty winds.

Gusty winds will easily blur the image of this drone.

Here are all of the specifications of the DJI FPV gimbal.

SpecDJI FPV
StabilisationSingle-axis (tilt), electronic roll axis
Mechanical RangeTilt: -65° to 70°
Max Controllable Speed (tilt)60°/s
Controllable RangeTilt: -50° to 58°

 

You’ll notice in the above table that the controllable range is only between -50 and 58°. This is a lot narrower than the typical range of a camera drone, and that is because this drone is primarily used for racing and FPV flying.

If you want shots that enable you to build to look straight down, this drone will not be able to provide that.

Looking at a drone that has a -90° range of motion will allow you to take downward-facing photos. And in my experience, those are some of the most spectacular photos you can take with a drone.

Can DJI FPV shoot RAW?

The DJI FPV cannot shoot in raw mode. The drone can only shoot in JPEG format. You can get a lot of compression artefacts, and the image is harder to colour grade in postproduction.

This fact is not very useful for professional or serious photographers who want to take photos with the DJI FPV drone.

Are FPV drones good for photography?

In general, FPV drones are good for photography but offer some limitations. Choosing a drone with better Gimbal stabilisation and range will help you take better photos.

FPV drones are designed for a fixed camera forward-facing view as if you are the drone’s pilot. Because you view the first-person live video stream through goggles, it is much harder to frame shots and control the drone for photography purposes.

FPV drones are built for excitement and not necessarily creativity.

Tips for taking photos with the DJI FPV

If you want to take awesome photos with the DJI FPV drone, here are some ways to improve your photography so that you can easily manipulate the photo in postproduction.

Consider strapping an action camera on top

one of the biggest drawbacks to any FPV drone is the camera quality.

The camera of an FPV drone is designed to stream video rather than take photos. Typically, there is a fixed gimbal and the camera only points forward. Or it has a very limited range of motion.

If you want to take some incredible photos using the DJI FPV drone, you could consider strapping an action camera on top of the drone.

By using a go pro, Sony action camp, or another action camera of your choice, you can easily increase the quality of the photos that you can take. You won’t be able to move the gimbal or position of the camera, but you can still get some incredible aerial footage that would be at a higher resolution and better colour profile.

Keep the drone as still as possible

One of the great things about the DJI FPV drone is that the motors are incredibly strong.

The motors can overcome any gusty winds or strong buffeting.

Choose a position where the drone is not affected badly by updraughts or other winds concentrated by geological formations.

Keeping the drone as still as possible and flying on very calm days will be one of the best ways to capture aerial footage free of smearing or ghost artefacts.

Important camera settings

Learn all of the important camera settings for the FPV drone.

Some of the most important camera settings for you to understand are:

  • resolution – always keep this at the highest four photos
  • white balance – the goal is to make the photo look as neutral as possible. Make the whites look as white as possible.
  • Iso settings – try to use the lowest iso setting as possible. Your goal is to try to use 100 as often as possible if the light allows.
  • Colour profile – people have found that with the DJI FPV it is better to use D-Cinelike colour profile as often as possible.

Wrapping up

This article has covered everything you need to know about taking photos with DJI FPV.

Even though the DJI FPV has a camera, it is not best suited to professional photos and videos. You will be much better off buying a drone dedicated to excellent cinematography and photos.

That said, if you have an DJI FPV you can take perfectly good photos as long as you understand the limitations and actively work towards limiting them using flight and software approaches.

You can definitely take incredible photos with the DJI FPV and playing about with all of the settings into you find the best ones for you will be part of the fun.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!