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Guide to FPV Drone Systems: Quadcopters, Goggles, Cameras, Transmitters, and Simulators

Updated With New Drone Models and Accessories for 2019

Note: Fly safely and responsibly, folks. Never flown before? Learn to fly for free over here. Need to get your FAA commercial drone certificate? Start studying over here.

Flying an FPV (first person view) drone is an otherworldly experience.

Before now, only in movies and video games could most people experience a bird’s-eye view or race through obstacles at breakneck speeds.

Thanks to FPV quadcopters, hexacopters, and other multirotors, anyone with enough flying skill to maneuver a drone can now have this experience.

When most people think ‘FPV drone system,’ they think about FPV racing.

This new and rapidly growing sport is getting commercialized by organizations like the Drone Racing League, DR1 Racing, and the U.S. Drone Racing Association.

And rightly so. It’s awesome!

Want to skip the details and go straight to our list of recommended FPV drones, goggles, cameras, and transmitters? You got it:

FPV racing makes for an excellent spectator sport. Live attendees can either watch the drones themselves, or they can set a pair of goggles or an LCD monitor to the right channel see what the drones are seeing.

TV stations can also stream live racing events to millions of homes, bars, and restaurants.

Then there’s the hobby side of FPV drones.

Pilots can have a ton of fun getting views, photos, and videos of objects and landscapes they never could have gotten before.

FPV drones can also aid search and rescue, as emergency personnel can eliminate the risk of human harm while scouting dangerous areas.

Finally, there’s the ever-expanding (and lucrative) commercial side to FPV.

Professional pilots can shoot expert aerial photos and videos to be turned into marketing materials, maps and 3D models, and much more.

First person view multirotor capabilities have blown the doors wide open to harness drone technology even further in society.

This guide gives drone pilots a crash course on the FPV side of drone flight. We made sure to include what FPV drone flying is, how it works, and some of the best equipment to get started.

If you’re new to the FPV world or have just started getting your feet wet, we suggest reading the entire article.

We organized this guide by the following concepts.

  • Helpful Definitions
  • How FPV Racing Works
  • Racing Drones (ready to fly)
  • FPV Quadcopters for Aerial Photo/Video (ready to fly)
  • FPV Cameras
  • FPV Goggles
  • Transmitters
  • Simulators
  • Other FPV Options to Check Out
  • Further Reading

Happy flying!



FPV (first person view): Using a screen, monitor, or goggles to view what your multirotor’s camera is seeing in real time.

Line of Sight (LoS): Being able to physically see your drone as you’re piloting it.

FPV racing: A rapidly growing sport in which pilots race small quadcopters around a predetermined track.

RTF (ready to fly) racing drones: Drones made for FPV racing that require no additional assembly.

DIY racing drones: A homemade do-it-yourself racing drone.

FPV camera: A special camera used for first-person-view racing, piloting, photography, or videography.

FPV goggles: A special set of goggles used to view what the multirotor’s camera is seeing in real time.

Head tracking: An FPV goggle mod that allows you to adjust your camera’s angle mid-flight by tilting your head.

Interpupillary distance: Internal goggle lens distance from the center of your pupils.

LCD monitor: A screen, usually attached to the controller, used to view what a multirotor’s camera is seeing. Usually used instead of goggles.

Transmitter: Relays the camera’s feed to the receiver.

Receiver: Accepts the camera’s feed and relays it to your screen/goggles of choice.

Frequency: The radio frequency FPV equipment runs on. Can be brand-dependent. Allows for multiple channels so pilots don’t interfere with each other.

FPV system: The entire drone rig, from the multirotor itself, to the connecting parts, to the controller and video display method.

On Screen Display (OSD): Gives you flight telemetry data (speed, altitude, battery life, etc) on your FPV display. See a full OSD guide here.

TVL (Resolution): The camera’s resolution, which helps determine video feed quality and clarity.

CCD camera type: Camera that uses a charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensor. Typically better for FPV.

CMOS camera type: Camera that uses a complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. Typically cheaper than CCD cameras, but not as good for FPV.

Video Latency: Lag in what your camera sees and when it transmits it to your screen/goggles. Can lead to inaccurate flight, racing maneuvers, and aerial shots.

Jello: Vibration in your video caused by the multirotor itself.

How FPV Racing Works

FPV racing is an exhilarating sport.

These quadcopters can fly up to 50mph miles per hour (or faster) through hoops, around trees, over bars, and just about any object.

The tracks are specifically set up to challenge each pilot’s skill set. Recreational tracks tend to be less complex, because the organizers usually don’t have the resources for a more intricate set up.

Or the pilots’ skill levels are lower.

Professional tracks can get extremely complex, causing pilots to make acrobat maneuvers to get around/through each obstacle.

The Types of FPV Drone Races

According to, FPV pilots currently have the option of 3 race types:

1. Rotorcross

The multirotors race through a course and are ranked in the order they cross the finish line (traditional racing).

2. Drag Race

A straight-line race between 2 or more multirotors over a short distance (usually 100m). This tests acceleration and top speed.

3. Time Trial

Tests how fast each multirotor can make it through the course.

How to Find Races

Check out these five resources to find drone racing events to join:

  2. The Drone Racing League
  3. U.S. Drone Racing Association Calendar
  4. Google: “your location + FPV drone race”

How to Join a Drone Racing Team

Just like NASCAR and other types of racing, pilots are broken up into teams for cohesion and scoring. Each pilot on a team typically uses similar equipment.

The Different Leagues and Championships Available

The Drone Racing League – The DRL season involves different races in which pilots accumulate points. Pilots with the highest number of points qualify for the World Championship.

MultiGP Drone Racing League – With chapters all over the world and events and classes for all types of FPV racers, MultiGP is leading the way in FPV racing and event management.

The World Drone Racing Championship – The 2016 Drone Worlds was held in Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. The event brought together pilots from 30 countries to compete on four courses and in six different events each day.

To find a recreational or professional drone league in your area, do a Google search for “your area + drone racing league” or “your area + recreational drone racing league.”


XDR220 RTF FPV Racing Drone

good for

FPV Racing

Force 1’s XDR220 comes with a light, extra durable, and bend-resistant carbon fiber frame, and was clearly designed with racing in mind.

The XDR220 fits every level of racing, as it can be tuned and modified overtime as you become a better pilot.  It is available as an RTF package, or you can get the kit separately and customize your own XDR220.

Check out our review of this kit for more on why we think this is one of the best options out there for FPV racing.


  • Ready-to-fly with modular design for quick crash recovery builds
  • Carbon fiber frame
  • Powerful brushless motors
  • Balance charger increases battery life
  • Fits every level of FPV racing


  • PREMIUM 5.8GHz FIRST PERSON VIEW (FPV)Remote Controller: FrSky Taranis X9D Plus (RTF Only)

Vortex 285 Racing Quad

good for

FPV Racing

The Vortex 285 Racing Quad from ImmersionRC is one of the top ready-to-fly FPV models out there.

Its 285 size is slightly bigger than the more common 250, but it’s still extremely fast.

This quadcopter is foldable for easy transport, and its frame is made out of durable carbon fiber and custom injected plastic.

The camera mount is tiltable, allowing you to get the right flight angle, and it can fit either an FPV camera or an HD one (like a GoPro).

The Vortex 285 also includes a full-graphic on-screen display and 5.8GHz video transmitter, making it compatible with any 5.8Ghz receiver.

This is an excellent RTF quadcopter for both beginner and intermediate racers.


  • Foldable design
  • Tiltable camera mount
  • Can hold an FPV camera or an HD one (like a GoPro)
  • Includes an on-screen display

Key Specs

  • Size: 285
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Transmitter Frequency: 5.8Ghz
  • Tranmitter Power: 350mW



battery life

10 Min

good for

FPV Racing

The ARRIS FPV 250 is one of the highest rated racing quadcopters on Amazon.

It’s made of durable carbon/glass fiber composited material to help it handle crashes and accidents. The drone is also equipped with a 700TVL camera that offers zero latency between what the drone sees and what you see.

And all parts are tested by the manufacturer and ready to fly. However, you will need to buy your own remote control and battery.

If you’re looking for a high-rated racing drone, check out the ARRIS FPV 250.


  • Made of carbon/glass fiber composited material
  • Comes with 700TVL camera


  • Size: 250
  • Weight: 13.6 ounces


Walkera Runner 250 Pro

battery life

12 Min

good for

FPV Racing

The Walkera Runner 250 is one of the most popular ready-to-fly FPV drones on the market.

This quadcopter features a carbon fiber frame that’s ultra-durable and crash resistant.

The Walkera 250 Pro is also simple to disassemble and reassemble. This allows pilots to customize its features and tune the rig.

This drone reaches speeds of up to 21-25 miles per hour, and the Runner 250 is equipped with an 800TVL HD camera for live FPV streaming.

If you’re looking to get into drone FPV racing, the Walkera Runner 250 is a solid start at a modest price.


  • Carbon fiber frame
  • Simple to assemble and disassemble
  • Reaches speeds up to 21-25 mph
  • Comes with 800TVL camera


  • Size: 250
  • Weight: 18.7 ounces (w/ battery)


DJI Spark


12MP Still Photos / 1080p/30 Video

battery life

16 Min

good for

FPV Flying / Hobbyists

The Spark is a selfie drone that takes off from the operator’s hand and automatically enters “Gesture Mode”, which lets users send it into the air and shoot a video with pre-defined flight paths, like circling, following, or filming from straight up.

With it’s gesture recognition and obstacle avoidance technology, it’s not an exaggeration to say that DJI’s Spark is probably the most user-friendly drone on the market.

If you want to fly longer distances with the Spark you have the option of using a smartphone app for flights over 100 yards away, or you can use a remote control (the Spark can fly a distance of 1.2 miles). The Intelligent Flight Modes available with more professional DJI drones—such as TapFly and ActiveTrack—can also be found on the Spark.

To fly in first person view with the Spark you can use your tablet or smartphone through the DJI GO app. You can then attach your device to your controller, which allows you to have it in front of you at all times.

You can also use FPV goggles (discussed later). To do this, you need to attach an adapter to your controller. Then, attach the HDMI cord from your goggles to the adapter.


The Spark comes with DJI’s new QuickShot mode, which automatically creates a 10-second video from the footage captured in your flight.

QuickShot allows you to avoid all the work needed to take raw footage and create a final video. Instead of taking your footage, uploading it, editing it, and then downloading it, QuickShot simply creates a video for you using your best shots.

Key Specs

  • Flight time/battery life: 16 minutes
  • Transmission distance: 1.2 miles
  • Speed: Up to 31 mph
  • VPS Range: 98 feet
  • Gimbal: 2 axis
  • Effective pixels: 12MP
  • Weight: .66 pounds (SUPER light)
  • Camera details: 1/2.3 Sensor Powerful Lens, 1080p resolution

U49W Blue Heron Wifi FPV Drone


720P HD

battery life

15 Min

good for

FPV Racing, Hobbyists

The U49W Blue Heron drone, boasts altitude-hold and a first-person-view (FPV) screen with Camera Live Video, so you can see exactly what the HD camera of your drone sees in real time.

It also comes with an extra battery to help you fly for even longer before having to charge, and a great 720p camera for clear HD pictures and live video.

Add to that it’s impressively long flight time of 15 minutes, and you’re looking at a great drone for beginners (or intermediate pilots, for that matter) at an inexpensive price.

Features & Specs

  • GET GREAT PICS & LIVE VIDEO VIA WI-FI DRONE FPV: Take great HD drone pics & live video w/ the 720p video drone camera
  • ONE OF OUR BEST DRONES FOR BEGINNERS: Use Alt. Hold for stable flight & the rubber-damping quadcopter drone camera to capture clear HD imagery
  • HEADLESS MODE, LOW-BATTERY & SIGNAL ALARMS: Headless Mode makes flight easy for drones with camera live video capability, & alarms alert you when it’s time to land
  • EXTRA-LONG FLIGHT TIME + EXTRA DRONE BATTERY & MOTORS: Stay in the air longer at up to 15 minutes per flight, and enjoy a bonus battery for even more fun between charges; we also include spare motors to keep you flying
  • 3 SPEED MODES & 1-KEY CONTROL MAKES FLYING EASY: Low-, medium- and high-speed settings plus 1-key takeoff and landing makes flying easy for new pilots

DJI Phantom 4


4K HD at 30 FPS

battery life

28 Min

good for

Professionals, FPV Flying

The DJI Phantom 4 is one of the top drones on the market right now.

It’s the fastest Phantom so far, capable of reaching top speeds of 45 miles per hour. It also gets an excellent flight time of 28 minutes — great for pro pilots to get the shots they need and minimize downtime.

The Phantom 4 also has a built-in camera that can record video at 4K, 2.7K, 1080p and 720p. But one of it’s most notable features is the obstacle avoidance system. The drone can intelligently position and maneuver itself around obstacles mid-flight.

Couple all of this with a Tap to Fly system, DJI’s reliability, and robust software, and you’ve got a tough drone to beat.


These extra parts are available for the DJI Phantom 4:

DJI Phantom 4 Carrying Case

PolarPro DJI Phantom 4 Camera Filters

DJI Phantom 4 Accessory Bundle

→ Extra DJI Phantom 4 Battery

DJI Phantom 4 Propeller Package

Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

DJI recently released the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian, which comes with a magnesium shell and anti-fingerprint coating, not to mention the super cool-looking matte-grey obsidian coloring.

Check it out:



You can buy the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian now on the DJI website.


  • Auto takeoff and auto return home
  • Obstable avoidance system
  • FPV capability
  • Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps and 12MP stills


  • Frequency: 2.4G
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 12.8 x 8.66 x 14.96 in
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Flying time: about 28 minutes
  • Speed: Up to 45 mph


Yuneec H520


4K / 2K / HD

battery life

25 Min

good for

Professionals, FPV Flying

If you haven’t heard of Yuneec, you’re missing out on some high-quality aerial camera platforms that may very well be the perfect fit for your recreational (or business) needs.

The Yuneec H520 is one of the most advanced aerial videography drones on the market. Most rigs of this quality cost $4,000-$10,000 or more.

The H520 sits at a more reachable price, at just under $2,000.

The H520 is equipped with six rotors, a 360-degree gimbal camera, and retractable landing gear with Yuneec’s standard of being ready out of the box, easy and safe to fly, with stunning Ultra HD 4K video and stills.

The H520 was built for both industrial use and ambitious professionals. It comes with a long focal-length lenses that allows the drone to fly at a greater distance from an object and data storage that may be shared instantly from the ST16S Ground Station or delivered directly in 4K/2K/HD video or 20Mp still images.

Also, flying in FPV with the H520 is super easy. Either use the 7-inch screen built into the controller, or simply connect your goggle’s HDMI cord to the controller’s HDMI port.

Key Specs

  • Remote Control: ST16S
  • Max Altitude: 500m
  • Max Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs (with battery, without gimbal)
  • Notable Attributes: Hexacopter = better redundancy, Obstacle Avoidance, 360-degree camera


AKK KC04 700VTL Camera + Transmitter

good for

FPV Racing

The AKK KC04 700VTL camera + transmitter system is one of the most inexpensive, highest rated FPV cameras on Amazon. At $28.99, the price is nearly unbeatable.

It comes with a 5.8Ghz transmitter (make sure your receiver is also 5.8Ghz), and the FPV camera features low power consumption and lightweight design, making it great for 250-sized quadcopters.

Specs & Features

  • 700TVL Resolution, 2.8mm Lens
  • An RTF FPV System for beginners
  • VTX has 5V output for camera, so there’s no need for an extra battery for the camera.
  • 5.8GHz 40CH FPV transmitter has double push buttons for easy changing CH and FR
  • Small size and light weight, suitable for all quadcopters and drones.

FatShark 900VTL WDR CCD FPV Camera

good for

FPV Racing

If you’ve read anything about FPV systems before, you’ve probably heard of Fat Shark.

Their 900VTL camera is on the pricier side, but it delivers high quality video.

At .3 ounces, it’s extremely lightweight and great for FPV racing. But you will need to couple it with a transmitter, receiver, and goggles or a monitor if you don’t have those items already.

(This is the case with most FPV cameras available.)


  • Frequency: 5.8Ghz
  • Weight: .2 ounces
  • Type: CMOS
  • Resolution: 900TVL
  • Mechanical:  25 X 27 X 12(lens) mm, 13.5g (plastic cased) + 5g/9g cable.
  • Resolution:  900 TVL*
  • Low light (0.08Lux/F1.2)

FatShark Dominator HD3 V3

good for

FPV Racing

Fat Shark’s Dominator HD3 V3 goggles come fully-featured with adjustable IPD, a modular design (allowing you to customize parts and add-ons), and high quality 800×600 resolution.

You can also attach the Trinity Head Tracker to allow you to adjust your camera’s angle mid-flight by tilting your head. Simply insert the module into a slot on the side of the goggles.


  • Compared to the Dominator HD2, it has reduced field of view to help with image sharpness.
  • HD3 ships with new lower profile Velcro backed (removable) faceplate foam for a more accommodating fit.
  • 4:3 in Analog signal; 16:9 in HD signal.


  • Resolution: 800×600 WVGA
  • High definition media interface
  • 720p Support

MD Group RC Toys FPV Goggles

good for

FPV Racing

Crazepony’s VR-D2 is an excellent pair of goggles, and a good fit for new pilots or pilots who are on a budget.

It’s resolution is solid at 800 x 480, and it features a full 5-inch screen to view your quadcopter’s flight, and a built-in DVR function for recording your flight.

It has got a built-in 5.8Ghz receiver (the antenna is 5.8Ghz as well), and it comes with padding for added comfort.

These goggles are worth a look if you’re on a budget or want a starter pair to try out.


  • 5-inch screen
  • Built-in 5.8Ghz receiver


  • Resolution: 800×480 WVGA

Boscam TS351 32Ch 5.8 Ghz 200mW Transmitter

good for

FPV Racing

Boscam TS351 transmitter runs on 5.8Ghz frequency, offers 32 channels, and is rated 600mW in power.

The 5.8Ghz frequency will make your connection a little jumpy if there are obstacles (like trees or buildings) in the way, but 600mW should be enough to make up for some of that.

For less than $30, this transmitter will at least get you up and running.


  • Frequency: 5.8Ghz
  • Power: 600mW
  • Weight: .7 ounces

Crazepony 5.8G 32Ch 25mW Transmitter

good for

FPV Racing

This Crazepony transmitter is similar to the one above (5.8Ghz, 32 channel, etc) except the power voltage is lower.

What this transmitter lacks in power it makes up for in weight. If you’re concerned about minimizing weight to maximize speed, this Crazepony transmitter is a solid buy.


  • Frequency: 5.8Ghz
  • Power: 25mW
  • Weight: 3.6 grams

DRL SIM 3.0 Simulator

Good For

FPV Racing

The DRL Simulator is the only drone racing sim that translates flying online into better flying in the real world. Available on Steam for $19.99, the revamped sim offers real-world drone physics, providing pilots with a 100% accurate FPV (First Person View) experience, made possible by dozens of physics models, science, and data. DRL collaborated on the sim updates with Professor Marilyn J. Smith and her team at the Georgia Institute of Technology to offer a hyper-realistic drone flying experience online. Together, they integrated true-to-life drone physics, incorporated advanced aerodynamics modeling capabilities, and tested the virtual drone experience to ensure it perfectly mirrored true flying scenarios.


The DRL Simulator provides players with a fully customizable drone racing experience to achieve a flight that’s right for them. Specific new elements include:

  • Advanced Drag Models:  Experience accurate drag data 1,000 times per second, ensuring the SIM flight matches a real-world flight based on your course.
  • Advanced Forward Ratio & True Speed: The DRL SIM determines accurate top speed based on the player’s selected drone weight, motor, and prop size. Users can select from over 45 drone frames to fly and thousands of bench tested components with real data curves to customize the simulation of air flow through the props and against the drone body, knowing they’ll fly the digital drone at the top speed that it can actually go in real life.
  • COG (Center of Gravity), Ground Effect, Yaw Effect, Battery Dynamics — The DRL SIM includes additional forces that impact drone flying in real life, such as gravity and turbulent air, that is felt when the drone is hovering at lower altitudes and low speeds. DRL incorporated sensor data from hundreds of test flights to ensure that basic drone response mechanisms, like yaw effect, will still exist in the DRL SIM.
  • Complete Customization Through Drone Designer: Players can create more than 2,000 power combinations and more than 120 million drone combinations by choosing from thousands of parts from real manufacturers. To design a drone that’s right for them, users can customize everything from the drone’s size, thrust, weight, and top speed to its skin, prop colors, and flags. Through the sim’s Community Tunes channel, players can also show off their swagged out drones for the world to see and rate.
  • Ultimate Race Course Map Maker: The Map Maker features more component and design options than any other sim in the world. Players can choose from up to 15 unique environments and pull in more than 140 different objects (like gates and obstacles) to design an ultimate three-dimensional race course. Plus, users can share their supercharged maps with their friends and race with others on countless custom tracks to test their skills.
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