Dizzying videos of wingsuit pilots, followed by motocross riders, pans of drifting cars - all of this was a little more high-octane than usual DJI drone launch. In fact, it seemed almost indistinguishable from annual de GoPro real highlights .
This is no accident. GoPro and DJI have a common history that has seen their histories intertwine over the years - and the DJI FPV seems to be the closest thing to an aerial GoPro that the Chinese drone king has made.until now.
The DJI FPV (left) and the GoPro Karma (right). (Image credit: DJI)
A quick 'first person ' drone view deliveredWith a pair of video goggles that give you a live video feed from the sky, the DJI FPV isn't just designed for filming action sports - the whole flight experience is, like drones from racing, arguably an action-themed hobby in itself, although it is more likely to endanger trees than your own limbs.
In that sense, the DJI FPV looks like the drone that the hapless GoPro Karma (pictured with the DJI FPV above), which launched in 2016, should have been. GoPro has always marketed action cameras like the GoPro Hero 9 Black as the perfect accessory for extreme sports, although most of us are more likely to fly economy class wearing a wingsuit.
And if the discussions between the action cam giant and a newbie DJI had turned out differently thereA few years ago, the DJI FPV could well have arrived sporting a GoPro logo - or at least had a little more competition in the beginner FPV drone space it is trying to conquer.
In the early 2010s, GoPro was flying, phorically speaking (in terms of sales of action cameras, at least) and DJI was an unknown drone maker with a promising drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) called the DJI Phantom.
This first-gen drone didn't have its own camera, but it was GoPros compatible, so it made sense for DJI and GoPro to discuss the collaboration on a drone. As DJI Founder and CEO Frank Wang revealed in a 2015 interview with Forbes , the two companies " wanted to make a product together for GoPro to sell, but the negotiation was never successful ".
The The problem, according to DJI's Wang, was that GoPro “treated us like the original equipment manufacturers.” So, with DJI “not wanting to be someone else's accessory,” the two companies split up. are separated - before colliding head-on when GoPro launched the hapless GoPro Karma late 2016.
The GoPro Karma drone (above) was grounded after its unfortunate launch in 2016. (Image credit: GoPro)
Leaving aside the delicious irony of this product name, at least from DJI's point of view, GoPro ' s the decision to make a drone certainly made sense (and arguably still does); after all, these flying cameras were increasingly used at the same action sports events as the ground cameras. like his produit lighthouse of the time GoPro Hero 4 .
Unfortunately, Karma has been a disaster. Shortly after launch, GoPro was forced to issue a recall after battery issues caused power outages during the flight of some models. Inevitably, this meant that GoPro's attempt to give its cameras an aerial platform ended up bombing harder than Wile E. Coyote.
(Image credit: DJI)
We don't yet know what problems could befall the DJI FPV - it comes with limitations which mean it's unlikely to match the widespread popularity of something like the DJI Mavic Air 2 . For example, you are legally forced to have an observer or 'spotter ' with you when flying FPV drones, due to video goggles means you cannot maintain line of sight with the drone, which mitigates the 'The new model's pick-up-and-play appeal.
Butthere's no doubt that the concept of an affordable 87mph drone that records 4K / 60p video and makes you feel like a fearless base rider has GoPro written all over the place - and feels like the natural evolution of action cameras somewhat into society's set.
FPV drones existed long before the GoPro Karma was launched, but they have largely been an amateur niche for DIYers and welders - until now.
The DJI FPV is unique in that it combines the speed and agility of a racing drone with the powers and user-friendliness of movie-making. -the user-friendliness of models such as DJIMini 2 and DJI Mavic Air 2 . It's also trying to bring extreme air sports to a new audience - again that's why it looks like a GoPro-style game.
The earliest Hero action cameras were taken from amateur beginnings to create a brand-new camera niche for themselves. But as GoPro found when creating the Karma, drones are another level of complexity - and the DJI FPV is far from a guaranteed home run.
(Image credit: DJI) figcaption >
Besides the prospect of high speed crashes (DJI sells a lot of aftermarket parts), the DJI FPV also faces the potential danger of not really satisfying anyone. Yes, it has a top speed of 87 mph and can accelerate from 0-62mph in just two seconds, but it can't reach the top speeds of 120mph of homemade flying machines seen in professional racing leagues; and at 795g, it's way too heavy for racers. hardcore drones.
And yet the DJI FPV also falls short of some of the company's Mavic models when it comes to capturing aerials.s high quality footage. Its relatively small 1 / 2.3-inch CMOS sensor is more in the realm of small aviators as the target DJI Mini 2 , rather than the DJI Mavic 2 Pro , and you don't get any of the smart flight modes, like QuickShots or subject tracking, that have made DJI drones user-friendly aerial filming companions.
(Image credit: DJI) figcaption >
What you get, however, is RockSteady image stabilization from DJI Osmo Action to help you keep your videos smooth. Would GoPro's HyperSmooth stabilization be ideal for an FPV drone? Most definitely - in fact, many affordable FPV drones of today, like the Shendrones Squirt , are designed to be run by GoPros for this very reason.
What this all means is that, rather than really satisfying drone racers or aerial filmmakers, the DJI FPV is more of a daring attempt to spark mainstream demand for a new pass. time - one this simply involves flying a drone for fun. Whether DJI will be able to give 'ready to fly' FPV drones 'their GoPro Hero moment is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: now is too late for GoPro to play catch-up.
Land vs air
The history of GoPro can be closely linked to that of DJI and FPV drones - it 'C is often the camera choice for FPV hobbyist kits - but once he decided to go it alone with the development of Karma, there was never any real chance of future drones like a GoPro FPV.
In a fairly frank interview with Mashable In 2018 GoPro CEO Nick Woodman admitted that the action camera giant was simply underestimating time and effort. 'money needed to produce drones - and that it was better to put that energy into its main cash cow, the GoPro Hero series.
This decision has certainly paid off, as of the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the action cameras rediscovered their mojo and, powered by great features like GoPro's HyperSmooth stabilization, got a second life which ultimately led to the awesome GoPro Hero 9 Black . In the process, GoPro even fended off the threat of DJI Osmo Action .
(Image credit: DJI)
But despite all its own, it's hard not to imagine an alternate timeline where GoPro collaborated withDJI in those early days, or managed to develop their own FPV system, which could have given us a serious alternative to DJI FPV - or at least given first - No one sees drones more appealing.
Instead, the DJI FPV will take off with no real competition - and although the so far lukewarm reception of VR headsets suggests it could face a challenge of becoming something more than a doghouse and a little expensive toy, we certainly can't wait to wear these glasses and escape the pandemic by flying like an eagle.
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