Dom HD v2
Where? Most retailers
So, I've been meaning to upgrade my goggles for a while now - I currently running Attitude V1's. I purchased them around 2 years ago now, and they've been absolutely awesome - the perfect FoV for me (higher than Dom V2's), and the picture quality is good. The only thing I really felt I lacked were two things:
- The ability to record in-flight footage via DVR. This was a bit of a killer for me, it becomes more and more useful as I get more into racing, I have the Shrike which will not easily fit a GoPro (it will fit one if you adapt it to or make a mount that works on the top plate) - but for now, it's not an option. It also means I don't need to carry my groundstation around with me just to record some poor quality footage onto an SD Card :)
- Receiver module - again another important one. I plan to run lower video frequencies for some of my other RC stuff (planes), and in order to do that I either need to upgrade my ground station Receiver, or upgrade the goggles.
The 2 items above were enough (and let's face it, who doesn't love shiny new things?) to consider new goggles. Now, I'd watched the reviews of both the Dominator V3 and the Dominator HD V2's by Team-Legit, where they had noted the new V3's (which would be my immediate upgrade choice) were in actual fact running 16:9 screens, so when you watch video from any normal feed it is actually horizontally stretched to fill the screen (fpv cameras are normally 4:3). This was a severe let down, because the V3's are priced well, but also seemed the most logical choice. Nevermind, the HD V2's are only near twice the price which is a bit of a sting when you consider the products really should be the other way around.
So anyway, rant over, a few days worth of selling off gear I no longer use (thanks guys), I had most of the funds to buy them. I seemed to have sold them at the right time, as they had just came back into stock at HobbyKing, after the first batch sold out nearly instantly. I actually nearly bought them in the first batch, but I was a day too late, so that ended that pretty promptly. A couple of very long weeks later they had finally arrived. Sadly, I haven't actually managed to get any flying in apart from 1 test flight ending 20 seconds later as I discovered a small problem with my Shrike setup, so I can't give a full review on them, but I can go over what's in the packaging and initial thoughts.
Whats in the box?
So, as most of you are probably aware (and if you aren't then you are in for a treat, or so Fatshark thought), the HD V2's come with a pair of Fatshark branded pants. I'm not entirely sure what the idea of this was, I'd of preferred a head tracker module, or the receiver module, but you can't have it all. :)
In the packaging are the usual accessories you would expect to find to be able to connect your goggles up to whatever you desire - A mini-HDMI cable, a couple of adapters and the normal AV connector you find on all the other goggles. There's also the usual cleaning micro-fibre thing, useful for keeping the lenses protected from the battery while transporting them in the box.
Here we are with my current choice of receiver - the NexwaveRF 24 channel receiver. It's not really my first choice, but it was cheap - so that was that. It supports Boscam and Fatshark bands which are my primary uses - so that was good enough for me. This version of it does not support RaceBand, but neither do my video transmitters, so it's not a big issue currently.
I did also try the TBS Dominator Module, after picking one up secondhand off of eBay. Again, this is one of the older ones, so it doesn't support RaceBand, but it is full 32 channel otherwise. Sadly, despite me reading up on it, I had completely forgot it works absolutely pants with Band F - Fatshark. The video for me just flickers constantly, as if it's a PAL/NTSC issue, so it's completely useless. This will go back on eBay as for me, the Fatshark and Boscam bands are key for racing here in the UK. You can also see I've paired it with a VAS Mad Mushroom - the antenna seems good and does the job, plus there's no chance it'll be going on my quad after I destroyed my VAS Airscrew after only a few flights (again another rant, but I'll leave that for another day).
If you have read up at all on the Fatshark Dominator HD V2's you will know there are still some issues with them, that completely plagued the V1's. There are many reports (particularly on RCGroups) of blurriness of the screens for people well within the recommended IPD range, with lengthy discussions about how/why Fatshark released a product seemingly so broke. A week or so after the initial upset some people started trying the Diopter kits, in the hope it would cure the blurriness. It looks like it has for most people, but it doesn't for everyone, so I guess that very much depends on your facial structure, but also your current eye prescription required.
Having known about the diopter issue from the start (and still seemingly wanting them - again "oooh shiny new things") - I had made sure I ordered the diopter set well in advance. Sadly, I also suffered the same issue with mine - due to the weather at current not being "flyable weather" due to immense rain and wind, I'm left to testing by plugging them into my PC via HDMI. Straight away I could see the blurriness people are reporting. I put the -2 diopters in as recommended (my eyes are L0.0 and R-0.5 so not bad really), but sadly there is still some blurriness towards the edges, particularly in my right eye and to the right-hand side of the screen. Using the IPD sliders helps to some degree, but it really just moves the focus around so if the right-hand side is now able to be focused on, it impacts on the left side.
After playing around a bit I think I have the goggles in a usable state, where the IPD sliders I think are adjusted as well as I can to make the center as sharp as possible, they do seem like they will be OK for flying. As I say, I only got to test around 20 seconds before my video transmitter cut out (and I then spent 15 mins looking for the quad), but the picture as a whole seemed sharper, with better colours than the Attitude V1's. I used to suffer from edge blurryness on the my old goggles, so I am kind of used to it to some degree, I just need to work out if it is better or not.
As for the rest of the other goggle improvements - they are very welcomed, I love having a DVR (even though I keep pressing the wrong buttons), and having the faceplace seems like a really nice addition, though I haven't had to use it yet. Time will tell if the blurriness is manageable or whether they will be sold, but initial thoughts are I think they will most likely stay.
On another note, I'm really itching to make some more videos - but so far I've not been able to due to failing quads, weather, or family commitments. My filming quad aka ZMR250 has had a transplant into a new prototype frame I'm testing for some people along with some other top pilots in the UK, however I've noticed all 8 of my Cobra motors are so out of balance they are causing huge vibration issues. So currently I'm waiting on new motors for that. Once they arrive, I will have a video up as soon as I can. Plus, I have loads of shiny new HQProp sizes to test for all 3 quads in my fleet :). More on that in the next post.