Buying a pair of FPV goggles can be a big investment, arguably the single most expensive single purchase you may make in this hobby. Having all the information to make the decision that best fits your needs is our goal. Here, we compare the latest from the Fat Shark line of FPV goggle.
What’s the Big Difference?
The big difference between the various Fat Shark FPV goggles are going to be the displays. While there are some smaller differences, this is generally the first thing any pilot looks at when choosing an FPV goggle. And to be honest, this is most important, because the displays are what you view your FPV experience through!
Field of View
Field of view is a term used quite a bit in photography and videography, often in relation to lenses. It tells the user how much of the world in front of the lens is able to be captured. But when putting something like a set of FPV goggles directly in front of your eyes, it tells you how much of your vision will be dedicated to viewing those screens. The typical human eye views the world in wide screen format, almost at a 16:9 ratio. The human eye binocular (both eyes) field of view is approximately 200° horizontal, and 75° vertical. However, most display field of view calculations are done with a diagonal field of view. When calculated out, this gives the human eye binocular field of view is approximately 213°.
This will give you a basis to understand FPV goggle display field of view. When your eyes are capable of viewing 213° and only 50° of that is taken up by goggle display, you start to understand what immersion in the FPV experience truly means. The area around that example 50° will be black inside the goggle.
Fat Shark FPV Goggle Differences
The Fat Shark HDO is the newest FPV goggle for the company and boasts several improvements over the previous generations. The largest of these improvements is inclusion of OLED displays, giving the pilot a better contrast ratio, richer colors, a faster refresh rate, and a crisp image. When compared to the LCD screens of previous generations, this a huge step forward in terms of picture fidelity. The analog resolution comes in at 960×720, the highest resolution of any goggle Fat Shark has produced. The field of view comes in at 37°, and while not the largest screen Fat Shark has utilized, it’s still a very usable size that doesn’t detract much from the immersion feeling. Plus, OSD readouts look fantastic in these goggles.
There are several other improvements that in the Fat Shark HDO that add to the value. An enhanced module power system is present, increasing the compatibility with the latest generation of modules. With the ImmersionRC Rapid Fire module and the Iftron Clear View module on the horizon, this is especially important. Automatic switching between the analog and HDMI sources is also present, making it more user friendly if you are utilizing different sources. When using HDMI input, the screen switches to a 1080p compliant resolution of 1024×800.
While many feel the improvements could have been a little more far reaching, make no mistake, these are classy FPV goggles.
The Fat Shark Dominator HD3 is the current generation of the Dominator HD line. The Fat Shark HD3 has SVGA LCD displays, unlike the OLED screens in the HDO, require a backlight. This cuts down on the contrast ratio, giving you less defined blacks and whites. Keep in mind however, this is not a detrimental aspect of these FPV goggles, just a different technology. The resolution of the screens comes in at 800×600, and when combined with a field of view of 42°, gives a very comfortable, yet immersive feel.
In analog mode, the Fat Shark Dominator HD3 uses a 4:3 screen ratio, however in HDMI source mode, they switch to a 16:9 ratio. These were the first goggle from Fat Shark capable of this ability to switch, making them awesome for use in simulators, or if you are lucky enough to have a ConnexHD or similar system.
The Fat Shark Dominator V3 is the sister goggle to the HD3. The primary difference between to two are the displays, offering a WVGA LCD display, with a 16:9 ratio. The field of view is the smallest of the group here, coming in at 30°. The display ratio is 800×600, so you get the same pixel width as the Fat Shark Dominator HD3, but not the height. These goggles are meant to take advantage of the ever more popular wide screen format cameras that have come to the market, such as the RunCam Eagle 2 FPV Camera. If you are using a 4:3 ratio camera, the image will stretch to fit and may take some time to adjust to. The Fat Shark Dominator V3, due to its 16:9 native ratio, works great when paired with your PC for simulators.
Fat Shark Dominator HD2
The Fat Shark Dominator HD2 holds a place in the heart of many FPV pilots. The biggest difference between these and all the other FPV goggles here is the massive field of view of 50°. Many pilots love the insanely immersive feel that the huge displays offer, as it has been the biggest screen Fat Shark has ever put into an FPV goggle before or since. However; this display is not without issues, as many pilots report blurry edges due to the large field of view. One of the fixes for this issue is to use a set of diopters in the goggle to refocus the optics slightly. The screen resolution of the HD2 comes in at 800×600 with at SVGA LCD display.
The Fat Shark Dominator HD2 was also the first to come with a upgraded power system for the DVR unit. In previous models, if there was a recording in progress, and the power plug was pulled, the recording would not save. With the upgraded DVR power system, they would be able to save the recording before powering down. This was a huge step forward for the DVR units, and due to this great innovation, Fat Shark started providing the upgraded DVR units separately for older generations of goggles.
While the Fat Shark Dominator HD2 line is officially discontinued, you can find them for sale from pilots looking to move to a new set of FPV goggle. Make sure they are fully functional before you purchase though!
What are the Similarities?
While we’ve covered how all these versions of Fat Shark’s FPV goggles differ, they all share a group of common features. These FPV goggles all share the same shell, making parts fairly interchangeable between them, and leading to similar feature sets. Below is a chart of these common features, providing more in depth information to help with your purchase.
- IPD Adjustment: 59 to 69 mm
- Optional Diopter: -2,-4,-6
- NTSC/PAL Auto Selecting
- Side/Side 3D (Except for HDO)
- Stereo Audio
- Power Supply: 7-13 V Input (2S or 3S)
- Video Receiver: Modular via Module Bay
- Head Tracker: Modular (Sold Seperately)
- DVR: Analog only
- DVR Auto Save on Power Loss
- MicroSD Card Support for DVR
- DVR File Playback
Flying with Fat Shark
Through my various flights with the different models of FPV goggles offered by Fat Shark, you really do start to notice the field of view. I started with the Dominator HD2, my tried and true set that I have been flying with for years. I personally have no issues with blurry edges on the displays, so the immersion really shines through. With a 50° degree field of view, the large screens lend themselves well to freestyle flying.
Moving to the Dominator HD3, the field of view reduction isn’t super noticeable, but it takes me a second to adjust a little. The displays are of similar quality, so beyond having to look slightly harder for those ghost branches, they feel pretty similar to the HD2. The pixel resolution is exactly the same as the HD2, so no quality is truly lost. I also notice that I do not move my eyes around the screen as much when looking at my OSD.
While the field of view when compared to the HD2 is much smaller, the detail really is what makes this FPV goggle a joy to fly. The OSD is crisp and clean, the colors are amazing, and I feel as if I am seeing things that I have not seen before through the goggles. Tree branches and leaves stand out, easily defined through the OLED displays. The images seem much smoother, and almost a relief to my eyes. Due to this detail, I find myself not really missing my HD2’s much at all.
Moving from the HDO FPV goggle to these, I find myself not truly liking the V3 nearly as much as the other three. First off, my image is stretched out, due to having a 4:3 ratio camera on my multirotor. This does take a little adjustment, and during that adjustment my flying is not as smooth as normal. Due to the smaller field of view, picking out details is a little harder for me here. I’m sure with some sustained flying, I would adapt, but they really wouldn’t be my first choice.
What the Best Fat Shark FPV Goggle?
Remember, a set of FPV goggles are a personal choice, and what works for you may not work for everyone. Borrow a pair from a friend or fellow pilot, make sure they give you the experience you are looking for!