Connex Prosight is one of the first HD solutions for FPV flying and racing. Is it the future of drone racing.. maybe? Let’s find out in this review.
Being in this hobby, we are constantly building quads, it depletes our funds faster than our wife/girlfriend/partner could ask “You bought another drone!?”
The Prosight system costs US$500-$700 depends on the regional version. The kit includes a camera, video transmitter, and a video receiver.
Yes, the system is expensive as hell. In conparison to analog FPV system, currently even with a high-end setup would cost under just $200.
How to Use The Transmitter and Receiver
The Prosight HD receiver can pair up with any Prosight HD transmitter and it’s actually the receiver that commands the transmitter what frequency and power it should output (2-way communication)
The OSD menu can be accessed via a little button on the side of the receiver and you can see all setup options directly in the screen while operating the buttons on the receiver.
You can also connect to the receiver via bluetooth using your mobile phone and change settings that way.
- Status – In this menu you can see what transmitters you have paired, serial numbers and fw versions
- Regional RF – You can change the type of radio frequency based on your current region (for example in the US region you can choose FCC or HAM under this menu, but you can’t select RF of another region)
- Power alerts – Where you can select the battery type you are using
- OSD / Where you can change the various ways to display OSD (Regular/Race/None)
- Camera / Where you can change the camera quality settings (High Quality/High Performance/Flip)
- Bluetooth / Bluetooth options to connet the receiver to your mobile phone
- Frequency Mode / To manage frequencies
BEWARE!!! If you are buying the standalone version RECEIVER (not transmitter), make sure they are set for your country region.
I purchased mine from Hobbyking, which misinformed me in their product description and I ended up getting the one for US region that CANNOT BE CHANGED. There is no option whatsoever to choose region.
Here are the regional frequency specifications:
- US and Canada: FCC & HAM
- EU: Indoor & SRD
- Australia: Indoor & Outdoor
- Japan: ATV
- Korea: Outdoor
- China: Indoor
Notes for specific regional settings:
- SRD regulation: Max transmit power 25mW
- HAM regulation: Max transmit power 200mW
- Other regional settings: Max transmit power 200mW
No Parts Support
As if the receiver lock-down wasn’t bad enough, there is also lack of parts support for your camera. If you happen to break the plastic holder for the camera, then you are out of luck. I contacted Connex customer support and they told me to contact the reseller instead.
The seller of course, told me that Connex didn’t provide them with any spare parts. So if I wanted to resolve the issue with my broken plastic camera holder, I would basically have to
- DIY Fix
- Buy a new camera that costs $100
- Get a friend to design the mount and 3D print it for me
Since I don’t have $100 to waste for just a broken little piece of plastic nor any friends, I had to go and fix it myself.
EDIT: At the time of this article release, Hobbyking now has a few spare parts available, such as antennas, lens and cables. Interestingly this happened just after I nagged them over chat!
Transmission and Quality
Who designed this
shark whale tail antenna mount?!
If you have any love for your money, remove the antennas from this monstrosity as soon as you can, and place them in safer places away from getting smashed into the ground at high speed. I put mine directly in the arms and I haven’t noticed any significant signal degradation. (I am using plastic frame so it doesn’t block signal like carbon fibre does)
The system really shines when using the setting “Best Quality” (you can find this under camera options in the OSD menu).
Unfortunately a little amount of lag is noticeable. I could still fly with it even through trees and racing. But there is enough delay to hold you back and you wouldn’t be able to fly as fast as you normally could. It’s kind of hard to explain, the best example I can come up with would be like flying with a GoPro as your FPV camera (but maybe a tad faster).
To minimize the latency, we can use the other setting called Best Performance. With this option I didn’t notice any lag whatsoever. It runs amazingly smooth but there are some disadvantages that come with it.
The quality of the image is reduced drastically and it feels more like an analog system than a HD system. Also the image looks much darker than in High Quality. In a well lit environment the image still looks nice but if you are flying under cloudy weather or late in the day you will struggle to justify why you spent so much $$ in this product.
Low Light Handling
Speaking of light conditions, the camera doesn’t handle low light that well.
On the day I was testing it, the image got increasingly darker as we were approaching sunset. After sunset I only had only a few more minutes of proper flying until it was too dark to fly well in proximity.
The “Good” Stuff
The symptoms of weak signal appear differently between analog and digital systems.
Are you getting tired of static and snowy screens when you fly behind a tree? Those days are gone with ProSight, the image stays clear!
Patching occurs if signal is getting super low, and also with a digital system a new monster arises. That monster is: You either have signal, or you don’t at all! (almost like 0 or 1 like digital signal) :)
I really wish that Connex could up their game.
- the price is too high
- lack of availability of spare parts (and please provide better support!)
- they need to work on the image quality at low light
- the option to change regions in their system
- a broader setup possibility for advanced users
- make it smaller and more durable
- reduce lag in HD mode
As it is now, I’m sure some people would buy into the system and use it. But I doubt everyone will be fully satisfied or WOW’d by what it brings for Drone racing.
Enjoy the full video review! It’s long but thorough :D
Update Mar 2017 – Hurray!
Connex Prosight has recently had a massive upgrade which intended to fix some of the issues described before in this article.
I contacted them to know more about these updates and not only did they clarified me on my questions but they assured me they will keep on improving the system on a regular basis
Firstly – A new mode has been added called H+
H+ is an in-between mode from HP (High Performance) and HQ (High Quality).
This new mode takes more advantage of the qualities of the current camera by increasing the quality from the High Performance mode while still keeping the same latency.
The quality is quite noticeable, especially when you are in poor light conditions.
This new mode requires a new specific 1.4mm lens to replace the current HD camera lens.
If you don’t replace it you will see everything zoomed in.
This does mean that if you want to alternate in between modes you will need to change the lens back and forth but … why would you really?
The H+ quality is more than enough to race and be able to see everything. Think of it as an upgrade :)
I also noticed a slight improvement in the HQ latency which now seems slightly better, but unfortunately once you start racing like a pro you will definitly notice it :)
Secondly – Night modes have been added
The new firmware uses the digital camera capabilities to increase picture brightness making it easier to fly in darker places. I don’t feel the need of using it indoors in a well lit location, but it definitely improved my dusk flying capabilities a lot, making it now possible to actually see bigger branches in the dark.
There are two modes added under camera settings named Medium and High. I tend to use medium most in low light conditions and it seems to work well.
In an attempt to get some unbiased opinions I gathered a few beginner pilots that had never flown Connex before and had them fly a lipo in my regular field.
Here is their experience:
Author: SeekND (Youtube)