First, we had cine cameras, then cine cameras with sound with a long boom arm that decapitated anyone within 3 meters. But then the video cassette came along, and we got the camcorder — a giant leap for mankind in filming and recording events.
We were all quite happy. But then an invention first looked at in the ’70s became a reality, and the DSLR camera became a video camera as well. High definition recording at 720p or 1080p made the camcorder archaic and left it way behind.
But you need sound, which means if you have great visuals you also now needed great audio to go with the visuals. Enter the microphone designed for the DSLR video camera. They are often called ‘Shotgun’ mics and are unidirectional, needing to be pointed at the subject to get results.
So let’s take a look at the best microphones for DSLR video camera and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 10 Best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera Reviews
- 1 Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
- 2 Rode VideoMicPro
- 3 Shure VP83F LensHopper
- 4 Canon Directional Microphone DM-E1
- 5 Sennheiser AVX Digital Wireless Microphone System
- 6 Audio-Technica Dynamic Microphone AT8004
- 7 Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone
- 8 Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for DSLR Cameras
- 9 Rode RodeLink FM Digital Wireless Filmmaker System
- 10 Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Microphone
- Best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera Buyer’s Guide
- But, what would we choose as the Best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera?
Top 10 Best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera Reviews
1 Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
The MKH416 from Sennheiser is a microphone that has been designed for location recording for TV, radio, and film. It is a shotgun microphone that has been manufactured with these applications in mind and is, therefore, most suited for working outdoors.
Because of this, it has a tough build. Its matt black all-metal body is rugged and is suitable for all difficult weather conditions. The RF condenser design gives immunity to moisture and humidity and offers low noise levels. RF technology will help to reduce any unwanted noise, allowing further improvements in low noise performance.
Cardioid taken to the hyper level…
The 416 is a compact microphone and gives superior directional control and reduces feedback. It will operate in two patterns. Firstly as a hyper-cardioid, when working with low and medium frequencies, and with a lobar pattern above 2 kHz.
This Sennheiser is a pressure gradient microphone. This means that both sides of the diaphragm are exposed to the sound, and therefore, the mic is responsive to the difference in pressure, or the gradient, between both sides of the membrane. Pressure gradient microphones have figure-8 characteristics.
The very low inherent self-noise in the microphone and its high sensitivity offer a product that excels in its range. Just what you would expect from a company like Sennheiser, Designed to deliver, it will give you a pro-level quality of sound. Go to a studio or a film set, and it is quite likely you will see it in action.
It is not an exaggeration to say it has become an industry-standard microphone, and it has been for some years now. There is a reason for that.
The price looks expensive, and to us mere mortals it is, and many will say ‘can I afford it to have it?’ If you are in the film and audio business, then maybe the question ought to be ‘can I afford not to have it?’.
It is a condenser mic so it will need phantom power.
2 Rode VideoMicPro
The Ride VideoMic Pro is a capsule condenser microphone, well known for giving quality results and will produce broadcast level audio performance with very low self-noise. It has been designed to work with DSLR cameras but also operates with camcorders.
Surrounding unwanted noises are reduced to an absolute minimum due to its super-cardioid design, leaving you and the mic to concentrate on receiving the sound generated by the subject. The noise that may be generated by the camera itself or the action of using it is also reduced by the built-in shock mounting system, to make sure your recordings are as clean as possible.
Further external noises in the vicinity of the recording are reduced by the integrated foam windscreen. And the connection to the camera itself is made through a 3.5mm jack.
Easy and comfortable to use…
Built to be compact and lightweight to make it easy and comfortable to use, it is powered by a 9v battery which should provide you with about 70 hours of usage.
Some quality onboard facilities have been included, with a two-step high pass filter and a three-position level control. Located on the rear of the microphone, they are easy to operate.
Adust to audio perfection…
The level settings are boosted as required. For loud sounds like rock bands -10dB attenuation for DSLR cameras the +20dB boost. Unwanted sounds are, therefore reduced by adjusting the input level.
Rode produce good efficient microphones that produce superb audio and this is a great example, making it easily one of the best microphones for DSLR video camera. Working near to the target sound will give you your best results, as against working at a distance when the sound reproduction may not be as defined.
3 Shure VP83F LensHopper
If we are going to be talking about manufacturers who make quality microphones, then very soon in the conversation the name of Shure will come up. It makes no difference in what medium they work; they always produce quality.
The VP83F lenshopper is a camera mounted shotgun condenser microphone for quality audio recordings. Whilst it’s prime function is to work with DSLR cameras, it can also operate with camcorders. And the highly directional polar pattern design will reduce the amount of unwanted noise, thus improving the quality of the finished product.
MicroSDHC cards supporting up to 32GB take the recording. These are WAV files at 24-bit/48kHz.
Reduce unwanted noise…
A Rycote Lyre shock system is used onboard to reduce any vibrations or unwanted noises caused by the operation of the camera. These to a certain extent, are inevitable in some environments, and so this facility adds greatly to the results achieved.
A 60Db gain range and also a low cut filter provide some added recording facility when recording in a variety of environments. The volume control gives you absolute control as it is adjustable in 1dB settings.
Shure is known in all their products, to manufacture tough and robust equipment, and this microphone shares that expertise. Typically, the design features that make their products built to last are present in the VP83F with metal construction. Tough and sturdy it may be, but it is still lightweight.
A stereo headphone output lets you monitor the audio, and Input is by 3.5mm detachable cable.
May need a wind muff…
A foam windscreen is included to help eradicate wind and other external noise that may be encountered in an outside recording environment. In very windy conditions it may need a wind muff which is not provided, but then all the best Microphones for DSLR video camera will need that.
There is a backlit LCD screen for the operations menu, which is clear, fully inclusive and makes the unit easy to use. This simplicity is assisted by the one-button recording operation. And ten hours of recording life are provided by two alkaline batteries.
At its price, it represents great value for money.
4 Canon Directional Microphone DM-E1
Canon is one of the foremost names in photographic equipment, but maybe not so at the forefront of recognition for their audio, so it will be interesting to see what they provide to add quality sound to their excellent visual products.
The DM-E1 gives you a lot more control than the ordinary Shotgun microphones. It does operate as a Shotgun, if that is what is required, and fulfills that function admirably. Extra sound recording options for control over the direction though, are given by switchable settings through 90 and 120 degrees. These are good functions and allow some different approaches to the recording of the target sound.
Adjust the angle of capture…
The variance options are interesting to take a little time to consider for people who may work in situations where there is a need for alternative filming and sound strategies. For example, the 120-degree setting will give you a wider field of sound capture and may be suitable for a full stage shot. Whereas the 90-degree setting will be used in a Shotgun style, aimed at a single target sound source, but will allow a small amount of surrounding content.
The 3.5mm socket will work with most cameras which have that feature and have a dedicated movie mode. The frequency range is 50 Hz to 16 kHz.
What’s in the box?
Canon has included a few extras, a built-in windscreen to eliminate most external sounds like wind, and there is a shock mount to reduce unwanted noise from camera operation. This best microphones for DSLR video camera operates from its own lithium cell battery, thus not draining the battery on the camera itself. There is a battery life status indicator, but it doesn’t give you a constant status.
5 Sennheiser AVX Digital Wireless Microphone System
With the AVX digital wireless microphone, Sennheiser has created an easy to use, compact system for videographers, video journalists, and vloggers that is dependable.
It has been designed and manufactured with simplicity in mind, trying to alleviate some of the time-consuming setup and adjustments that need to be made to get good audio. In doing this, they have not let the level of the quality of the recording suffer. They have simply made it self-configuring in certain areas.
The build is lightweight and easy to carry with you, and the bodypack transmitter has a solid chassis made from metal. The locking connector for the microphone makes sure that it does not become unattached at a vital moment, and there is a mute button. It includes displays for signal strength and battery life.
The receiver plugs straight into the XLR output of your camera and then rotates to move it out of the way, so it doesn’t impinge on any other equipment being used. The output level to the camera can be adjusted through an AF button on the receiver. The AVX switches off and automatically starts using phantom power.
Ready to shoot within seconds…
One of the most impressive features is that the best frequency in the 1.9 GHz band is found automatically as soon as you turn it on. A long hold on the Pair button on both receiver and transmitter will then link the two. Once the pairing is complete, the LED indicator will turn green, and it’s time to roll. Ready to shoot within seconds. It should be noted that the transmitter can only be paired with one receiver.
The unit is supplied with a ME 2-11 omnidirectional Lavalier microphone that is ideal for a wide variety of operations.
A real quality product giving a great performance. And easily one of the best microphones for DSLR video camera.
6 Audio-Technica Dynamic Microphone AT8004
The AT 8004 is a dynamic microphone with an omnidirectional range. This polar pattern means that it will include sound on the periphery of the main subject. In some circumstances, this is an advantage to the recording, giving it an ambient atmosphere. It may also be considered an advantage when working with inexperienced people, who tend to move around.
A Shotgun microphone may miss parts of the recording, but with this mic, all the sound will be picked up.
It is a tough, roadworthy mic that is made from metal and has a steel grille. From its design, it is clear that this microphone was designed to be handheld if necessary. This makes it ideally suited for outdoor broadcasts and on-location interviews. Audio-Technica is known for producing well-made equipment, and this is a good example.
Reduce handling noise…
To compensate for its handheld activities, Audio-Technica has incorporated a shock mounting system that helps to reduce handling noise. For best results, the target needs to be reasonably close, probably 3 to 5 feet distance, and it, therefore, does not lend itself to capturing sounds like crowd noise particularly well. So general sound recording at sporting events will not be its strong point.
However, interviews at sporting events where the main target is speaking over a background crowd noise would be a perfect example of how this mic will excel. In that scenario, the reproduction will be clear, and the results very good.
It is not an expensive mic even though it has some real quality and represents good value for money if its purpose fits your requirement.
7 Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone
Your first look at this mic and you can see it is built to do business. It’s metal housing clearly designed to sit atop a camera and be able to handle just about everything. Interestingly, it doesn’t feel like that when you first handle it, but your mind will soon be put to rest. Sennheiser does not make anything substandard.
This impression is given because it has been cleverly designed to be small and lightweight. It has to sit on top of a camera after all.
Practicality with high-quality sound…
Sennheiser has made an attempt to design a traveling microphone that will operate at a high level in any number of environments, and with a variety of cameras. From handheld video to larger professional models, the aim is practicality with a quality of sound.
Being mounted on a camera though has its potential drawbacks, and unwanted handling sounds is one. It is therefore fitted with a shock mount system to protect against unwanted handling noises. There is also a low cut filter, which whilst it will assist in removing light wind noise, will not be enough if the weather is particularly inclement. In strong high winds, you may still need a wind muff.
Great value for money…
It is comfortable working over short distances, or where the target source is further away, and there is a control switch for sensitivity. Controls are conveniently located on the side of the camera where there is also a battery condition light. The unit is powered by a single alkaline battery that will give you three hundred hours of use.
Compact, lightweight, and easy to use, and at the price great value for money. It is made in Germany.
8 Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for DSLR Cameras
Tascam in manufacturing this TM2X, have made a serious attempt at making a microphone that will perform a variety of functions. More on this later. But to really put this microphone on the wanted list, they have worked hard to make the operation as easy as possible. In essence, all you have to do is connect to the input jack on the camera. No batteries are required as it takes its power from the camera.
We mentioned a variety of functions. This is a microphone that will record in stereo to your camera’s input. Fitting directly on to your DSLR, it has a very effective swivel feature. This allows you to turn the mic up to 180 degrees on its axis, allowing you to record sounds coming from the direction of what is being filmed. Or in rotation to either side or even behind the target sound source.
If preferred or the situation demands, it can be fitted to a tripod.
Keep the noise down…
This microphone is designed to work in a variety of environments. Tascam recognizes that different venues will require a different set of operational requirements, and so as they expect the microphone to be used in the outdoors, they have built-in some features to alleviate the problems of external noise.
Onboard is a switchable low-cut filter that will help to reduce unwanted noise from the low frequencies. Wind and other external noises are suppressed somewhat, with a fur windscreen. And to prevent noise being picked up from the camera’s lens or other operational activity, there is a noise isolation arm.
This is a quality microphone able to operate at several levels and has no problem dealing with an SPL up to 112dB.
9 Rode RodeLink FM Digital Wireless Filmmaker System
Are you a DIY filmmaker, vlogger or videographer, and are looking for a digital wireless microphone system? Has it got to be easy to use but not going to cost the earth? Welcome to the Rodelink digital wireless filmmaker system. A simple plugin and record microphone arrangement that will deliver quality and a reliable sound.
The Rodelink is actually more than just a microphone. It is a complete kit of what you may need to begin recording audio for video wirelessly. The package includes an omnidirectional lavalier mic for hands-free speech, narration, and dialog. It also includes a bodypack transmitter and a camera mount receiver. The lavalier microphone produces a nicely balanced sound, with nice low frequencies and easy tops.
Paired before they arrive…
To make setup and use even easier, the transmitter and receiver are paired up at the factory before they are despatched after manufacture. It is then just a matter of power up, and it’s all ready to do its job. The kit then just plugs into your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
In today’s world, this equipment might be used at weddings, or family holidays and other family gatherings which at one time used to be their sole occupation. But now they are used worldwide by people on Youtube or other social media interactions. A great asset of this piece of equipment is that it will operate freely in any part of the world, operating at 2.4 GHz, which is well away from any TV or radio interference.
It has it all…
To make sure that you are not caught powerless, the filmmaker has an incredible battery life of over 30 hours.
If you are looking for that all-important package, to either build your online business or maybe start one up, then this kit from Rode has it all.
Including, of course, Rode quality in manufacture and results.
10 Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Microphone
Zoom has designed with the SSH-6, a mic that can be described as both Shotgun and multidirectional. It will record sound not only directly from the source, but also from a wider field either side. More about that soon…
It has been designed to work with Zoom’s H5, H6, Q8, and U44 recorders and unfortunately does not work with any other machines.
Capture sound from everywhere…
As we mentioned, this has a very unique design, with the Shotgun principles of picking up sound from the center target sound source, but it also has a bidirectional mic that will collect sounds from either side of the sound source.
This gives it the strength of the central source but adds the ambiance of what is going on around it.
But how can you actually use this?
It is useful because you can produce a fully mono-compatible stereo result, that can be used in Films, Videos or TV projects. Recording the target sound source, whether it be a voice or any other sound, and then being able to add relevant background noise at source adds so much to the recording.
It is well-built, mostly of metal with just a few plastic connection fittings, so it is built to withstand the rigors of recording outside. And a hairy windscreen is included to reduce wind and associated environmental noise.
It is very good value at this price, with some interesting options.
Remember, though, as we mentioned earlier, this mic will only work with certain Zoom devices.
Best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera Buyer’s Guide
- Adding quality audio to your video shoot
If you work in an industry that requires not only quality visual reproduction, but also excellent sound, then you will need to ensure the quality of your audio is as good as you can achieve. In days past, audio on cameras has been an area overlooked, but now it is of prime importance. Even family weddings and holidays are getting great sound treatment. The first thing though is to answer the following question.
- What will I use it for?
Is it for the family holiday, weddings, just recording the kids growing up? All good things that could benefit from quality sound or maybe you are producing videos for Youtube, or as a Vlogger?
Possibly your videos are more serious and are your business. Then, therefore, the sound quality will become more important, or maybe you are working at the top level where it has to be perfect.
All those we reviewed impressed us in their individual ways, but some were clearly designed to be used in a certain way for a certain function. There were the Shotgun mics, dedicated to recording sound from a single source. But then others, that included peripheral sound to gain an ambiance. Some were best at one to one interviews, while others will excel at outside broadcasts.
Knowing what you will use it for is vital to you purchasing the right product.
- Where will it be used?
That question will probably be answered once you have answered the first one, but always bear in mind that whatever environment you think you are going to work in can change, very quickly. Even at family gatherings, there is the chance you will be inside one moment and out the next. Look for the best Microphones for DSLR Video Camera with many options.
- Does it look good?
Might sound a rather silly question but if you are a Pro, you will want it to look good on camera. A professional looking microphone will help clients to build confidence in you and your skills.
Quite a lot to consider, and there are so many options.