Your footage shouldn’t be ruined by poor sound quality
Mobile phones let everybody have a camera in their pocket to quickly capture photos or record short videos. But while the technology has advanced at a blistering pace, mobile gadgets can’t keep up with a traditional digital camera.
Digital single-lens reflex cameras are not only excellent photography tools, they are also amazing for videos. But there is an obvious drawback. The factory-fitted microphone is often of poor quality, susceptible to the slightest breezes or just failing to record the full audio spectrum.
If you’re serious about the sounds that go with your sights, then you must add a DSLR microphone to your photography arsenal. But which microphone is the best for you?
The type of microphone
A significant factor in choosing the right DSLR microphone is what you want to record. There are different kinds of microphones for various situations, and if you don’t use the appropriate mic, the audio won’t be great.
- Shotgun microphone: These long cigar-shaped microphones are excellent for recording sounds in a narrow band in one direction. They use technology to block out sounds not coming directly from where the mic is pointed.
- Lavalier microphone: These tiny microphones are most commonly used to record someone talking during an interview. They are small enough to clip onto a tie or shirt collar. They’re generally wireless, but some can connect directly to the DSLR camera.
- Handheld microphone: A type everybody would be familiar with, the classic condenser microphone is typically used during speeches or for recording someone’s voice.
Check your mounting
You might have a certain microphone in mind, but you’ll be quickly disappointed if it doesn’t fit on your camera. The mounting where a flash goes is called the hot shoe, and that is where the microphone will attach to your camera — if it supports it.
Not all microphones use the hot shoe, but it’s a convenient spot, ensuring that the mic and the camera’s lens are always focused on the same object. Other microphones connect to the camera through a 3.5-millimeter jack. But if you need the hot shoe for lighting at night, you’ll need to make a different plan for the microphone, such as a hot shoe extender or adapter.
Some microphones use the mount for positioning only and don’t draw power through the plate. This is called a cold shoe.
Just like your camera and flash battery, your microphone needs a power source. Look for a mic with a built-in battery that supports your shooting style. Ensure that you can easily recharge it or change batteries when needed.
Keep in mind that some microphones can draw power directly from the camera, which drains its battery faster than usual. One thing to note is that condenser microphones require a power source, while dynamic microphones don’t.
Best microphones for DSLR cameras
This shotgun mic is one of the most compact around, as it is only 3 inches long and weighs just over an ounce. It draws power directly from the camera and comes with a Rycote Lyre shock mount and a deluxe furry windshield that keeps out wind noise. Sold by Amazon
Mounted on the DSLR’s hot shoe, this shotgun unidirectional microphone doesn’t require a separate battery source. It’s perfect for capturing audio in most situations and comes with a windshield, carrying case and a 3.5-millimeter cable. Sold by Amazon
It is easy to keep track of battery usage with this shotgun mic. It has an OLED display for power monitoring and levels of the built-in battery. It has a 10-level adjustable gain knob and the battery can last for around 60 hours on standby. Sold by Amazon
Perfect for recording audio during an interview or speech, this lavalier microphone connects to a DSLR camera through a wireless transmitter. It has 30 channels to minimize interference, an LED display to monitor battery levels and comes with lapel clips. Sold by Amazon
This condenser microphone screws onto a DSLR through the hot shoe mount, and the battery lasts for about 125 hours. It’s excellent at recording audio that is directly in front of it, and it comes with a windshield. Sold by Amazon
Great for interviews, this high-sensitivity condenser microphone has a cardioid unidirectional pickup. It focuses on audio straight ahead and rejects any sounds from the surroundings. The replaceable battery lasts for up to 100 hours and it comes with a padded windshield. Sold by Amazon
The handheld microphone connects wirelessly to the DSLR camera through a VHF transmitter, which has a range of 200 feet. The transmitter has a detachable antenna that can rotate 360 degrees for the best signal. The microphone has a manual on/off switch. Sold by Amazon
To get up close and personal with your audio, this lavalier microphone easily clips onto a collar. It connects to the DSLR camera through a 3.5-millimeter cable, which is also compatible with mobile phones. It comes with a small windshield, two batteries and a carry pouch. Sold by Amazon
An excellent option for professional audio recording, this directional microphone from Sennheiser connects to a DSLR and mobile devices through a 3.5-millimeter cable. It has built-in wind protection and an internal suspension mount to minimize handling noise. It doesn’t have a battery and works on a cold shoe instead. Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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