Which camera microphone is best?
The most often neglected aspect of recording a video is the audio. So much attention is placed on the visual elements that the audio is usually little more than an afterthought. Since most cameras do not feature suitable built-in microphones, the serious videographer will need to invest in a separate camera microphone to create quality work.
The best camera microphones will be compact and lightweight, and they will only pick up the sounds you want to record. Our top choice is Comica’s Cardioid Directional Mini Shotgun Video Microphone. This affordable on-camera microphone incorporates a number of features that you might only expect to find in higher-priced models. To learn more about what to look for when shopping for a camera microphone, keep reading.
What to consider when choosing a camera microphone
Type of microphone
When shopping for camera microphones, there are three general types you will want to consider: lapel, handheld, and shotgun.
- Lapel: A lapel microphone attaches to the lapel of a blazer or the collar of a shirt, and it is positioned relatively close to the speaker’s mouth. These types of microphones are designed to record the speaker’s voice over everything else.
- Handheld: A handheld microphone is what a vocalist might use. Typically, it picks up a wider range of sounds than the lapel mic, and it can be quickly handed off between several individuals, but it must be held very close to the speaker’s mouth in order to record crisp dialogue.
- Shotgun: A shotgun microphone usually features a long and narrow design. It is built to pick up the sounds in front of the microphone, so it needs to be aimed in the proper direction in order to record. A shotgun mic has a longer range than the other two types of microphones, which is why it is most often found mounted directly on the camera.
Although most are fairly universal, not all microphones work with all cameras and devices. Before purchasing, verify that the model you are considering will work with the gear that you already have.
Accidents happen. Look for a camera microphone with a drop-resistant casing for increased durability.
Whichever type of microphone you will be using, you will want it to be lightweight and smaller in size — but not at the sacrifice of quality — so it is easily portable.
Typically, you’ll want a wired connection with your camera microphone. However, there may be instances, like connecting to a smartphone, when a wireless camera microphone might make more sense.
Camera microphone price
If you are interested in a lapel microphone, you can purchase a decent model for under $15. Ideally, you will want to look in the $100 range for a higher-quality shotgun microphone. Professionals, on the other hand, could spend as much as $600 or more on a camera microphone.
Camera microphone FAQ
What is a polar pattern?
A. Every microphone “hears” in a specific way. Some only pick up sounds that happen in front of the microphone while others pick up sounds from all directions. The different types of directional listening sensitivities that microphones have are called polar patterns.
How do you reduce wind noise?
A. One of the biggest problems when recording outside is that the microphone will pick up the sound of the wind hitting the mic. To drastically reduce this undesirable sound (or eliminate it altogether), all you need is an inexpensive windscreen (foam or fur). This cover may dampen higher frequencies, but that is usually preferable to recording loud whooshing sounds that can make the dialogue hard to understand.
Camera microphone reviews
Best of the best camera microphone
Comica’s Cardioid Directional Mini Shotgun Video Microphone
Our take: A versatile and affordable compact on-camera microphone.
What we like: This lightweight microphone is universally compatible, and it features a vibration-reducing design for better sound quality. The super-cardioid polar pattern helps you record crisper dialogue. The package includes a windscreen, a wind muff, audio cables, and an instruction manual.
What we dislike: There may be some compatibility issues with older iPhones.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bang for your buck camera microphone
TAKSTAR’s SGC-598 Interview Microphone
Our take: A camera microphone that is designed for users on a tight budget.
What we like: The affordable price range makes this a highly desirable model for anyone with entry-level gear looking to step up his or her game. This sensitive microphone features a heart-shaped single-point pickup to help reduce or eliminate undesirable ambient noises from your recording.
What we dislike: If you have a higher-end camera with a high-quality built-in mic, this microphone may not add much to your setup.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Shure’s VP83 LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone
Our take: A high-quality on-camera microphone from a company with a solid reputation in microphone manufacturing.
What we like: The super cardioid polar pattern helps eliminate undesirable ambient noise from your recordings, while the technology helps protect against unwanted interference from nearby RF devices. A single AA alkaline battery can provide charge for up to 125 hours.
What we dislike: This microphone costs considerably more than the other models that are in this shortlist.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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