In the world of photography and videography, capturing high-quality audio is just as important as getting the perfect shot. Whether you’re a professional filmmaker or an amateur content creator, having a reliable shotgun microphone for your DSLR can make a world of difference in the audio quality of your recordings. But with so many options available in the market, how do you choose the best shotgun microphone for your DSLR?
In this article, we will explore the top-rated shotgun microphones specifically designed for DSLRs and discuss the factors to consider when making your decision.
What is a shotgun microphone?
Before we dive into the details, let’s first understand what a shotgun microphone is. A shotgun microphone, also known as a boom microphone, is a highly directional microphone that focuses on capturing sound from a specific direction while minimizing unwanted noise from the sides and rear.
The name “shotgun” comes from the long, tubular shape of the microphone, resembling the barrel of a shotgun. This design allows the microphone to pick up sound sources in front of it with great clarity, making it an ideal choice for capturing audio in various settings, including interviews, film production, documentaries, and outdoor recordings.
Importance of Shotgun Microphones for DSLR
When it comes to DSLR filmmaking or video production, the built-in microphones on most cameras fall short in terms of capturing high-quality audio. These built-in microphones often pick up unwanted ambient noise, resulting in poor sound quality and a less professional overall production. This is where shotgun microphones come into play. They provide superior directional audio capture, allowing you to focus on the desired sound source while minimizing background noise and delivering crisp, clear audio.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Shotgun Microphone
Choosing the right shotgun microphone for your DSLR can be a daunting task, considering the wide range of options available. To help you make an informed decision, here are some key factors to consider:
One of the most critical factors to consider when selecting a shotgun microphone is its directionality. Different shotgun microphones have varying pickup patterns, such as supercardioid, hypercardioid, or even a combination of patterns. The pickup pattern determines the microphone’s ability to capture sound from specific angles. For DSLR use, a supercardioid or hypercardioid pattern is generally preferred as it focuses on capturing sound from the front while reducing noise from the sides and rear.
The sensitivity of a shotgun microphone refers to its ability to capture low-level sounds accurately. A more sensitive microphone can pick up subtle nuances in audio, making it suitable for capturing quieter sounds or distant sources. However, high sensitivity can also lead to increased background noise. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance between sensitivity and noise rejection when choosing a shotgun microphone for your DSLR.
The frequency response of a microphone indicates the range of frequencies it can capture accurately. A wide frequency response is desirable to ensure that the microphone can capture both low and high-frequency sounds faithfully. This becomes especially important when recording dialogue, ambient sounds, or music. Look for a shotgun microphone with a frequency response tailored to your specific recording needs.
Size and Weight
Considering the size and weight of a shotgun microphone is crucial, especially when you’re using it with a DSLR setup. You want a microphone that is lightweight and compact, allowing for easy mounting on your camera without adding excessive bulk. This ensures comfort during long shooting sessions and makes the setup more manageable, particularly when you’re shooting handheld or using a stabilizing rig.
Check the connectivity options provided by the shotgun microphone. Most DSLRs have a 3.5mm audio input, so ensure that the microphone you choose has a compatible output. Some microphones also offer XLR outputs, which can be advantageous if you plan to use external audio recorders or mixers for professional audio setups.
Budget is a crucial consideration for many filmmakers and content creators. Determine your budget range before exploring different options. While higher-priced shotgun microphones often offer advanced features and superior audio quality, there are also excellent options available at more affordable price points. It’s essential to find the right balance between your budget and the features you require.
Top-Rated Shotgun Microphones for DSLR
Here are some brands and items I’ve used throughout the years. The devices delivered me the performance I desired without hesitation. So I want to repay them. Now I’ll review my shotgun mics.
1. Rode VideoMic Pro+
This can pick up noise from everywhere around it. There’s more. The updated version contains new features, not in the previous one.
It has digital switching for starters. This function captures the best audio signal from the source, while the 2-stage high pass filter suppresses low frequencies like traffic or air conditioning.
This reduces the time and energy spent editing and post-processing sound after recording. A good tool for indoor and outdoor recording.
The automated power function turns the mic on when you plug it in and off when you disconnect it.
This makes it easier to start recording when you wish and allows you to pack up fast in rain or snow.
Included with the mic is an RDE LB-1 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery. Plus, it may be fueled by 2 AA batteries from any shop. If you require constant power, you may plug the mic into a USB port.
The built-in battery door enables changing batteries easier, less time-consuming, and not lost.
2. Rode VideoMic Pro
The design and build are identical to the VideoIc Pro+, with some slight variations. One is that it doesn’t have auto-on/off. But that’s not a significant problem owing to other amazing features.
It’s meant for camcorders, DSLR cameras, and portable audio recorders as main and reference audio. Its revolutionary capsule design reduces noise while boosting sensitivity.
So, it produces broadcast-quality audio via a 3.5mm connection with 14db of self-noise.
I liked this mic’s mounting mechanism. It may be equipped with Rycote Lyre shocks.
It’s unaffected by wind, rumbling, or air conditioning noises that induce distortion.
This mic has a regular shoe mount and a 3/8-inch thread at the base of the mount. It fits easily on a boom pole.
The mic’s controls are very easy to use. On the back of the microphone are the power, filter, and volume settings.
As a result, they’re straightforward to utilize. Just below it is the level options that adjust the recording volume.
Last but not least, the microphone’s 9-volt battery provides 70 hours of usage. The battery is not included but may be found at any camera store.
3. Shure VP83F LensHopper
Similarly, the VP83F’s superb features make it one of my top DSLR shotgun mic picks. Let me elaborate.
Instead of an omnidirectional polar pattern, this shotgun mic employs super-cardioid/lobar. The omnidirectional pickup patterns gather up too much ambiance and noise.
The VP83F’s super-cardioid/lobar polar pattern concentrates on front-entry sound and attenuates side- and rear-entry sound.
The mic contains a built-in audio recorder that enables you to capture 24-bit / 48 kHz WAV files to a MicroSD-HC card (32GB, class 6 or above) in addition to recording the VP83’s output to your camera.
So even if the audio cable is removed or the camera is misconfigured, the VP83F keeps recording. A 2GB MicroSD-HC card can hold 64 hours of data.
You may transfer named and timestamped WAV files to a computer using an SD card adapter or USB adaptor.
A videographer’s difficulty is acquiring the appropriate sound level, free of noise and distortion. It has an adjustable microphone gain and camera output loudness.
One may add up to 60 dB of mic gain in 1 dB increments and pick from three camera output volume levels based on preferences and camera compatibility.
3. Shure VP83
This type, like the current one, features a front-focused pickup pattern. It maintains a precise dynamic balance between the main sound source and ambient noises.
A sensitive condenser capsule and low-noise circuitry generate more detailed sounds. Keeping built-in microphone ‘hissing’ noises to a minimum.
The quick camera hookup makes it a videographer’s greatest buddy. A coiled cable attached to the VP83 saves you the headache of manual cable management.
The cable’s 3.5mm TRS socket is dual mono, sending the mic signal to both input channels on your DSLR camera or recorder.
Like the VP83F, it has a bass roll-off. It rolls off bass frequencies without affecting middle and high frequencies.
This means you obtain extremely understandable audio frequencies without traffic and HVAC vibrations that damage recordings.
The Rycote Lyre shock mount shields the mic from vibrations and handling noise. The shock mount is compatible with a camera shoe with a 1/4″-20 thread.
This lets you attach the mic to your DSLR camera and record.
4. Rode VideoMic
You may modify mic signal levels using a selected pad.
Switch to -10dB when loud sounds spoil your recording. Use -20dB to avoid excessive input levels from clipping.
You may also use flat when wiring the mic into a separate preamp. All have a shotgun mic’s selectable pad function.
Another benefit of this mic is its networking choices.
It’s compatible with most devices with Rode’s SC4 and VXLR adapters.
SC4 is a short cable that enables you to connect the VideoMic to a smartphone or tablet with a 3.5mm TRRS connector. The VXLR adaptor lets you record with a camcorder or mixer with XLR inputs.
VideoMic has long battery life. A 100-hour operational time is substantial. Yes. A 9V battery lasts 100 hours in the mic.
There’s a dedicated LED that changes from green to red to signify power. Red implies the battery is low and has to be replaced.
The VideoMic can continue work for an hour after the power light goes red, but performance will be reduced. You may utilize the mic’s power switch to save battery when it’s not in use.
5. TAKSTAR SGC-598
This ordinary-looking mic has some exceptional attributes I couldn’t miss, therefore I added it to my list of the finest shotgun mics for DSLRs.
Before I tell you about this mic, here’s an amusing fact. This mic is heart-shaped. This can lessen ambient noise. Cool, eh?
Let me tell you what this beauty is for first. It is designed for use as a condenser mic with a DSLR camera to improve audio quality. 10dB sensitivity boost, 200Hz low-frequency attenuation.
This frequency count fulfills field co-use. You may attach it to your camera using universal connectors.
The mic’s build quality is impressive given its price. Built to perfection with alloy materials and a strong design. It’s shock-resistant and reduces the camera’s mechanical noise.
It prevents other vibrations, too. The mic’s ergonomic form and strong construction protect EMI as you record.
Unlike the other microphones on our list, this one uses a 1.5V AA alkaline battery for 100 hours of use. The battery isn’t included but is available at any superstore or electronics store.
The battery life is shown.
6. Sennheiser MKE 400
The mic’s super-cardioid/lobar polar design catches sound from in front of it while reducing side- and rear-entry sound.
Low-noise circuitry and a sensitive condenser element make this microphone better than those in cameras and recorders.
Connectivity is one of its numerous benefits. The MKE 400 includes a permanently connected coiled wire for quick camera attachment.
In addition, the cable’s 3.5mm TRS socket has an automated dual-manual arrangement that delivers identical signals to both input channels on your camera or recorder. You may sync audio and video after editing and postprocessing.
Distortion must be avoided for professional-quality recordings. The MKE 400 has two sensitivity levels to improve the mic’s audio loudness. The normal and high sensitivity levels.
Normal sensitivity is suggested for recording from normal to loud sources on high-input devices. When recording from silent sources or with a low-sensitivity camera, choose high sensitivity.
The mic’s windshield reduces wind noise from breezes, fans, heaters, and air conditioners. This should reduce ambient noise in your audio.
A fuzzy windshield reduces noise.
7. Rode VideoMic NTG
It’s the Swiss army knife of shotgun microphones for this reason.
This mic was developed to eliminate the need to switch microphones when recording setups change. With this mic, you may record voiceovers, music, podcasts, and broadcast live.
You may attach the mic to your DSLR, portable recorder, or mobile device through the TRRS connection. VideoMic NTG’s auto-sensing 3.5mm TRRS switches between TRS and TRRS as needed.
You won’t need an adapter cable to use it. It’s a USB microphone, so you can plug it into your device through USB. Then use your chosen recording program to start recording.
It’s 24-bit/48-kHz A/D converter provides uncompressed, full-resolution audio.
Like an excellent shotgun mic, this one has a super-cardioid polar pattern. This concentrates on the front and records all-important audio signals. All while eliminating annoying noises from other sources.
It’s more sensitive than the VideoMic Pro+, thus it needs less gain to produce an identical signal level.
The mic’s body incorporates acoustic perforations instead of the linear slots normally used in shotgun microphones, a technology termed the ‘annular line tube’ that is popular in Rode’s NTG microphones, which are noted for their performance and clear, natural, uncolored sound.
8. Canon DM-E1
It was created for Canon EOS digital cameras. Multiple directional controls, shock mount design, included Wind Screen, and more.
The little but strong mic improves audio on videos of any subject. So long as you have a Canon EOS digital camera with a mic jack.
Since this mic is so small and portable, it was made for all shooting purposes. Each mode has a particular job.
The shotgun model captures sound in front of the camera, making it ideal for dialogue or single musical instruments. If you’re doing a solo tale or performance, choose this model.
90° Stereo mode concentrates on audio from a single topic while adding nearby sound on either side. IF you’re filming a documentary with several interviews, a group performance, or a party. This option will produce the finest audio.
120° Stereo mode gathers a broader angle of sound, which is great for collecting music from a big area like a backyard wedding event or a stage band.
This battery-powered mic is efficient. It uses one CR2032 button-type battery (included). It saves the camera battery by not relying on it.
Also, the mic saves its own battery. Using the camera’s power button turn on and off the mic. This keeps the camera’s battery while it’s not in use.
9. Rode VideoMic GO
The mic has a detachable 4.5mm coiled wire and a pickup pattern identical to the VideoMic.
This one has a super-cardioid polar pattern to focus on sound in front and reduce sound from the sides and behind. It has active electronics and directional condenser components that produce more detailed audio than built-in cameras and recorders.
Many shock mounts require a rubber band, which snaps and stretches with time, loosening it. Rode solved this problem with a Rycote Lyre suspension-style shock mount.
It simplifies the mic setup and reduces camera vibrations. The mic also has a camera shoe attachment with a 3/8″ thread for attaching to a camera or boom pole.
The VideoMic Go requires no batteries, so you don’t need to carry extras or charge an internal battery.
Just plug it in and turn on your device’s plugin power option. Your phone’s battery powers the mic.
Rode’s SC4, SC7, and VXLR adapters are supported by the mic. You may connect the VideoMic GO to a smartphone or tablet with a 3.5mm TRRS connection using the SC4 or SC7 adapters.
The VXLR+ adaptor lets you record with a camcorder or mixer with XLR inputs.
10. Rode VideoMicro
It is 3′ long and 1.5 ounces. High-quality metal helps the mic resist RF. The ceramic body reduces glare.
This small mic has all the properties of a shotgun mic. Instead of taking up noise from all directions, it focuses on a front-facing sound source. Its removable coiled cord contains a 3.5mm port for most cameras and phones.
It transmits identical audio signals to both camera or recorder input channels utilizing dual-mono.
The removable shock mount enables putting the mic on a camera straightforwardly, without the rubber band strap that typically gets free or snaps. It prevents camera vibrations from reaching the mic, so recordings are quiet.
The shock mount has a 3.8′ threaded camera shoe attachment for attaching to a boom pole.
It plugs in, so no batteries are needed. Just plug it in and use your device’s battery. It needs no charging. This saved me time and hassle.
In addition to its VideoMic capabilities, the VideoMicro has a fuzzy DeadCat windscreen that suppresses wind noise, fans, heaters, and air conditioners. HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) all sound.
In short, this shotgun mic has everything you’d want. A diminutive version of the VideoMic GO, the VideoMicro is a fantasy for many filmmakers using smaller cameras.
How to Choose the Right Shotgun Microphone for Your DSLR
Now that we’ve explored the top 5 best shotgun microphones for DSLR, it’s essential to understand how to choose the right one for your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider:
Consider Your Budget
Evaluate your budget range and determine how much you’re willing to invest in a shotgun microphone. Remember to strike a balance between price and the features you require. Consider whether the microphone will be a long-term investment or a temporary solution.
Evaluate the Sound Quality
Sound quality is paramount when choosing a shotgun microphone. Look for microphones that capture clear and accurate audio, with minimal self-noise and distortion. Consider the microphone’s frequency response and sensitivity to ensure it meets your recording needs.
Ensure that the shotgun microphone you choose is compatible with your DSLR camera. Check the microphone’s connector type (e.g., 3.5mm TRS or XLR) and ensure it matches your camera’s input. Some microphones may require additional adapters or cables for compatibility.
Consider the Mounting Options
Evaluate the mounting options provided with the shotgun microphone. Look for microphone models that come with shock mounts or other accessories to minimize handling noise and vibrations. Consider whether the microphone can be easily mounted on your camera or a separate boom pole.
Read Reviews and Compare
Before making a final decision, read reviews from other users and compare different models. Look for feedback on the microphone’s build quality, performance, and durability. Consider the experiences of other DSLR filmmakers and content creators to make an informed choice.
Choosing the right shotgun microphone for your DSLR can significantly enhance the audio quality of your videos and ensure a professional and immersive listening experience for your audience. Consider the factors discussed in this article, such as directionality, sensitivity, frequency response, size and weight, connectivity, and price. Additionally, explore the top 5 best shotgun microphones mentioned here and compare their features and specifications to find the perfect fit for your needs.
Remember, the best shotgun microphone for DSLR may vary depending on your specific requirements and budget. Take your time to research and compare options, and prioritize sound quality and compatibility. With the right shotgun microphone, you can take your videography to the next level and capture audio with precision and clarity.
Can I use a shotgun microphone for other purposes besides DSLR?
Yes, shotgun microphones are versatile and can be used for various applications such as filmmaking, video production, podcasting, interviews, and more. They are not limited to DSLR cameras.
What is the difference between a shotgun microphone and a lavalier microphone?
Shotgun microphones are highly directional and are designed to capture audio from a specific direction, while lavalier microphones are small and discreet and are typically clipped onto clothing to capture audio directly from the speaker.
Do shotgun microphones require batteries?
Most shotgun microphones do not require batteries. They are often powered by the camera or recording device they are connected to.
Can I use a shotgun microphone with a smartphone?
Yes, you can use a shotgun microphone with a smartphone. However, you may need additional adapters or cables to ensure compatibility between the microphone and your smartphone’s audio input.
Are shotgun microphones suitable for outdoor recordings?
Yes, shotgun microphones are commonly used for outdoor recordings due to their ability to capture sound from a distance and reject ambient noise. They are particularly useful for capturing dialogue or sounds in noisy environments.