If you have invested in a good digital SLR or more modern mirrorless camera for video purposes, the built-in microphone is likely to leave you disappointed. Internal microphones are often tinny, too quiet, and offer little in the way of level adjustment.
To capture proper directional audio, you’ll want to invest in a shotgun microphone. These are usually mounted in the hot shoe connector on top of your camera body and can be angled or held off-camera to pick up optimal audio.
It can be tough to decide just which one you should buy, so here are a few of the best shotgun mics available today.
The VideoMic Pro Plus is RØDE’s flagship broadcast-quality mirrorless or DSLR mountable microphone. Powered by the included LB-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery or two AA batteries, the microphone has a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, making it particularly sensitive to lower frequencies.
It includes a two-stage high pass filter to better remove low frequencies like traffic noise and a high-frequency boost for improved clarity. You can adjust the gain in three stages: -10dB, 0dB, and +20dB, with a safety channel that records at a lower gain setting in case of clipping.
Other nifty features include auto power on/off, a detachable cable, and up to 10 years warranty when you register your microphone with RØDE. Like most of the other VideoMic models, the VideoMic Pro+ comes with a Rycote Lyre shock mount.
The VideoMic Pro is one step down from the Plus model, above. It’s not as sensitive capturing a frequency range from 40Hz-20kHz, though it features the same two-stage high pass filter and three-stage gain control at -10dB, 0dB, and +20dB.
This shotgun microphone is powered by a single 9V battery, which will give you 70 hours of recording when using a disposable alkaline battery. You can supply your own rechargeable 9V, but you won’t get anywhere near 70 hours from it.
The VideoMic Pro is a broadcast-quality microphone. You’ll get the usual shock mount for eliminating noise caused by sudden movements, and a ten-year warranty for registering your microphone too.
If you’re looking for a solid budget option, you can do a lot worse than the standard VideoMic. This is a studio-quality microphone that captures the same 40Hz-20kHz frequency range as the more expensive option above, with slightly reduced
It is powered by a 9V battery, with a two-stage high pass filter for reducing low background noises. Level adjustment is possible to 0dB, -10dB and -20dB, and you’ll get a windshield and the Rycote Lyre shock mount in the box.
The VideoMic GO is the lightest on-camera shotgun mic in the range. Weighing only 73g, this microphone requires no battery since it draws power from the camera it is connected to. As a result, the VideoMic GO won’t work with all cameras, so make sure you check RØDE’s product description to ensure compatibility before you buy.
Like the other RØDE microphones on this list, the GO comes with a windjammer and Rycote Lyre shock mount. It connects using a 3.5mm mini-jack and includes up to two years warranty when you register your product.
The RØDE VideoMic NTG is a shotgun mic that blends the convenience of the VideoMic range with the broadcast-quality audio of RØDE’s professional NTG line. The critical feature for content producers is that the VideoMic NTG features the same annular line tube technology as the NTG5. The mic is portable, clocking in at just 94g.
To increase durability, the exterior of the microphone is made of rugged aerospace-grade aluminum. It is suitable for cameras and mobile devices thanks to the auto-sensing 3.5mm jack. The VideoMic NTG should last up to 30 hours and can be recharged using the USB-C port. You can also monitor your audio recordings using the USB-C port, too.
If you’re interested in learning more before making your choice, check out our overview of the RØDE VideoMic NTG.
Looking for something cheap and cheerful? The TAKSTAR SGC-598 is one of the best-selling affordable shotgun microphones on the market. You can pick it up for way less than even the cheapest RØDE, and it comes with a windscreen and shock-resistant mount in the box.
The 568 offers a frequency response between 50Hz and 16kHz, with a 10dB gain boost. A single AA battery powers it, so it should work with most cameras. It might not offer the best sound quality, but it’s hard to complain, considering the cost.
You can’t beat an external recorder for absolute peace of mind when it comes to sound capture. The Zoom F1-SP is a bundle that features a field recorder, shotgun microphone, windscreen, shock-mount, and a 32GB micro-SDHC memory card.
The included SGH-6 microphone offers hyper-directional audio capture via the included Zoom F1 field recorder. The F1 can capture up to 24-bit/96kHz audio in WAV format. You can switch out the microphone attachment with aftermarket Zoom microphones to get even more life out of your audio setup.
Despite being pricey, the Canon DM-E1 is worth mentioning as it’s not just a shotgun microphone. There are actually three modes to choose from; shotgun, 90 degrees, and 120 degrees of audio capture. With the flick of a switch, you can go from traditionally narrow shotgun capture to much wider stereo modes for capturing larger groups.
With a frequency response of 50Hz to 16kHz, the DM-E1 doesn’t quite match the wide range of the VideoMic Pro Plus. It includes its own windscreen and shock-proof mount. The mic uses a single button-type lithium cell battery for power, so it should work with any camera. Connect it to your camera with the standard 3.5mm jack.
The Best Shotgun Mic for Any Budget
These microphones offer a compelling option for capturing sound at any budget. A good microphone will take your production quality up a notch since it’s tough to improve sound quality in post-production.
Looking for a simple desktop microphone for podcasting or narrating? Check out our roundup of the best mics for podcasting.
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