Audio is important.

At A Glance: Best Shotgun Camera Microphones for Filmmaking

If you want your videos to have professional quality, getting a external microphone for your camera is a must.

In today’s article, we’ll be looking at some of the best shotgun microphones for DSLR video cameras in 2019.

The Benefits of Using an External Mic for DSLR

feautres for dslr shotgun mics

Before we get to our review guide, we’re going to look at some of the benefits of using an directional microphone on your DSLR instead of the built-in microphone.

Many beginners assume that the included mic on their camera is sufficient for filming, but you’ll find that most of them can’t be compared to external models.

There are a few key differences between external mics and those which are mounted in cameras, and shotgun mics, in particular, have a few unique advantages of their own.

While most external mics will be able to record with better fidelity, shotgun mics can also cancel out noise from out of the shot.

Superior Sound Quality

Poor sound quality can easily ruin a video, even if it is recorded in the highest resolution with the finest composition. Other than simply being unable to hear dialogue or sound effects, most onboard camera microphones will result in sound which is jarring and ruins the immersion of the video.

Of course, the first advantage to using an external mic is that it will vastly improve the quality of the sound in your recordings. Whether you are having issues with wind noise, muffled audio, or you simply can’t hear your subject loud enough, an external mic of any kind should be sure to help.

Shotgun mics, in particular, will tend to feature superior quality to other kinds of external microphones thanks to their specialized design. Other than the benefits that are unique to a shotgun mic, the additional effort which goes into their design and construction is audible when compared to lavalier mics.

That’s why shotgun mics are best microphones for recording videos and filmmaking.

Rejection of Off-Axis Sounds

Keep in mind that this benefit is restricted to shotgun mics and not other kinds of external microphones, but it is a massive advantage that helps make the shotgun mic one of the best. The reason why shotgun mics are so prevalent in video recording is that they are more precise than other models.

When we say precision, we’re not talking about the frequencies that the mic can pick up, but instead where the sound is coming from. A shotgun mic is designed to record what is directly in front of the “barrel,” and sounds which come from the sides or behind the mic should be rejected.

Keep in mind that this is how a shotgun microphone should operate in an ideal world, and they are not infallible. Of course, better shotgun mics will be more reliable when it comes to ensuring that only the target is picked up, but background noise will be insignificant for most of them.

This also means that the person recording will have to be more precise when filming, as they will have to account for the angle of the shotgun mic and ensure that it is mounted properly. If the mic is out of alignment with the lens, you may have trouble picking up your subject.

Long Range

Another key advantage to shotgun mics is that they often feature greatly expanded range when compared to other kinds that are used in video recording. This benefit goes hand-in-hand with the ability to reject sounds which are coming from a different direction than your subject.

Depending on the composition of the shot, the camera may not always be near the actor, especially in shots where you want to take advantage of a zoom effect. If you’re still going to be able to hear your subject, you’ll want a mic which can record them at longer range, like a shotgun mic.

Of course, there are disadvantages to a longer sound recording range, and the most significant is that you can pick up unwanted sounds behind your subject. If there is noise behind the shot, the increased range of a shotgun mic can pick it up, so consider the direction in which you’re recording.

Top 8 DSLR Shotgun Mics for Video

You may be wondering why we’re presenting such a wide range of DSLR camera microphones instead of just showing you which one of these is the best.

Keep in mind that everyone has different needs, and the best video mic for you may not work for someone else.

ImageModelSpecsPrice
Rode VideoMic Pro+Rode VideoMic Pro+
BEST
4.3 x 6.7 x 2.6 inches
4.3 ounces
Check Price
Shure VP83Shure VP83
POPULAR
10 x 4.2 x 5.2 inches
11.7 ounces
Check Price
Sennheiser MKE 400Sennheiser MKE 400
SMALL AND QUALITY
12.4 x 10.2 x 3.1 inches
15.2 ounces
Check Price
Rode VideoMic GORode VideoMic GO
UNDER $70
9.5 x 4.9 x 2.8 inches
2.56 ounces
Check Price
Rode VideoMicRode VideoMic
CLASSIC
10 x 3 x 4 inches
14.1 ounces
Check Price
Rode VideoMicroRode VideoMicro
MICRO
3.1 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches
1.44 ounces
Check Price
Comica CVM-V30Comica CVM-V30
BUDGET
5.8 x 3.7 x 10.1 inches
13.1 ounces
Check Price
TAKSTAR SGC-598TAKSTAR SGC-598
CHEAPEST
11.3 x 7.7 x 2.7 inches
12 ounces
Check Price

With a wide variety, there is a greater chance that everyone will be satisfied. Without a further ado, let’s get into shotgun mic reviews:

   BEST   

Rode VideoMic Pro+

Rode Videomic Pro R

Why I Like It

  • Reduces wind noise
  • Comes included with a rechargeable battery
  • Redesigned battery door
  • Rycote Lyre suspension
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is the most impressive model in the company’s VideoMic series, and it is designed for those who are serious about their sound quality. This product is available for around 300 dollars, and while it may be pricey, it will be sure to provide you with improved audio quality.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Expensive
  • A little larger
   POPULAR   

Shure VP83

Shure VP83

Why I Like It

  • Resistance to RF devices and smartphones
  • Improved sensitivity
  • Supercardioid design decreases off-axis noise
  • Low-cut filter and gain controls
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

The Shure VP83 is a little more pricey than some of the other options on this list, and that’s due to its excellent performance. A high degree of electromagnetic resistance coupled with surprising sound fidelity makes this microphone an attractive choice for advanced users.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Bulky design
  • Pricey
   SMALL AND QUALITY   

Sennheiser MKE 400

Sennheiser MKE 400

Why I Like It

  • Compact and portable design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Off-axis rejection
  • Simple controls
  • 300-hour battery life
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

Sennheiser is known for their quality audio products, and that reputation is upheld by their excellent MKE 400 compact shotgun mic for DSLR. This is one of the smaller shotgun mics on this list (though it’s still not as tiny as the Rode VideoMicro), making it ideal for filming on the go.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Less capable than a full-sized model
  • Pricey for a small mic
   UNDER $70   

Rode VideoMic GO

Rode VideoMic GO

Why I Like It

  • Extremely compact size
  • Runs using in-line power
  • Shock mounting
  • User-friendly
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

Up next, we’ll be looking at the VideoMic GO from Rode, which is one of their smaller models, designed for those who are always on the go while recording.

For just under $70, this is the best cheap shotgun mic!

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Lower quality than larger models
   CLASSIC   

Rode VideoMic

Rode VideoMic Original

Why I Like It

  • Shock mounting eliminates vibration
  • Enhanced subject focus
  • High-pass filter eliminates low-end noise
  • Sound attenuation available
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

At last, we’ve reached the mic that started it all: the original Rode VideoMic (or at least the latest iteration of it).

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • A little too large
   MICRO   

Rode VideoMicro

Rode VideoMicro

Why I Like It

  • Extremely small design improves portability
  • Excellent sound quality for the size
  • Includes a furry windshield
  • No batteries needed
  • Shock mount
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

The last model we’ll be looking at from Rode is the VideoMicro, which is also their smallest shotgun mic for DSLRs. This tiny microphone is designed to be as portable as possible, which also results in the least cumbersome shotgun mic we’ve yet to see.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Rather pricey
  • Lower quality than full-size mics
   BUDGET   

Comica CVM-V30

Comica CVM-V30

Why I Like It

  • More affordable than other options
  • Low-cut filter and adjustable sensitivity
  • TPU shock mount
  • Long recording range
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

For those of you who are looking for an affordable shotgun mic, the Comica CVM-V30 is one of the better choices out there. While many cheap shotgun mics will be so unreliable that you’re better off saving your money, this model manages to combine reasonable performance with a relatively low price point.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Build quality
  • Isolation performance
   CHEAPEST   

TAKSTAR SGC-598

TAKSTAR SGC-598

Why I Like It

  • High-sensitivity microphone improves range
  • Guarded against EM interference
  • +10 dB adjustment
  • Low-frequency attenuation
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

The SGC-598 from TAKSTAR is another one of the more affordable options on this list, coming in at an even lower price point than the previous model from Comica. The lower price of this mic isn’t due to inferior quality, but it is instead due to the smaller size of the mic, as this is a compact model.

Audio Test

Audio Test

Drawbacks

  • Unreliable mounting
  • Lack of additional features

DSLR Camera Microphone Buying Guide

If you’ve never purchased a shotgun mic before, or if it has been a long time since you bought your last one, you may not know what features are the most crucial in one of them. In this part of our guide, we’re going to cover some of the most important aspects that can determine whether or not a shotgun mic is worth it.

Sound Quality

Of course, the first thing that you’re going to want to consider when choosing your shotgun mic is the quality of the sound that it records. If you opt for a poor-quality shotgun mic, then you shouldn’t be surprised if the audio comes out sounding just as muffled as if you had recorded it with your camera’s onboard mic.

girl holding a camera with shotgun microphoneUnfortunately, it is often a challenge to tell whether or not a microphone is going to have good sound quality until you test it out yourself. However, you’ll find that some manufacturers will upload audio clips of sounds recorded with their microphones so that you can hear an example of what they are like.

Mount

The mount that is used for your shotgun mic is another critical consideration, for a few different reasons. First off, you’ll want to be sure that the mount on the mic will be compatible with the camera you are using, though this is rarely a concern, as the majority of mounts will be universal.

A more pressing issue when it comes to the mount is the shock absorption it provides, as vibrations can move from the camera to the microphone and can be heard in the recording. Most shotgun mics will come with a mount that helps isolate them from the vibrations in the camera.

Range

Another key reason to use a shotgun mic is due to the enhanced recording range, though this isn’t the case for all models. Some cheaper shotgun mics will have poor long-range performance, so you have to be sure that the model you’re looking at is ideal for your needs.

A microphone’s sensitivity is responsible for its performance at longer ranges, and you’ll find that more sensitive models tend to be more expensive. There are also shotgun mics that come equipped with an adjustable sensitivity setting, allowing you to optimize them for specific recording conditions.

Off-Axis Rejection

Yet another reason to buy a shotgun mic is that they are meant to record noise that comes from in front of them while rejecting noise that comes from the back and the sides. This quality is known as off-axis rejection, and it is much sought-after in some of the best shotgun mics.

There are a few different things to consider when determining whether or not a microphone has effective off-axis rejection: the angle from which the sound is coming, the volume, and a bit more.

Of course, it is challenging to determine all of this without thorough tests, and it is also difficult to define in words how good a microphone is at isolating off-axis sounds.

Power Source

The power source of your microphone is also crucial, and the ideal type will depend on your camera, the kind of films you’ll be making, and your preferences. The most common power source for shotgun mics is the disposable battery, and AAA and 9V cells are the preferred types.

There are also mics that come equipped with lithium-ion rechargeable batteries which can be used repeatedly and may end up saving you some money in the long run. Finally, there are mics which draw their power from the camera itself through the audio cable.

While in-line powered microphones may slightly lower the battery life of your camera, you won’t have to remember to turn off your microphone every time you unplug it. Forgetting that your mic is on can result in you wasting quite a few batteries.

The best shotgun microphones for DSLR cameras for video will often combine a couple or all of these power sources so that you can use the best one for the situation.

Conclusion

At this point, you may be wondering which of these mics are the best video, and that depends on what you want out of your directional mic for video recording and your budget.

If you want a shotgun mic for DSLR with an onboard recorder, then you’ll want the Shure VP83.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a microphone that is as compact and affordable as possible, then you’ll love the TAKSTAR SGC-598.

We hope that this guide has helped you find the best shotgun video mic for your needs.

Zach

Zach

Hi there, I'm Zach and I am main writer and editor here at Looxcie. I put in lots of hours researching YouTube as a platform, from how to start your channel to how to grow it to millions of subscribers. Now I want to share all my knowledge to content creators, vloggers and YouTubers.

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