Zoom H2 vs. H4n with Rode VideoMic at DVinfo.net

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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old May 21st, 2010, 10:17 PM   #1
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Zoom H2 vs. H4n with Rode VideoMic

Hey everyone,
I'm new here and pretty happy to have stumbled upon such a great resource. I just started building an arsenal of tools around the T2i and want to record better audio.

A pretty common combo seems to be the Zoom H4n with a Rode VideoMic so I went to the local shop to check them out. While there I realized that the Rode isn't XLR, but instead 1/8", so why pay so much for the Zoom H4n when the H2 accepts the mic without the need for an adapter? As far as I could tell, the H4n didn't have an 1/8" mic input.

I realize the H4n would leave me with more options for microphones down the road, but I don't have much cash since I just graduated. Are there any other reasons why the H4n trumps its little brother for the purposes of shooting video? The next mic I could see myself buying would be a wireless lav, so I don't think that would require more than an 1/8" jack either.

Thanks for your help and don't hesitate to re-school me if my basic understanding of this is all wrong!
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 02:09 AM   #2
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I would think the Rode is usually for on-camera miking, while the H4N is for off-camera, and syncing later. You could also use the H4N as an on-camera stereo mic, but it's not a shotgun mic like the Rode mono version.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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Yes, most of the time the Rode mic on camera is only used to get better audio to use for syncing with the good audio you record off camera with the Zoom or another device. For that reason I'd put that Rode mic far down my list of purchases. You'll be able to sync with just the on camera mic of the T2i, it just might not be as easy.

If you're shooting stuff like home videos where clean audio isn't critical but you want something better than the on camera mic, the Rode makes sense in that case. I'll put a shotgun mic on my T2i when at home just for that purpose. The audio still has the AGC noise in it, but its better than the on camera mic.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 09:38 AM   #4
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Hmm, perhaps I wasn't quite clear enough!

I don't want to use the onboard microphone or input until there is a hack to defeat the AGC. I plan on buying an external field recorder to pair up with the Rode VideoMic and then sync in post, so I'm wondering why people prefer the H4n over the H2 for that purpose.

To sum it all up: I plan on buying a Zoom H2 and pairing it with the Rode VideoMic. Are there any reasons why I should spend the extra money for the H4n?
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:08 PM   #5
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Why use the Rode mic for sync when you can use the in-camera mic?

The H4n is more robust, has better SNR (cleaner sound) than the H2, and more features. You'd have to compare the two to see if the H4n is worth the extra money for your applications.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 10:10 PM   #6
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Why use something like the Rode on cam if the cam audio is only going to be used for sync?

Just on the off chance something goes wrong with the audio on the audio recorder and the sound guy does not catch it, if forced to use the camera's audio you at least have something better than the built in mic.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #7
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Hi Justus—no, there's no problem with the Zoom H2 with the Rode Mic. You'll only have mono sound, of course, but that's no big deal.

I have the older Zoom H4 (as opposed to the H4n) model...and in my opinion it works as well (sounds just as clean) as the newer H4n. (So you might be able to find one of those for less.)

But the 2-track recorder is all you'd ever need. I've had my my 4-track Zoom for a few years and NEVER used more than 2 tracks (stereo).

Scott
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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #8
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Thanks Scott, that's the info I was looking for. Thanks for the heads up on the H4 as well, I'll look into it. I don't anticipate running more than one mic for quite some time, so the H2 sounds like it would suit me and my budget fairly well.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Why use something like the Rode on cam if the cam audio is only going to be used for sync?

Just on the off chance something goes wrong with the audio on the audio recorder and the sound guy does not catch it, if forced to use the camera's audio you at least have something better than the built in mic.
Except, by adding the Rode mic there is another element to go wrong (Murphy's Law). If you forget to turn it on, or the battery wears out, you'll have NO sync. Not much can go wrong with the in-camera mic.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #10
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What I meant is that the camera would be recording audio with the on-board mic while I recorded audio into the H2 or H4n with the Rode. Then in post I would sync the audio recorded with the external recorder and then dump the garbage-y on-board audio.

Maybe my terminology was off, but the plan is to have a stand-alone recording system consisting of a field recorder and one or more microphones. I've tried the on-board mic as well as plugging several mics into the mic jack and none of them sounded any good. I also tried the hack where you use a splitter to bombard one channel with a tone from an mp3 player while the other records the audio from a mic. It worked OK, but it's not an elegant solution and I'd like the ability to record more than a single channel of audio.
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