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Old July 2nd, 2014, 04:32 PM   #1
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DSLR with good audio?

Hi,

I was wondering if there are any DSLR's on the market right now that have an external mic port to where I can plug in a lav or shotgun even via an adapter to get good audio?

I'd rather not have to worry about an H4N or external recorder.

Is the GH3 the only option or are there others?
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 06:11 PM   #2
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

An alternative without going the external recorder route, is to use an external preamp.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

there are xlr to 3.5mm (headphone) available, and they're cheap enough, that, really, you could use any camera.

I thought of something similar for weddings, but with the file breaks, I think I want to go into a recorder to have one continuous mp3 file, then sync all my video to it. So my new plan is an off camera shotgun mic into a recorder, either using a Gorillapod or tiny stand, placed discretely up front.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

Look at the GH4 Joe

You can get a complete professional XLR cradle for it ..it's pricey but at least Panasonic have realised that people use DSLR's for video.

I have the best of both worlds with Sony EA-50's as they are essentially DSLR electronics and sensor inside a video camera body so I have all the features of a DSLR and all the video camera controls too.


I would suspect that the new GH4 has real audio facilities that you can trust, not just an add on. Here is the link :
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 01:01 AM   #5
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

Joe,

Canon DSLRs with Magic Lantern do a good job of the audio if set correctly, it needs either a pre-amp or a high output mike like the Rode Pro.

You would need to look up which current models ML is compatible with Magic Lantern | Home

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Old July 3rd, 2014, 02:59 AM   #6
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Riggs View Post
...I was wondering if there are any DSLR's on the market right now that have an external mic port to where I can plug in a lav or shotgun even via an adapter to get good audio?...
It's refreshing to hear someone apppreciate the shortcomings of dual audio and want to record sound in camera. Something you need to pay attention to is the Automatic Gain Control on DSLRs. You need to be able to turn off the AGC and adjust the level manually. Various techniques exist for doing it depending on the camera including special cables that fake out the electronics. If I remember correctly, the recommended technique on the GH3 is to set the volume to the lowest value and hope for the best.
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 05:11 PM   #7
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

You can also get something like the new Zoom H5 that can be mounted on the hot shoe of your DSLR. That way you can record much better audio to the device, and use the line out to feed the better mix into the camera as well. You get better preamps, you get better headphone port, you get modular mic heads for the Zoom. you get controls over the input levels while recording, ( you wont get that with any HDSLR )

If you have time to use the better quality of the Zoom recording then that's great, if not just use the on board feed.
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

At the heart, the audio recording circuits of any DSLR are largely an afterthought. Can you get a listenable result going direct to camera? Sure. But you simply can't get an excellent result, because even if you use workarounds like Magic Lantern and other things that disables some problems, you simply can't escape some of the inherent deficiencies in the audio recording chain.

One of the technical guys, possibly Jay Rose or Ty Ford or maybe Adam Wilt did a thorough technical analysis of the 5DMkii using real signal analysis techniques not long after it became so wildly popular.

The resulting professional opinion is that if you want to record audio that is of truly high quality and can stand up to the type of professional scrutiny that means it won't fail whether you're putting in on the speaker of a smart phone OR on the 5.1 surround system at the local theater - you should work double system. Period.

It's your audio, so you get to decide what's good enough.

I'll just say that I've watched and listened to audio that sounded clear, crisp and totally satisfying on a pair of headphones or on a laptop mix. Only to get put into a large audience situation with a serious sound reinforcement system and reveal itself to be thin, anemic and lacking the richness of the material that surrounded it.

If you won't ever want your audio to "go big" like that - then knock yourself out. But if you have dreams that what you work on today - may someday be valuable to a much larger audience, bite the bullet and do your audio right. It's typically carrying MORE actual communications information than your video. To cheap out on it is a huge tactical error, IMO.

My 2 cents.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 01:17 AM   #9
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

The preamps in DSLRs are generally cr@p. Auto level control etc.

I use a GH3 with a juiced link preamp. I gotta tell you it's not bad. Not as good as a proper video camera for various reasons as mentioned but records uncompressed 48k 16bit which is more than I can say for my HVR Z5 HDV camera. I'm not using it to record symphony orchestras so the quality is fine for my needs. It has 3 XLR inputs: 1 & 2 mix down to one channel and 3 on the other. You can turn off phantom power or even the entire circuits you are not using to save power. It uses a 9V battery and these suckers are expensive so I'm planning on getting rechargeables now that true 9V rechargeables are available. Because once that very bright battery warning LED comes on you better have a spare handy.

The guy from Juiced Link was talking about making a preamp with an SD recorder built in. Hope he gets this out soon, I want one.

Noa Put has a GH3 rig with a Tascam How to turn your dslr into a shouldercamera

I will put a picture up of my rig when I get home.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 07:42 PM   #10
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

So even with a GH3 you need a juicelink to get good audio?

Remember the mini handycams that you could plug a mic via an xlr adapter to 1/8 inch?

I'm looking for something like that in a DSLR, which will deliver good audio without the need for any external devices? but there's nothing out on the market I guess.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

My problem as well. For interviews in a quiet room you can get away with the audio input in the GH3 but you really need an expensive JuicedAmp or a Beachtek. The expensive ones have a AGC override circuit that can help stop the camera's audio circuit from making wild level adjustments. But the amount you pay for those you could have a Zoom H4N recorder with extra mounting accessories, save a little money and have better overall recordings. I sometimes bring my pro video camera as a b-cam, send the audio there and never use the video from it.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 10:30 PM   #12
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

Sure you can use such an adapter, or for an on camera mic Rode and others make ones that plug straight in, but for versatility, most good mics have an xlr plug and all condenser mics require power.

Mics with 1/4 or 1/8 plugs either use batteries or need "plug-in power". Rode's Lavalier is a good quality one that can work with plug-in power although I can't say I've tried it on the GH3. (No, I don't work for Rode!)

The mic input on the GH3 is stereo so if you only plug in a shotgun or lav you're only using one channel and you can't utilise the other one. I know an outboard mixer makes the camera bulkier but at least you have separate control over each channel and you can have a shotgun on the camera and a lav or radio mic at the same time.

But yes, you can plug something straight in, adjust the level and monitor with headphones without any extra bits.
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Last edited by Mark Whittle; July 5th, 2014 at 10:51 PM. Reason: add information
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Old July 5th, 2014, 10:41 PM   #13
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

To William:

Expensive? I would't call $329 expensive. This is quality USA made gear.

juicedLink RM222 Riggy-Micro Dual-XLR Preamplifier RM222 B&H

Mine's the RM333 which is $399. Still excellent value IMO.

It's all relative. Here in Australia we get ripped off for everything, and our cost of living is beyond NYC levels, so maybe we are resigned to pay whatever it costs.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 02:35 AM   #14
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

A cheap but very effective hack is the iRig hack. If you can solder will only take a few minutes to do. Google it and see.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 02:44 AM   #15
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Re: DSLR with good audio?

My GH3 rig with fhugen cage, Rode NTG-1 and Riggy Micro mixer.

There's also an arm for mounting a monitor.
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