6 Best Camera Microphone Reviews & Buying Guide in 2024

Most consumer-grade cameras are capable of capturing audio in addition to video content. However, their inbuilt microphones are rarely good enough for professional use, propelling professionals and hobbyists to upgrade to external mics. 

A camera microphone may significantly improve the quality of audio in your recordings, but more importantly, these mics provide users with more options. From onboard filters and attenuation settings to selectable pickup patterns, camera mics empower filmmakers, journalists, reporters, and interviews with extra flexibility. 

We’ve handpicked the six best camera microphones that the market has to offer in 2024. Before we dive into the individual reviews, we recommend glancing at the table below for a quick reference of what we’re about to cover. 

Camera Microphone Comparison

MicrophoneDimensionsFrequency ResponseMicrophone TypeConnectivityPrice
Hollyland Lark Max1.6 x 1 x 0.8 inches20 Hz – 20 kHzWireless Lavalier MicrophoneUSB-C, 3.5 mm output jack, wireless$179
Sennheiser MKE 2002.36 x 1.54 x 2.72 inches40 Hz to 20 kHzShotgun Microphone3.5 mm output jack$77
Rode VideoMicro II0.83 x 3.15 inches100 Hz to 40 kHzShotgun Microphone3.5 mm output jack$79
Sony ECM-M12.8 x 1.6 x 2.5 inches40 Hz to 40 kHzDigital Shotgun MicrophoneUSB Shoe Mount, $348
Zoom M3 MicTrack7.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 inches20 Hz to 20 kHzShotgun Microphone3.5 mm output jack, USB-C$164
Canon DM-E1001.2 x 2.6 x 3.5 inches100 Hz to 10 kHzShotgun Microphone3.5 mm output jack$69

6 Best Camera Microphones Reviewed

  1. Hollyland Lark M2
image 711

Key Specs:

  • Measures 1.6 x 1 x 0.8 inches inches inches
  • Weighs 0.3 ounces 
  • Omnidirectional pattern 
  • Effective range of  1,000 feet
  • Battery lifespan of 19 hours (with fully charged case)
  • Frequency Response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Tiny, powerful, and remarkably versatile, Hollyland’s Lark M2 is an all-rounder that can fit virtually any application. 

The petite transmitter seamlessly attaches to most hard surfaces, completely eliminating any compatibility issues. Lark M2’s omnidirectional pattern allows users to place it anywhere on the camera and reap the benefits of quality audio & video recordings. 

M2 is also ideal for isolating the audio of subjects due to its togglable noise canceling feature. Instead of attaching the mic directly to the camera, professionals can have their “targets” wear the microphone; with ANC tech on, all surrounding noises will be kept to a minimum. 

As a wireless microphone, the Hollyland Lark M2 mic empowers users with the flexibility to take photos of clips up to 1,000 feet away and still receive consistent, predictable results.

When paired to a camera, Lark M2 can sustain up to nine hours of continuous recording, but it can continue working for ten additional hours while connected to the charging base. 

The streamlined onboard controls enable photographers and filmmakers to switch between 1 and 2-mic setups effortlessly, govern their respective volume levels, or instantly mute them when they’re not needed. 

Overall, the universal compatibility, unmatched portability, and ease of use coupled with a highly affordable price tag make Hollyland’s Lark M2 an excellent choice for photo and video professionals at all budgets. 

Pros:

  • Weighs less than half an ounce
  • Three connectivity modes
  • Up to 19 hours of continuous operation
  • Universal compatibility with all camera makes and models 
  • Expanded functionalities with the HollyView companion app

Cons:

  • Easy to misplace 
  • Relatively flimsy construction 

Price: $178

lark m2 box

Hollyland Lark M2

2-Person Wireless Mini Button Microphone.

  1. Sennheiser MKE 200
image 712

Key Specs:

  • Measures 2.36 x 1.54 x 2.72 inches
  • Weighs 1.69 ounces
  • Supercardioid pattern 
  • Inbuilt suspension mount
  • Frequency Response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz

One of the smallest shotgun microphones in the contemporary market, Sennheiser’s MKE 200 is making professional features more accessible to beginners and cash-strapped photographers with a price tag under $80. 

Beyond affordability, what MKE 200 brings to the table is exemplary precision. Famed for engineering ultra-accurate microphones, Sennheiser built this model with a super cardioid polar pattern, allowing users to capture premium quality audio generated by everything directly in front of its barrel. 

Equipped with a standard 3.5mm input socket, MKE 200 is compatible with most DSLR and standard cameras, as well as with virtually all modern mobile phones and tablets. 

Sennheiser’s MKE 200 shotgun microphone features an integrated suspension mount system that offsets incoming vibrations and localized noises; additionally, it sports integrated wind protection, shielding it from anything as minor as annoying AC hums to harsh wind noises. 

The only minor drawback of this camera microphone is the lack of customization settings. Unlike Hollyland’s Lark M2, it doesn’t have any onboard controls (or interfaces), meaning that users have to prepare the scene before filming. 

At the end of the day, the MKE 200’s superb affordability, ruggedness, and accuracy make it an excellent choice for newcomers to photography, or professionals hunting for a decent backup. 

Pros:

  • Built to last decades
  • In-built suspension mount and wind protection
  • Highly accurate polar pickup pattern 
  • Compatible with most DSLRs and standard cameras 
  • Remarkably affordable 

Cons:

  • Low customizability 
  • No ANC technology 

Price: $77

  1. Rode VideoMicro II
image 713

Key Specs:

  • Measures 0.83 x 3.15 inches
  • Weighs 1.48 ounces
  • Cardioid pattern 
  • Frequency Response from 100 Hz to 20 kHz

Rode is famous for making top-end boutique microphones, but their line of entry-level models is equally impressive and best represented by one of their latest inventions, the VideoMicro II. 

Highly portable for a shotgun microphone, although not as petite as MKE 200, VideoMicro II weighs barely over an ounce, yet packs a remarkably sturdy base. It’s constructed of premium quality aluminum materials and brandishes exceptional hardware that is extremely rare in this price range. 

Ease of use is the main selling point of Video Micro II. It comes supplied with a detachable rugged TRS cable that can be used to pair the microphone to most conventional cameras or DSLR models. 

Video Micro II has a cardioid directional pattern, picking up audio directly in front of it and from immediate flanks. Even without inbuilt ambient noise cancelation features, the microphone can shrug off unwanted sounds and deliver clear recordings, especially if the complimentary windshield is used. 

Practicality, simple connectivity options, and outstanding affordability are the main fortes of Rode’s VideoMicro II; these perks might be the most advantageous to photographers on a cash-strapped budget, although it’s perfectly suited for professional use with the right accessories. 

Pros:

  • Exceptionally cheap
  • Seamlessly pairs to most TRS-connectivity cameras 
  • Light and durable
  • Beginner-friendly design
  • Complimentary windshield 

Cons:

  • No active noise cancelation 
  • Narrower frequency response 

Price: $79

  1. Sony ECM-M1
image 714

Key Specs:

  • Measures 2.8 x 1.6 x 2.5 inches
  • Weighs 2.3 ounces
  • Multi-directional, uni-directional, omnidirectional, and super-cardioid patterns (selectable)
  • Dual-filter, four-capsule design 
  • Frequency Response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz

Many versatile camera microphones exist, but none deserves the title “Jack of All Trades” more than Sony’s ECM-M1. This microphone boasts eight selectable recording modes, courtesy of its togglable multi-directional, uni-directional, omnidirectional, and super-cardioid capsules. 

Moreover, the ECM-M1 features noise and low-cut filters to digitally reduce unwanted noises in the environment. These are selectable from the onboard “Filter” slider, which sits beside the “Attenuation” control, which can reduce incoming signals by up to 20 decibels. 

Sony’s proprietary digital sound processing technology helps Sony’s ECM-M1 stand apart from other mid-range camera microphones. By harnessing this innovative feature, this mic delivers exceptionally clear audio with consistent performance. 

From a technical standpoint, this microphone is close to perfection, but it comes at a hefty price tag. 

Pros:

  • Sony’s proprietary digital audio processing tech
  • Togglable filters
  • Easy to use
  • Eight recording modes 
  • Outstanding audio quality 

Cons:

  • Pricey

Price: $348

  1. Zoom M3 MicTrack
image 715

Key Specs:

  • Measures 7.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Weighs 4.8 ounces
  • Super-cardioid and Figure-of-8 polar patterns
  • Two microphone inputs
  • Frequency Response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Zoom’s M3 is a dual shotgun microphone system wrapped in a highly flexible package. The internal microphones are selectable, allowing users to canvas wide areas or narrow the focus to as little as 90 degrees with a tap. 

Reporters, journalists, and filmmakers alike adore this camera microphone as it consistently delivers pristinely clear results – top-quality audio with an impressive 32-bit sampling rate. Although this mic may appear bulky compared to some of the models we reviewed so far, it’s practically light as a feather at merely 4.8 ounces of weight. 

Zoom’s M3 MicTrack is a dual-channel microphone engineered to capture authentic audio recordings; professionals can do wonders with a good camera rig, but it may not be too suitable for beginners, as it features limited customization options and settings. 

Pros:

  • Two integrated shotgun mics 
  • Dual-channel audio recordings at 32-bit
  • USB and 3.5mm TRS connectivity 
  • Can be powered by AA batteries, USB, or adapter 
  • Two recording modes 

Cons:

  • A bit larger than average 

Price: $164

  1. Canon DM-E100
image 716

Key Specs:

  • Measures 1.2 x 2.6 x 3.5 inches
  • Weighs 2.26 ounces
  • Unidirectional pattern 
  • Complimentary windshield
  • Frequency Response from 100 Hz to 10 kHz

Let’s wrap up the reviews of top camera microphones with a “specialist” model. Canon’s DM-E100 brings a narrow frequency response, one-directional polar pattern, and compatibility with a short list of Canon cameras; it’s a niche pick favored by professionals who want their targets to sound as ideal as possible. 

Similar to Sennheiser’s MKE 200, Canon’s DM-E100 is a small shotgun microphone, but its frequency response covers roughly half the ground compared to the industry’s standards. This leaves the ultra-low bass and the chirpiest of highs out of the picture, resulting in clean, discernible audio. 

Canon’s fabled craftsmanship, front-focused operation, affordability, and impeccable sturdiness are just some of the many reasons why this camera is so highly sought-after. 

Pros:

  • Built of high-quality materials 
  • Fine-tuned frequency response 
  • Stellar audio quality 
  • Gratis windshield 
  • Affordable 

Cons:

  • Not overly versatile 

Price: $69

How We Ranked the Best Camera Microphones

The contemporary market is densely populated with thousands of models that could be labeled “camera microphones”. However, we’ve handpicked the ones that were specifically designed to augment the audio recording capabilities of cameras based on the following factors:

  • Portability: small, lightweight, or both, portable camera microphones are the only “ideal” options as every ounce counts when determining the stability of recordings. Moreover, lighter microphones are far more practical to use on the spot as they require minimal setup. 
  • Audio quality: given that nearly all modern-day cameras come outfitted with internal microphones, we believe that external mics need to deliver undisputably superior performance to be considered an “upgrade”. 
  • Price: camera microphones are available at almost all price ranges. We’ve chosen the best affordable, mid-range, and high-end models to ensure professionals from all backgrounds have at least one option to choose from. 
  • Connectivity: the way a camera microphone can connect to the camera system dictates the mic’s practical applications. Choose wireless models like Hollyland’s Lark Max if you’re prone to moving a lot while recording; otherwise, find a microphone that supports the connectivity methods of your camera model. 
  • Frequency Response: the range of signals a microphone can recognize is defined by its frequency response. The industry’s standard is the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, although many “specialized” options exist that support different values. 

Conclusion

A good camera microphone can boost the quality of captured audio and make for a more comprehensive video. However, the best camera microphones allow users to bring the most out of their subjects, create compelling stories, and capture the authenticity of big events. 

We hope that you’ve found an ideal camera microphone from our reviews and encourage you to consult our guide to make an informed buying decision. 

FAQs

What is a camera microphone?

A camera microphone is a microphone device attached either to the camera system or the target. These are sometimes referred to as “external” microphones as they are meant to serve as upgrades of “internal” mics built into cameras. 

Do all cameras have a microphone? Why do I need another one?

The majority of modern cameras come supplied with internal microphones, but most professionals choose to update their rig with external microphones since camera mics offer incomparably better audio quality and versatility. 

How do camera microphones connect to cameras?

Camera mics can be connected to cameras wirelessly (via Bluetooth) or with standard connection wires, such as 3.5 mm TRS or USB. 

Will camera microphones capture sounds far away? 

The range of sounds a camera will pick up depends on its polar pattern, form factor, and noise reduction features, such as ANC technology, stabilizers, and windshields.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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