In the world of run-and-gun videography, reliability reigns supreme.
Perhaps the most valuable tool in a filmmaker's arsenal has been a hyper-reliable camera-attachable shotgun microphone. Sure, you might want to double up on recording devices when shooting interviews or the like, but having a shotgun attached and ready to go for all your B-roll and as a backup for any interviews is hugely helpful in almost any situation.
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While the cameras we use today have changed since the days of the Canon 7D, the attachable shotgun microphone game has pretty much remained the same. There are a few variations to consider depending on your camera and setup, but as long as you’re still looking to take your DSLR or mirrorless camera on the run and care about capturing higher quality audio, these are our recommendations.
Best Overall: RØDE VideoMic NTG
The VideoMic NTG is a broadcast-grade, feature-packed shotgun microphone optimised for on-camera use. It features the same revolutionary acoustic design as the NTG5 broadcast shotgun microphone, which delivers unmatched transparency and a natural sound.
- Flat Frequency Response
- dB Peak warning light
- Prefer Removable Battery
The RØDE VideoMic NTG Hybrid Analog/USB Camera-Mount Shotgun Microphone is the very best option available today.
With the RØDE VideoMic NTG, you’re going to have the standard RØDE ease-of-use and attachment, along with some of the best sound quality currently on the market. You also get digital tone controls, continuously variable gain, and focused directivity—plus an internal USB-rechargeable battery that can last up to 30 hours.
And while cameras may be making strides with their internal audio recording, we highly recommend this RØDE VideoMic NTG for standard use on everything from Canon DSLRs to the latest Sony mirrorless cameras to other up-and-coming cameras from the likes of Panasonic, Fujifilm, and Blackmagic Design.
You can approach using this RØDE VideoMic NTG in one of two ways. The first being a true plug-and-play option where you simply attach it, turn everything to auto, and feel safe and secure that it can handle just about any and every situation. Or you can actually use it as—you know—a shotgun microphone and work with manual controls in your camera.
You can also use it with your audio recorder of choice along with using it with a bonafide or DIY boom pole to get targeted and direct audio recording for narrative shorts or whatever else your filmmaking heart may desire.
The only negative aspect that we can think to point to is the price, which really isn’t that expensive at all compared to the higher-end shotgun mics on the market. Overall, this microphone will be your best bet for the best quality that you’ll find for an attachable camera microphone.
Table of Contents
- Best Overall: Rode VideoMic NTG
- How We Picked
- Best Reliable: VideoMic Go
- Best Value: Rode VideoMicro
- Best Alternative: Deity V-Mic D3 Pro
- Best Upgrade Pick: Shure VP83F
- Final Thoughts
How We Picked
Along with the RØDE VideoMic NTG, the following selections are your best bets for recording quality audio while on the run. As mentioned above, an attachable shotgun microphone will never truly be a better option than working with a real boom pole setup or with quality lapel microphones, but these are your best options to serve in a pinch or as an additional source of audio.
We've used several of these over the years and can say that the brands featured are the absolute best in this department. You really can’t go wrong with any of these options on this list, nor can you ever really consider one of these microphones to be a superfluous investment as they are so cheap, handy, and helpful for just about any film or video production.
We've never heard of another videographer or filmmaker who is annoyed at the prospect of recording better audio directly in-camera, which is the usual way in which one of these attachable shotgun mics will be used. So check out these options, pick the right one for you, then plug it in and get to shooting.
Best Reliable: RØDE VideoMic Go
Compact and light weight by design, the VideoMic GO delivers clear, crisp, directional audio with incredible ease of use. Its tight pickup area focuses directly in front of the microphone and reduces other surrounding sounds, ensuring that your subject is isolated from distracting background noise.
- Directional Microphone
- No Battery Required
- Very Light
- Short Range Only
- Possible Interference with Cell Phones
While the RØDE VideoMic NTG might be our top pick, it’d be hard to argue against considering the RØDE VideoMic GO as your best and most reliable option. And for anyone who has grown up or honed their career during the DSLR revolution, this version of RØDE VideoMic is pretty much synonymous with the Canon 5D and other similar DSLRs that have packed just about all the run-and-gun filmmaking needs you might need minus quality in-camera audio.
And while the GO might not have as much power or controls as the NTG, it actually is superior in terms of ease-of-use and flexibility as it runs on your camera’s power and is truly the plug-and-record option. It’s also about as durable as they come. Don’t let its plastic feeling trick you as it's very flexible. I’ve dropped mine many times over the years, and it always bounces back.
For just about any mirrorless or DSLR option currently on the market, the RØDE VideoMic GO will be easy to mount, the cord will always reach comfortably, and your audio should be immediately improved for just about any shooting needs.
At a price point $150 cheaper than the NTG, it’s hard to say that this certainly might be the better value as well, especially if you’re looking for just slightly improved audio for internet videos, vlogs, or as a backup for other audio sources.
Best Value: RØDE VideoMicro
The VideoMicro is a compact microphone designed to improve the audio quality of your videos. It incorporates a high-quality cardioid condenser microphone capsule for great quality audio recordings when used with a wide range of cameras.
- Shock Mount Included
- No Battery Required
- All Metal Body
- Short Range Only
- Handling Noise
Moving down in price point from the NTG and the GO, we also have to consider the RØDE VideoMicro as your most ultra-compact option that still packs plenty of reliability and ease-of-use as its higher scale siblings. In today’s market, both cameras and gear are continuing to get lighter, smaller, and more DIY. The VideoMicro reflects these industry trends offering an upgrade in audio recording at a low budget and with a similar tiny design.
The VideoMicro might not record audio at the same high clip as the NTG, and it might not be as reliable as the GO, with both being a bit bigger and sturdier, but the VideoMicro might be just the right size and price for those who are looking for the most affordable value to help out their audio needs.
It also would be a great option for any smartphone videographers or video journalists who are looking to capture interviews while on the run and often with only one hand available. With its smaller size, it gets easier to use for selfie-style production and vlogs as you can easily flip it around and it doesn’t take up much space while attached to your camera at all.
Best Alternative: Deity V-Mic D3 Pro
The V-Mic D3 Pro will work with a phone, tablet, DSLR, body pack transmitters – just about anything with a 3.5mm microphone jack.
- Super Cardioid
- Rycote Mount Included
- Smart 3.5mm TRRS Cable
- Possible Interference w/ Cell Phones
We can’t only feature RØDE microphones on our list, as there certainly are other great players in the audio or video industry. One example is the Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro, which I’ve seen quite regularly over the years as probably the biggest competitor and best alternative to any of the RØDE microphones mentioned above. It’s probably most comparable to the VideoMic NTG, but at a stronger price point almost $100 cheaper.
And it actually boasts some better specs in terms of battery life with its 51-hour rechargeable battery and some competitive yet similar functions for noise distortion and filters.
Again, these attachable shotgun mics like the V-Mic D3 Pro will be great for DIY documentaries, vlogs, or internet videos that won’t be used on large screens or other run-and-gun projects where better than internal audio is needed but high-end production audio isn’t.
Best Upgrade Pick: Shure VP83F
Packaged into lightweight shotgun design with all-metal construction, you’re sure to appreciate the legendary durability standards of the VP83F.
- Stereo XY and MS
- 2x Batteries
- microSD Card
- More Expensive
If it's not broke, don't fix it. The original Shure VP83 was introduced several years ago and is still popular among those with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for its compact form and great-sounding acoustics. With its success, Shure released the better performing VP83F. What's improved with the "F" version is the mic has great RF rejection, eliminating interference from mobile devices and other RF devices. If you're a vlogger or shoot in locations that you can't control, it's most likely you'll run into a ringing cell phone. The Shure VP83F eliminates any interference that may bleed into the track.
What's also great about the VP83F is it has a handy onboard microSD card slot. So if you simply want to use it at the end of a boom pole or as a plant mic, you don't need to plug it into a camera to record the sound. Cool.
Ultimately, deciding on what shotgun microphone is right for you is going to come down to which one is the best match for your camera as well as your shooting style and needs. We'd obviously argue that any option on this list is going to be better than the camera's internal microphone. That said, you can't go wrong with any of them to add to your camera bag.