If you have invested in a good digital SLR or more modern mirrorless camera for video purposes, the built-in microphone is likely to leave you disappointed. Internal microphones are often tinny, too quiet, and offer little in the way of level adjustment.

To capture proper directional audio, you'll want to invest in a shotgun microphone. These are usually mounted in the hot shoe connector on top of your camera body and can be angled or held off-camera to pick up optimal audio.

It can be tough to decide just which one you should buy, so here are a few of the best shotgun mics available today.

Premium pick

1. RØDE VideoMic Pro

9.00 / 10
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The RØDE VideoMic Pro has a frequency range from 40Hz-20kHz, and features a two-stage high pass filter and three-stage gain control at -10dB, 0dB, and +20dB. This shotgun microphone is powered by a single 9V battery, which will give you 70 hours of recording when using a disposable alkaline battery. You can supply your own rechargeable 9V, but you won't get anywhere near 70 hours from it.

The VideoMic Pro is a broadcast-quality microphone and can be mounted using your camera's shoe mount. It also comes with a 3/8-inch thread for boompole connections. You'll get the usual shock mount for eliminating noise caused by sudden movements, and a 10-year warranty for registering your microphone too.

Key Features
  • Connection via 3.5mm jack
  • Condenser microphone
  • Unidirectional
Specifications
  • Brand: RØDE
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Power: Battery
  • Battery: 9V
  • Audio Sensitivity: -32dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • 10-year warranty upon registration
  • Frequency range from 40Hz-20kHz
  • Three-stage gain control at -10dB, 0dB, and +20dB
Cons
  • Powered by a disposable battery rather than an internal rechargeable one
Editors choice

2. RØDE VideoMic NTG

9.60 / 10
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RØDE VideoMic NTG is a shotgun mic that blends the convenience of the VideoMic range with the broadcast-quality audio of RØDE's professional NTG line. The critical feature for content producers is that the VideoMic NTG features the same annular line tube technology as the NTG5. The mic is portable, clocking in at just 94g.

To increase durability, the exterior of the microphone is made of rugged aerospace-grade aluminum. It is suitable for cameras and mobile devices thanks to the auto-sensing 3.5mm jack. The VideoMic NTG should last up to 30 hours and can be recharged using the USB-C port. You can also monitor your audio recordings using the USB-C port, too.

If you're interested in learning more before making your choice, check out our overview of the RØDE VideoMic NTG.

Key Features
  • Same annular line tube technology as the NTG5
  • Portable at just 94g
  • Connection via USB-C to 3.5mm jack cable
Specifications
  • Brand: RØDE
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Power: Internal battery, rechargeable
  • Battery: 350mAh
  • Audio Sensitivity: -26dB
  • Connector: USB-C to 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Can also be used as a USB microphone
  • Rechargeable battery lasts up to 30 hours
  • Monitor recordings via the USB-C port
Cons
  • One of the most expensive options
Best value

3. RØDE VideoMicro

9.00 / 10
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The RØDE VideoMicro is a compact shotgun microphone with a focus on portability and affordability. It achieves this by not including a battery inside the microphone. Instead, the device is fully-powered by your camera. This makes it well-suited for shorter video sessions. However, you would either need to carry additional camera batteries or opt for an alternative microphone for more extended periods of video.

The condenser microphone is just 42g and comes with a windshield for outdoor use. The internal suspension system is made of thermoplastic, which allows the mic to minimize unwanted vibrations and avoid noise generated by cables. Due to its design focus, you won't achieve studio-level quality with this mic, but the audio captured will be a vast improvement over your camera's built-in microphone.

Key Features
  • Connection via 3.5mm jack
  • Cardioid condenser microphone
Specifications
  • Brand: RØDE
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Power: 2V-5V
  • Battery: None, powered by camera
  • Audio Sensitivity: -33dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Comes with a windshield
  • Only weighs 42g
Cons
  • An improvement over built-in microphones, but still not the highest quality audio recordings
  • No internal battery

Despite being pricey, the Canon DM-E1 is worth mentioning as it's not just a shotgun microphone. There are actually three modes to choose from; shotgun, 90 degrees, and 120 degrees of audio capture. With the flick of a switch, you can go from traditionally narrow shotgun capture to much wider stereo modes for capturing larger groups.

With a frequency response of 50Hz to 16kHz, the DM-E1 doesn't quite match the wide range of the VideoMic Pro Plus. It includes its own windscreen and shock-proof mount. The mic uses a single button-type lithium cell battery for power, so it should work with any camera. Connect it to your camera with the standard 3.5mm jack.

Key Features
  • Frequency response of 50Hz to 16kHz
  • Connection via 3.5mm jack
Specifications
  • Brand: Canon
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Directional
  • Power: Battery
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Audio Sensitivity: -42dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Three modes; shotgun, 90 degrees, and 120 degrees
  • Comes with a windshield
Cons
  • An expensive choice
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If you're after a budget-friendly option, consider the TAKSTAR SGC-598. This model is one of the best-selling affordable shotgun microphones on the market. You can pick it up for way less than even the cheapest RØDE, and it comes with a windscreen and shock-resistant mount in the box.

The 568 offers a frequency response between 50Hz and 16kHz, with a 10dB gain boost. A single AA battery powers it, so it should work with most cameras. It might not offer the best sound quality, but it's hard to complain, considering the cost.

Key Features
  • Unidirectional
  • Powered by a single AA battery
  • Connection via a 3.55mm jack
Specifications
  • Brand: TAKSTAR
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Power: Battery
  • Battery: 1x AA
  • Audio Sensitivity: -32dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Comes with a windshield and shock-resistant mount
  • Frequency response between 50Hz and 16kHz
  • 10dB gain boost

You can't beat an external recorder for absolute peace of mind when it comes to sound capture. The Zoom F1-SP is a bundle that features a field recorder, shotgun microphone, windscreen, shock-mount, and it supports micro-SDHC memory cards up to 32GB.

The included SGH-6 microphone offers hyper-directional audio capture via the included Zoom F1 field recorder. The F1 can capture up to 24-bit/96kHz audio in WAV format. You can switch out the microphone attachment with aftermarket Zoom microphones to get even more life out of your audio setup.

Key Features
  • Compatible with all Zoom mic capsules
  • External recorder
  • Bundle including a field recorder, shotgun microphone, windscreen, and shock-mount
Specifications
  • Brand: Zoom
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Power: Battery
  • Battery: 2x AAA
  • Audio Sensitivity: -39dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Can store recordings up to 32GB on a memory card
  • Is able to capture up to 24-bit/96kHz audio in WAV format
Cons
  • Despite requiring two batteries, battery life not the best
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The VideoMic GO is the lightest on-camera shotgun mic in the range. Weighing only 73g, this microphone requires no battery since it draws power from the camera it is connected to. As a result, the VideoMic GO won't work with all cameras, so make sure you check RØDE's product description to ensure compatibility before you buy.

Like the other RØDE microphones on this list, the GO comes with a windjammer and Rycote Lyre shock mount. It connects using a 3.5mm mini-jack and includes a two-year warranty when you register your product.

Key Features
  • Supercardioid
  • Connects via 3.55mm jack
  • Frequency range from 100Hz to 16kHz
Specifications
  • Brand: RØDE
  • Type: Condenser
  • Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Power: Powered by camera
  • Battery: None, powered by camera
  • Audio Sensitivity: -35dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm jack
Pros
  • Weighs just 73g
  • Comes with a windjammer and Rycote Lyre shock mount
  • Two-year warranty following registration
Cons
  • Due to power requirements, won't work with all cameras

FAQ

Q: What Are the Two Types of Mic?

Microphones are generally divided into two categories; condenser microphones and dynamic microphones. The two types often look externally the same, but the internal technology used to capture audio is different.

A condenser mic uses a capacitor and requires phantom power. On the other hand, a dynamic microphone has a coil inside a magnetic field. If you want to know more about the types, take a look at our guide to condenser and dynamic microphones.

Q: Is a Shotgun Mic a Condenser Microphone?

Generally, shotgun microphones are also condenser mics. This type of microphone is best for picking up a wide range of frequencies and allowing for the most comprehensive sound recording. When recording video, you want to capture audio that represents the entire scene, rather than only a specific frequency.

Q: What Is a Shotgun Mic Used For?

Shotgun microphones are designed to attach to your video camera, allowing you to capture higher quality audio than you would with the camera's internal microphone. Your camera's mic is designed to pick up as broad a sound as possible. However, in capturing this audio, it also records unwanted background noise.

Shotgun microphones are narrow and are sometimes called interference microphones as they are intended to pick up sounds from directly in front of them, which is often the direction in which you are recording video.

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