Why no cameras with really good mic built in?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Klarno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,233
Because the single most important thing for good audio...

Andrew Butterfield wrote:

I was thinking the other day that it's surprising no camera maker has so far really made much of an effort with the microphones built in to their cameras. We all know that to get really good sound, you need an external microphone, but what a pain they are.

It would be a great differentiator for, say, Olympus, who have some experience with audio, if they had a microphone built in to their camera that was so good it made adding an external mic unnecessary for most people. Not for pros of course, but the rest of us who just want decent sound without fuss. How about, instead of a pop-up flash, a pop-out shotgun mic, with really good sound quality? Seems an ignored area at a time when video is becoming so crucial

The single most important thing for good audio is that the microphone needs to be isolated from vibrations, because otherwise they pick up everything passing through them and it’s not good. This is why external mics for video cameras pretty much universally have some sort of shock mount—they prevent vibrations affecting the camera from reaching the mic.

With the relatively small form factor of ILCs that shoot video, it doesn’t really matter so much how good the mic itself is, a mic built into the camera with no sort of shock absorber is going to pick up every button press, every tap on the screen, every movement of the strap even. All of these sounds are going to translate very distractingly into the audio being recorded.

From there a shock mount is a major point of failure. They are delicate and break fairly easily. I’d really just as soon have it separate from the camera.

The next most important thing for mic quality is having the right recording pattern. Super cardioid mics make a lot of sense for general use on an ILC, they do an okay job suppressing reverberation when recording indoors, and they mainly pick up what’s in front of the camera, but they need to be pretty big at the same time. High quality mic condensers can be made almost arbitrarily small, but then they pick up basically everything happening around them—including the breathing of the photographer.

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