Digital camera microphone: Types and specs explained

Digital camera microphone is a must for content creators who are serious about their video quality. Audio can make or break a video. The video will appear amateur if there is hissing or what on-screen speakers say is hard to hear. However, it may be confusing to read the specs list if you are new to the recording world. In this article, we will explain some common specs. Keep on reading to acquire some necessary information for your recording.

Digital camera external microphone types and characteristics explained

DSLR camera microphone is popular among YouTubers, vloggers, and filmmakers with three common types. Below we explain what they are and introduce the characteristics.

Shotgun - It is in barrel shape and focus on sounds in the front

Shotgun microphone for digital video camera is in a barrel shape with directional polar pattern. It is often used in film and television production to isolate sounds from a specific direction. Shotguns can be placed on the camera to capture the target sound that the lens is focused at or attached to a boom pole. The boom enables them to get as close to the sound sources as possible while keeping the microphone itself out of frame.

Lavalier - Clip-on design enables it to stay close to talents

A lavalier microphone is a tiny condenser microphone that could be attached to a lapel to stay close to the speaker's mouth. Lavs are currently the standard choice for TV presenters and interview subjects since they are aesthetically inconspicuous and provide excellent audio quality. The headworn mic is a subset of the lav, which is either concealed in the performer's hair or on a short boom that is attached around the performer's ears. This keeps it close to the lips even when the talent is turning his head.

Handheld - Robust and dynamic for speeches and live vocals

A handheld microphone is a medium-sized microphone that is meant to be handled by the performer or attached to a stand. It is mostly utilized for tasks such as speeches and live vocals over a PA system. It is generally quite robust and dynamic, so it can tolerate a lot of abuse and does not require an external power source to function.

Basics of three commonly seen specs

When shopping for a digital camera microphone, you will see many specs on the product page. Below we talk about the three of them that are crucial for you to make choices.

Polar pattern - Clear sound capturing direction

Polar pattern explains the direction from which the digital video camera microphone can capture sounds clearly, and it varies depending on its design and intended purpose. It is similar to the audio equivalent of a lens' focal length in that it indicates how broad or narrow the pickup angle will be.

  • A cardioid polar pattern gathers sounds from the front while minimizing sounds picked up from the sides and back of the mic. It is ideal for focusing on one target sound.
  • A bidirectional polar pattern detects sounds from the front and back while blocking audio from the sides.
  • Sound is picked up from all directions by omnidirectional polar patterns.
  • There will also be hyper and super cardioid polar patterns. These are small variations on a cardioid polar pattern with a greater emphasis on sounds from the front.

Frequency response - Range of frequencies that digital camera microphone can capture

Sound waves travel through the air and are measured at a rate of cycles per second (also known as Hertz). This is the number of times the wave vibrates air molecules in one second to form a 'note.' Soundwaves range from extremely low frequencies (think of a very low tone) to very high frequencies (think of a very loud, shrill note), and a young person with excellent hearing can hear from as low as 20 cycles per second (20Hz) to a very high 20,000 cycles per second (20Hz) (20KHz).

A digital camera mono microphone should catch the frequencies humans hear in order to produce natural-sounding audio, and its frequency response indicates the lowest and highest-pitched sounds it is capable of capturing. Professional microphones frequently have a frequency response chart, which allows the user to check how the mic may 'color' the sound by increasing or decreasing sensitivity at specific frequency ranges. If the frequency response is reasonably flat over the range of human voice (about 100Hz to 8KHz), the recording will sound natural.

Power requirement: What are phantom power and plug in power?

Condenser microphone for video camera requires power to operate, thus mixing desks, field recorders, and video cameras in the professional sector include XLR mic inputs with switchable phantom power. This is delivered down the mic line to power the mic's electronics, eliminating the need for extra power supply.

Enthusiast condenser microphones require power as too, but they either utilize a battery or a different low-voltage standard known as Plug-in Power (PiP). This is delivered from the device via the digital video camera microphone input via the mic lead. Many audio recorders, camcorders, and DSLRs include this feature, thus you can utilize PiP microphones. If your DSLR only has a passive (unpowered) 3.5mm jack connector, you'll need a battery-powered one.

[For more information about specs of recording microphone for digital camera, check the article Complete guide to all basics about recording microphone.]

Table: Specs of SYNCO digital camera microphone

SYNCO, one of the quality microphone brands, had launched a series of digital camera microphones for professionals and novices. Below we list the aforementioned specs of top pick in each type.






Wireless lavalier



Polar pattern




Frequency response

20Hz - 20KHz

20Hz - 20KHz

50Hz - 20KHz

Power requirement


Phantom power