Andy Westlake tries out a small video microphone designed for compact system cameras

Rode VideoMicro on cameraRØDE VideoMicro at a glance:

  • Directional microphone for video recording
  • Comes with windshield and anti-shock mount
  • Uses plug-in power from camera
  • Price: £50
  • Website: www.rode.com

Australian company RØDE has gone on to develop a strong reputation for its high-end microphones, and its various VideoMic models have become a staple for DSLR moviemakers. Its latest design, the aptly named VideoMicro, is a very compact unit designed to match small CSCs. It is just 8cm long and weighs 42g. One reason it can be so light and small is because there’s no battery – instead, it uses ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by many cameras.

In the box, you get a fairly comprehensive kit. The Rycote mount isolates the mic from your camera, making it less prone to picking up operational sounds. Also included is a furry windshield that adds considerably to the overall bulk. However, you’ll want to use this outdoors, as without it the unit is rather susceptible to wind noise.

This is a directional microphone, so it primarily picks up sounds from in front of the camera. Its output is dual mono, feeding an identical signal to the camera’s left and right audio channels. This may seem odd when most cameras have built-in stereo mics, but it is useful when you want a more focused soundstage, such as with a monologue to camera. However, the VideoMicro lacks either a gain control or a low-cut filter to suppress background noise – both features you’ll find on more expensive, powered microphones.

RØDE VideoMicro  – key features

Rycote mount

This anti-shock mount is designed to isolate the mic from camera vibrations.

Camera mount

The mic is designed to mount onto your camera’s hotshoe. It also has a 3⁄8in screw-thread fitting.

Audio cable

A short, detachable, coiled cable connects the mic and camera using 3.5mm right-angle plugs.

RØDE VideoMicro – our verdict

With its aluminium casing, the VideoMicro is certainly nicely made, and its compact size makes it a great companion to CSCs. Compared to built-in mics it’s noticeably less susceptible to picking up operational noises during recording (such as from autofocus motors), and it does a good job of focusing on sounds in front of the camera. Audio quality is very creditable, too. Overall, it’s difficult to think of anything better for the price.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

You may also wish to consider:

Rode VideoMic ProRØDE VideoMic Pro

Price: £150

Website: www.rode.com

RØDE’S high-end on-camera microphone is designed to give broadcast-quality output. It’s a highly directional ‘shotgun’ unit that’s powered by a 9V battery.

Arzen SMX-10Azden SMX-10

Price: £90

Website: www.azden.com

The slender all-metal SMX-10 is a stereo microphone designed for DSLRs. Powered by a single AAA battery, it comes with an anti-shock mount and foam windshield.

Hahnel MK200Hähnel Mk200

Price: £100

Website: www.hahnel.ie

This mono-directional mic has dual anti-shock mounts and a three-position gain control, with a handy LED to warn of potential audio clipping.