Top positive review
Exceptional sound, excellent for high SPL but still quite sensitive
January 29, 2015
I intended to use my Nikon D5300 for video as well as still shots. In particular, I wanted to use it to take video of live music shows. However, my initial efforts using the camera's built-in stereo microphones were in a word, dismal. The microphones in the camera had a very narrow frequency range with a noticeable notch in the middle, as well as virtually nonexistent stereo separation. I knew I needed to do better.
I did quite a bit of research, initially thinking I would go with a shotgun stereo mic, but after reading multiple reviews, decided to go with this Tascam mic. I already had a handheld Tascam digital recorder with very similar mics that made exceptional recordings. I had read several reviews complaining about the plastic shoes on this mic breaking. I figured I would do my best not to bash the mic when mounted (primarily on tripods when taking video) so that this would not be an issue.
The mic arrived, I noticed the box looked like it had been opened before. However, the mic inside was fully packaged. I unpacked it, and first looked at the boom/extension. When I picked it up, the shoe fell off of it. Looking closer, the piece of plastic connecting the shoe to the rest of the boom was in fact broken.
I figured I would use the mic to do testing, and when I picked it up, the shoe fell of it as well! It too had been broken. Obviously someone had broken the shoes on both the boom and the mic, then returned it - it had been refurbished (i.e. repackaged) and shipped out to me (by Amazon) as new! I was extremely unimpressed with this.
To Amazon's credit, they had a replacement (new, this time) unit in my hands two days later, and paid for the return of the broken unit. I then got to use the new mic for the first time that weekend.
The results: spectacular! The difference in sound between the on-camera mics and this external mic are like night and day. The on-camera mics sound muddy and tonally narrow, with limited dynamics. The Tascam mic produces excellent sound, quite flat and with very good dynamics. The stereo imaging was excellent, and there was no evidence of overmodulation, despite the high SPL at the event.
My tests in a quiet room with these mics on my D5300 did produce an audible noise floor in the form of hiss, at probably -30dB. Some other reviews attribute this to the mics, however I tried plugging the mics into my Tascam recorder, and the hiss was not evident. Therefore I attribute the hiss to the preamp and/or phantom power supply inside the D5300, not the microphones themselves. When recording any kind of decent audio levels the hiss is not evident however.
With the boom installed, the sounds of autofocus motors in the lens are barely audible in recordings, and then only when the surrounding area is extremely quiet. Again, when recording any kind of audio level, autofocus motor noise will not be an issue.
Overall I am very pleased with the sound of these mics. I will continue to be vigilant in handling the mics when mounted to the camera to try to avoid the shoe breakage issue that is so clearly a problem with them. That said, the manner in which I saw them broken could very likely be easily fixed with application of some epoxy.