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A 3-in-1 microphone for Canon DSLRs

Announced with the EOS 80D DSLR, the first directional stereo microphone from Canon for the EOS system is similar to the microphones available for its video cameras, but dedicated to DSLRs.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

Designed to complement the movie quality of the EOS range, the Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1 is a versatile microphone that can be used to capture a range of subjects with better sound quality than the built-in microphone usually present in DSLRs.

According to Canon, the DM-E1 is a compact stereo directional microphone providing exceptional performance for when high-quality sound matters just as much as the visuals. The design of this new model is similar to the DM-E100 used with Vixia camcorders from Canon. Although smaller, this new unit will cost you more, as the suggested price for the DM-E1 is $249.99 against $189.95 for the DM-E100.

 

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

I’ve tried to get one unit from Canon, for testing, as I am curious about this alternative, but the price tag might be a reason for some to look elsewhere. Still, if what Canon says is true – and I’ve no reason to think otherwise – the DM-E1 may be a good asset to have around if you do video with your DSLR. Canon indicates that the microphone, with a classic shotgun design, features “three directional sound pick-up modes, the DM-E1 provides the ability to adjust the microphone to capture in three different directional patterns. The monaural shotgun mode is best suited for capturing a sound source directly in front of the camera, such as a presenter or reporter, providing some isolation from other sounds from within their environment. Switching to the 90 and 120 degree modes provides stereo sound for sources that are spread over wider areas, such as an orchestra in a concert hall.”

If your creativity brings you outside, the microphone also comes with a Wind Screen to help keep wind noise to a minimum. Canon says that whether you’re looking to create your masterpiece movie, record a concert or simply capture the sights and sounds of nature, the Directional Microphone DM-E1 pairs wonderfully with a Canon EOS digital camera to help you achieve phenomenal audio for your video.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

If this really is a “one size fits all” in terms of microphones for DSLRs – or at least a microphone suitable for multiple subjects – then the price tag may just be alright. From my recent experiences with the EOS 80D and the EOS 5DS R cameras from Canon, I found that the built-in microphones do behave better than in earlier models (also depending on where you use them), but nothing compares, yet, to a good external microphone.

Another interesting aspect of the DM-E1 is the in-built shock mount, which elevates the microphone away from the camera body, meaning noise from camera operations and lens zoom are effectively reduced, whilst wind noise is avoided thanks to the windshield. With a 50Hz to 16kHz sound frequency range pick-up, the microphone can capture a wide tonal range, while the 66dB S/N ratio and -42db sensitivity means users have a sensitive microphone with minimal distortion.

Perfectly compact, with 1.57 x 3.31 x 5.12 in. (that’s 40.0 x 84.0 x 130.0mm) and a weight close to 3.88 oz. / 110g  for the main body only, the Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1 is one of the smallest and lightest microphones of its kind, making it  ideal for those on the move. A single CR2032 Lithium battery makes it come to life.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

The unit can be used with a wide range of compatible Canon EOS cameras offering a 3.5mm audio jack connection. Canon mentions only two models that are not compatible: EOS-1D Mark IV and EOS 550D which are not recommended as they do not feature manual volume control.

The in-built shock mount ensures noise from camera operations and lens zoom are effectively reduced, whilst wind noise is avoided thanks to the windshield. With a 50Hz to 16kHz sound frequency range pick-up, the microphone can capture a wide tonal range, while the 66dB S/N ratio and -42db sensitivity means users have a sensitive microphone with minimal distortion.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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Corey Beazer

Looking forward to some reviews on this unit.