Many times we want to record right to the camera instead of using a external audio recorder

For my main review comparing the Nikon D800 vs Canon 5D Mark III that I will release in the future I wanted to test the audio, here is a sneak peak at one of the tests I have done for the review.

Many times we want to record right to the camera instead of using a external audio recorder like the Zoom H1, so I wanted to see which camera has the quietest preamp and I also compare them to the Zoom H1.

I’ve been really happy with the Zoom H1 for only $99.

As you can hear the clear winner is the Zoom H1. The two camera’s preamp noise is so close I would almost call it a tie, but if you have to pick a winner it would be the Canon 5D Mark III.

Products Used In This Video

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Zoom H1
Zoom H1

Zoom H1

5D Mark3
5D Mark III

Canon 5D Mark III

Nikon D800


Nikon D800






  • At first I couldn’t tell the difference but when you flipped through the shots it was very evident.

    Do these have AGC? Did you turn that feature off?

    Do you think ML for the 5d would make it more comparable to the zoom?

    A good comparison, great job.

  • Why can’t they make a quieter pre-amp?
    Both cameras have a lot more electronics than the H1. The Zoom only does recording, not stills neither HD video 🙂

  • Dave, have you figured out a way to adjust the headphone volume while monitoring on the 5DM3? There has got to be a way to do that like the Nikon right? Great video, as always, thanks for doing these.

  • Hello!
    Question…I used the H4N audio recorder plugged into the 7D hoping I wouldn’t have to sync later in post. But with the auto gain audio of the 7D it wasn’t good. Even if i used a rode mic or the Zoom H4N directly into the camera i would get a lot of noise most of the time.

    With the 5D mark III would i have the same problem? i know now it has the levels control, better audio… etc… but could i plug the rode mic into the 5D mark iii and be good to go?
    If I plug the H4N directly into the camera would i have to sync later?

    Thank you very much!

  • I love the Zoom H1, but I’ve come to learn that there is no isolation from the camera when using a shoe mount. Which pretty means touching the focus ring on my lens during recording destroys my sound. Anyone else come across this, and are there any solutions?

  • @Chris

    The cheapest way is to not touch the camera 🙂

    No really, There are vibration isolators the mount to a hot shoe that are designed to hold portable recorders.

    this one is for the zoom H1

    I use a H4n in 4ch mode mounted straight to the camera. I connect a shotgun mic to get the “real” audio and use the stereo mics on the zoom for reference and filler.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.

  • I’ve heard that using a mic like the videomicpro with +20db gain can help a lot with this problem since you can turn down the levels in magic lantern (or on the native firmware on the 5dmarkiii apparently). Do you think this would help for my T2i, or should I buy an external audio recorder (a pain)?

  • Qzyxya, I have the videomic pro and use the +20db gain with my Canon 5D Mark II – sound is incredible. Often times I have the videomicpro recording plus an external recorder during interviews, and it’s very difficult to hear a difference between the two. That being said, if you have to buy the videomic pro, you might as well just buy an external recorder b/c you can do much more with it (zoom h4n is extremely versatile).