Need Help Choosing Camcorder With XLR Inputs Or Without

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    • #51353

      I am trying to decide on a camcorder. I have it narrowed down to 3 and one of the 3 does not have xlr inputs, only a 3.5 mm external mic jack, but is $800 cheaper. All 3 will meet my needs.


      I am just getting started in video and have little experience. From what has been recommended to me so far in this forum and after quite a bit of research, most of the external mics I have chosen all have xlr outputs. So it seems that my only option is to go with the 2 more expensive camcorders that have the xlr inputs.


      Is this the case or is there some type of device that can act as a bridge perhaps that the mics can plug into and then the device plugs into the 3.5 mm jack on the camcorder.


      Please let me know if there is any alternative that will address this issue.



    • #204542

      Search and for these cables. You'll find lots of options.


    • #204545

      Chris – make sure you get a cable that matches the impedance between the mic and your camera – like this $25 Pearstone or this $29 Sescom


      That said, the reason you want XLR inputs is that they lock, and the connections and cables are more substantial – 3.5mm jacks don't lock and are generally flimsy.  I have used both in the field, and recommend XLR, if you can afford it.


      Good luck with your decision,



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #204549

      I have cameras with and without XLR inputs. I like the XLR better due to them locking in the camera. The XLR cables will also be less prone to problems in the field from use.

    • #204554

      XLR cables are usually shielded and balanced and are better for long cable runs as they pick up less noise. that said, you could add a small Juiced Link or Beachteck XLR adapter to the camcorder that is $800 less expensive and still come out ahead. Plus microphones with XLR connections are usually of much higher quality and many will last a lifetime.

    • #204555

      OK let me jump in, what real high level professionals do, those who do music videos and the like, is record audio seperately.


      my recommendation in equipment is to get a DSLR camera, the image quality will blow your mind on some of the upper ones, I prefer the Sony a65 for 899$ the image quality is close to full frame film in some aspects


      the audio solution is to get a tascam recorder for $188, this recorder has 2 XLR inputs, and records audio at 320kbps, it also has a headphone jack for monitoring. a higher bitrate then most camercorders record natively, then in post you use a program call plural eyes, or woowave sync, either one is fine, it just depends on what program you use to edit, these programs take the seperated audio files and video files, scan the audio waveform recorded on the camera, and replace it with the nice audio from the tascam, its almost 100% accruate.


      the additional savings from this process allows you to do things like buy counter balanced wieth camera stablizers, lighting kits, and more equipment, which is why DSLRs are so wildly popular, 2 shows on WC where shot on a DSLR, and a season of the office was shot on a DSLR


      for DSLRS i would look at


      Sonya65, sony a99, Canon 5D mrk II, Canon 7D, Sony a65 is best bang for the buck, its 899 and close to the other cameras.


      for more information look up zacutos the great camera shootout 2010 and 2011

    • #204568

      Okay, Chris . . .  you say you are just beginning to get started in video. KISS! I spect you know what that means, eh? My opinion is that beginners should start out with a good camcorder. There are fewer accessory devices required than with a DSLR. A camcorder will get you right into what you want; ie, learning about framing shots, color balance, lighting ( indoors & out ), etc. Camcorders are intuitive to a great extent.


      As for microphone connections, nearly everything said by earlier posts is true, but one important fact was left out. With very few exceptions, high quality external mics require " phantom " power. This is not possible with a mini plug. I can't say for sure that all camcorders with XLR connections can supply this mic power, but it's an important feature.


      So keep it simple and try to keep the gear to a minimum. A decent camcorder, a couple accessory mics, and a good fluid-head tripod should get you off and running. You DON'T really need an outboard audio recorder to keep track of while you're paying attention to camera duties. Minimum gear that's portable and with the least number of wires is the ticket. If you're successful in your fledgling stage and feel the need to emulate " the film look ", and don't mind all the doo-dads that have to be hung on a DSLR to make it functional, then go for it.


      Good luck! . . . and have fun!!!


      Rick Crampton

    • #210393

      I am also in the same camp of Purchasing the DSLR, YES it will be a little more complicated to setup, but in the long run, you will have MUCH HIGHER QUALITY VIDEO, more options, and seperating the Video from the Audio is ALWAYS A BETTER IDEA.


      Now I disagree on the Tascam, I think that if you are going to invest the money go with Zoom H4N or Zoom H6n, Zoom + the H6N are MUCH HIGHER END and more expensive, but you have SO MANY MORE OPTIONS, like Shotgun Mics and other attachments, that for me, it was kinda a no brainer, But the Recording options is what I love about it… You can output DIRECTLY ON THE DEVICE to Mp3, and it is just a ALL AROUND Better system… Plus if you don't like the attachments, and want to plug in your own Mics. That option exists as well, AND YOU have Phantom Power Included in the system… So in the long run, this is a FAR BETTER SETUP, with MANY MORE OPTIONS, and you can still put the XLR Adapter in between, and record up to 3 separate audio streams, among other options… The Video Capabilities on many of the higher end DSLR Camera's are currently rivaling the Professional Camcorder market, so it's a good Idea to consider just investing for the first time in a higher end DSLR, and never having to look back…

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