Recording good sound with your DSLR can be done. First, understand the built-in camera microphone is almost worthless. It can be useful if all else fails or to sync two-system sound but very little beyond that. Recording sound separately (two-system) with a high quality recorder can produce great sound but comes at the cost of additional recording keeping during the shoot, turning on and off two separate systems for each shot and additional edit time even with automatic syncing software.
So how to get the best sound possible with in-camera synced sound? First start with a professional quality microphone like one of the Sennheiser ME series condenser microphones such as the ME66 short shotgun with the K6 power module or the EW 100 G3 wireless system.
Then use a quality XLR cable to connect it to the camera. But wait, there is no XLR input on DSLRs. So to get the XLR cable to work with your DSLR you need an adapter.
Some of the best adapters out there are the Beachtek DXA-5Da and DXA-SLR. Harry Kaufmann of Beachtek was kind enough to describe the differences between the Beachtek DXA-5Da and DXA-SLR. “Both adapters work on any DSLR camera. The only reason that the DXA-5Da is named as it is is because it was originally designed for the Canon 5D. However, it will work equally well on the 7D or any of the other Canon, Panasonic or Nikon cameras. “
“The DXA-5Da is a passive device which means it does not provide any amplification or phantom power. The passive circuitry keeps things very simple as there is no electronics to get it the way – it uses simple balancing transformers so it is very robust and completely noise free for superb audio. It can also operate with no battery. It is ideal for sensitive mics like the Sennheiser ME66, Rode VideoMic Pro, wireless mics or as an interface to a mixing board – in these cases no amplification or phantom power are required. The DXA-SLR is a much more sophisticated active device which has built-it low noise preamps and phantom power so it can be used with virtually any microphone.”
Photos courtesy of Beachtek
Both can disable the AGC and let you set the audio levels manually. So, if your microphone is a condenser type and you can power it with a battery in the microphone or inside the XLR cable the Beachtek DXA-5Da is a good choice. If you need to power the microphone from the adapter or to boost the amplification of a less sensitive microphone then the Beachtek DXA-SLR is the right choice.
You can get more information on the Beachtek site at http://www.beachtek.com/ and Sennheiser site at http://www.sennheiserusa.com/.