Zoom’s New H5: One of the Best Affordable DSLR Microphones Yet


One of the best thing about DSLR cameras is that they’ve made professional filmmaking become more and more affordable for the kids that wish to pursue it. But when your camera has the ability to shoot videos with quality that’s good enough for even filming House, M.D., you want to make sure your sound can match up with it. There’s nothing worse than having an outstanding looking film become completely pointless because of its sound quality, and the microphones that come built in DSLRs don’t really help that at all.

Luckily, there’s companies that offer both expensive and cheap solutions to that; one of them is Zoom, who delve into the latter. The microphones the company has offered give great sound quality for the prices they come at, and they’re expanding their catalogue with the newly announced Zoom H5.


Last year, Zoom released the H6, an upgrade to the H4N; while the features it packed were hands-down as good as it gets, the $400 price tag was a big jump compared to the other products in Zoom’s line of microphones. The new H5 comes in the middle and forms a welcomed balance, retaining the essential elements of the H6 while getting rid of things like a colored screen, in favor of a monochromatic one.





With 96 khz 24 bit audio recording, the quality the H5 presents is precisely what DSLR filmmakers need, and Zoom offers it at a price tag of $270. If you’ve been looking for a microphone that’ll give you a great on-set sound on a frugal budget, this is where you should stop searching. This microphone is basically targeted directly towards DSLR videographers. You can pick one up one of these guys in June, or preorder it at B&H right now.

As for me, when I talk about this company, I’m speaking from experience. I’ve been using the Zoom H1 for a few months on my setup; even at its cost of $100, it’s been nothing but great. The quality’s definitely less compared to its stronger siblings, but there wasn’t anything I couldn’t solve through a bit of editing. If you’re running a bit tighter on cash right now, I’d suggest giving the H1 a go, as well.

Full Specs:

  • Uses a system of interchangeable input capsules that can be swapped out as easily as the lens of a camera
  • Includes detachable X/Y capsule (XYH-5) with extended signal capacity and shockmounted mics for reduced handling noise
  • Compatible with all Zoom input capsules
  • Four-track simultaneous recording
  • Large backlit LCD display
  • Records directly to SD and SDHC cards up to 32GB
  • Up to 24-bit/96kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or a variety of MP3 formats
  • Two mic/line inputs with XLR/TRS combo connectors each with selectable phantom power and -20dB pad
  • Analog-style gain controls for each input
  • Protective “roll-bar” type covers prevent accidental movement of gain controls
  • Plug-in power (2.5 volts)
  • Built-in effects, including low-cut filtering, compression and limiting
  • Chromatic tuner and metronome
  • Auto-record, Pre-record and Backup-record functions mean that you’ll never miss that perfect take MS decoding
  • Multitrack to stereo internal mixdown
  • Normalize, Divide and Trim editing
  • Voice memo and up to 99 marks per recording
  • A/B loop playback
  • Variable playback speed and variable pitch without affecting playback speed
  • Multichannel and stereo USB audio interface for PC/Mac/iPad with loop back function
  • Mountable directly to DSLR or camcorder with optional HS-01 Hot Shoe Mount adapter
  • Uses two standard AA alkaline or NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • Over 15 hours of operation with alkaline batteries

Either way, what do you guys think about the new mic? Any Zoom users already out there that have something to say? Drop by and let us know!

[Via SLR Lounge]

  • http://www.nastyclamps.com/ Mister Nasty Clamps

    I love my Zoom H4N, and use it on a fairly regular basis, but I’ll be making that upgrade to the H5 as soon as possible. Having interchangeable mic capsules AND built-in shock mounts for the mics is pretty damn smart. And the “roll bar” over the level adjustment knobs –– in fact, having level adjustment knobs instead of the H4N’s audio rocker switch –– is both genius and a much needed improvement.

    I do have to make one comment regarding the price, which is that $270 is an absolute bargain for such a high-end equipment piece of equipment. Myself, I’ve worked in and around the production biz’ for nearly thirty years, and I remember (gladly) dishing out $3000 for a used, mono, reel-to-reel audio recorder (the original Nagra 4.2). Later, I spent close to $9000 on a portable, stereo DAT recorder with time-code. $270 is chump change.

    • Maaz Khan

      Damn… All of this is really pressuring me to pre-order it.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/96789090@N02/with/10411567113/ Cédric Hauteville

    I bought a Zoom H6 recently, and I’ve used an H4N a few times. The usability on the H6 is so much better that it alone is worth the extra money. Looks like it’s the same for the H5, so it would be a no brainer compared to the H4N. One thing missing from the specs is the phantom power capability, though.

    Another thing that may be important to some is that according to the specs, the H5 isn’t SDXC compatible, while the H6 is.

    • dave e.

      Read again…

      “• Two mic/line inputs with XLR/TRS combo connectors each with selectable phantom power and -20dB pad “

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/96789090@N02/with/10411567113/ Cédric Hauteville

        I’ve read again, and it doesn’t say which voltages are available.

  • https://www.facebook.com/FindMyShoot FindMyShoot

    love it

  • RBX

    hmmm, although all the specs check out and make it very tempting. I’m not a fan of the shape. Granted it’s still designed more as standalone recording device than being a dedicated DSLR mic however I don’t like how it sticks so far backwards that it hangs over the screen so much. Even with a screen loupe it still looks like it would get in the way somewhat. I think ill stick with my Rhode VideoMic.

  • dave e.

    I think, for about $60 more, I’d rather spring for the TASCAM DR60. Not that I have any issue with ZOOM products – I’ve heard a few of them and was quite impressed – but the TASCAM has a better layout and is designed to go UNDER the DSLR, which I find much more acceptable.
    Still, this is a good thing, this ZOOM unit….