Shure LensHopper Shotgun Condenser Mic (VP83F)
Available online only
- Designed for use with DSLR cameras and HD camcorders
- Integrated digital flash recording allows you to capture WAV files at 24-bit and 48kHz sampling rate
- Supercardioid/lobar polar pattern records highly directional audio that reduces unwanted off-axis noise
- Dedicated headphone audio output to monitor your recording in real-time
- High sensitivity and low self-noise with wide frequency range for faithful sound reproduction
- Intuitive menu and one-button recording function ensure easy operation
- MicroSD card slot (up to 32GB) provides easy card access and ample space to store your recordings
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Of the 26 reviewers who responded, 25 would recommend this product.
Averages based on how reviewers feel this product performs.
- Must have for a DSLR- May 13, 2021
[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] If your are serious about recording video with your DSLR (or mirrorless) camera at all - you pretty much have to get an external microphone. Camera internal mic is typically noisy, picks up all camera sounds and not sensitive enough. Shure is a well know microphone maker (SM7B is pretty much a gold standard in podcasting) so I was super excited to try their camera mounted microphone! Mic goes on top of the camera into the hot shoe (where flash normally goes) and connects to the camera microphone input via 3.5mm cable (included). Microphone output is a dual mono, unbalanced. Not only this dramatically improves sound quality and makes it possible to record a person standing 10ft away from the camera, but it also cuts down on the noise significantly! This is a shotgun microphone with a pop/wind filter attached to it, it's capable of recording sound frequencies 50Hz to 20kHz. Microphone gain is adjustable 0 to 60 points with 1 point increment, there is a low-cut filter (on/off) which rolls off frequencies below 170Hz 12dB per octave (useful to remove wind noise), however in a windy conditions - wind screen is recommended (model number A83-FUR). Microphone is powered by 2 AA batteries, battery chemistry can be selected in the menu (Alcaline, NiMH or Lithium) so you have accurate lifetime representation. All settings done on the on-board LCD screen and a 5 position joystick. What if you prefer to record sound separately? You don't need a recorder with this mic! It has a micro SD card slot which can hold cards up to 32Gb and record up to 64 hours of sound! SD card recording and camera output are active at the same time, camera output level is independently adjustable as well (LOW, MED, HIGH). Live monitoring is possible via on-board headphone monitoring port (output level is adjustable 0 to 60 with 1 step increments). Overall - microphone quality and amount of possible adjustments is impressive! It can be used without a camera too (just as a standalone recorder), just use the 1/4" mount at the bottom.Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
- Solid sound, slightly dated design- May 12, 2021
[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] Pros Long battery life Uses regular AA batteries Can record to microSD MicroSD recording bypasses preamp issues Can dual record to camera and microphone Includes audio monitoring passthrough Can record audio independently Low-cut filter option filters out camera noises Excellent off axis sound rejection Excellent RF protection Integrated shock mount Cons Small, recessed screen can be difficult to read Using click buttons on isolated microphone is awkward Battery door latch is hard to release with larger fingers Battery orientation graphics are hard to see Screen and button design feels antiquated Screen is angled an inset making using at or near head level hard Shure was around long before vlogging was a thing. While there are an increasing number of new vlogging products and microphones, the Shure VP83F is a seasoned offering in camera mounted condenser microphones with the design going as far back as at least 2013. It is uncertain if any changes have been made over the years. It seems unlikely as even the firmware hasn’t progressed beyond 1.0.9 during this time. This might be concerning except that Shure has been designing microphones for so long they have mostly worked out the general design. It has an integrated shock mount system and includes a foam windscreen. Unfortunately, the Windjammer (dead cat) isn’t included. Setup and Performance Getting started is pretty straightforward. Just add batteries and, in most cases, attach it to the hot shoe mount of the camera. The main choice you have is if you want to pass the audio through to the camera for recording or use an SD card to store recordings and bypass the in-camera preamp. If you decide to record the audio in camera, others have recommended turning gain as far down as possible on the camera an only use the gain control on mic. Others have said it is possible to pass audio through as well as record it to the SD card at the same time but it’s hard to find a use case to do both. That said, having the option is nice. In either case, the base of the camera has an audio monitor out so you can hear exactly what the microphone is picking up. The controls are traditional tactile buttons which require a fair amount of force to activate. This might be good for preventing accidental changes, but it has a downside. With the integrated shock mount, button presses either require you to hold the body or press the button until the shock mount binds and can’t move. While operation is reliable, the interface feels dated with a tiny, angled screen set deep into the body. This means not only are changes to gain during recording a bit tricky, seeing the screen without holding it below your head is a bit of a challenge. If you are vlogging solo, you are going to need a have a camera that has a forward-facing screen, hopefully you already do, that can show audio levels. A bonus of having integrated storage is you don’t have to actually use the VP83F on the camera. You can even hold it in your hands if needed as a makeshift microphone. It might seem a bit odd, but it can be really helpful to have one less thing to carry with you. Performance is very good. Off axis noise rejection means you can record audio even with a significant amount of background noise. One setting you must turn on if you are going to be using it mobile is enable low-cut. If you don’t, any adjustments or movements while holding the camera will be recorded as well as some wind and motor noises. Sensitivity is excellent with speech being very clear and rich. In fact, if you have the gain on the higher side, you could inadvertently create an ASMR video as it will pick up breathing and mouth sounds of the subjects you record so some initial setup is a must. Final Thoughts If you are a vlogger looking to improve your audio quality, don’t ignore the veterans of audio looking only at the new kids on the block. Shure might not seem as interesting, possibly even dated, but the functionality is definitely there. Having built in recording also makes getting clean audio far simpler. While the interface could use some modernization, once you get your setup dialed in and just use it, you will find the feature set and audio quality hard to beat.Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
- If you take your video’s audio seriously, get one!- May 11, 2021
[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] Shure has been making microphones for nearly 90 years and they have been used in the music and entertainment industry almost as long. Being a musician and singer I already own several Shure microphones: Super 55, SM 58(2), SM 57 & Beta 58. Singers and musicians have been using the SM 57s (usually used to mic amps) and SM58s (vocals mostly) since the mid 1960s for live performance and they are still in production. So with that kind of pedigree I expected a top notch microphone and I Was Not Disappointed! Before I go any farther I want to make it clear that this microphone and integrated recorder are MONO. If you are wanting or needing a stereo mic then this likely isn’t for you. I compared the Shure mic to the built in mics on my Canon EOS R, 6D and 70D. I also compared it to my Tascam DP-004 pocket 4 track that has a couple of condenser mics built into it. I have used it when shooting video as well as recording live music. I didn’t compare it to any of the microphones I listed earlier because they are Dynamic mics and the VP83F is a Condenser mic. I’m not going to get into the differences between the two in this review other than to say a condenser mic is more sensitive and has a mostly flat frequency response across the audio spectrum. The VP83F is a “shotgun” style mic meant to be mounted on the shoe of a DSLR or Mirrorless camera. You have the option of connecting it to the mic input of the camera (if it has one), using the mic’s built in audio recorder or Both. The latter is nice because you can mix the two in post production. You can even use the mic on a boom or stand. One could even construct a rig to use it with a smartphone if so desired since the mic has an integrated recorder.. Audio is clean and clear and the lows are not muddy. The integrated recorder has 24 bit resolution at a sample rate of 48 khz. My Canon cameras record 16 bit / 48 khz audio. So technically the VP83F should sound better due to a greater bit depth but when I compared the audio from the integrated recorder to the Canon EOS R (2 mics) and the Tascam DP-004 (16 bit / 44.1 khz) they sounded pretty much the same. The VP83F sounded slightly better and you could easily tell it was mono. Compared to the 70D (2 mics), and 6D (1 mic) as expected, the difference was slightly greater. But here’s where the VP83F shines. It’s very directional. It’s only going to pick up what’s in front of it. Not so with the camera’s built in mics or the Tascam. I placed them all on a tripod one at a time and rotated them 180 degrees. I did this outdoors in an open area with a babbling creek about 8 feet away. There was a noticeable difference with the cameras and was even less so with the Tascam. But with the VP83F the difference was dramatic. I could barely hear the creek at all when it was directly behind the camera. I also used it with a telephoto lens with some birds singing in the trees and it soundly beat the camera’s built in mics for getting the birdsong with very little ambient sounds from the sides and none rear. I did the bird test with the Canon EOS R and VP83F (see photo) with the mic’s integrated recorder, and then connected to the camera’s mic input. The EOS R has some pretty darn good mics and preamps but I think the VP83F is a little cleaner overall. The isolation of the subject is what is most noticeable. No rotary switch clicks or lens AF noise will be pickled up either. The VP83F has a tiny LCD screen and joystick to navigate it. (see photos) It has a power button and record button with LED indicators too. The power button is pretty hard to press but the record button is softer. Not sure if this is a defect or by design to prevent accidentally turning it off. Record is lit steady when recording and flashes when paused. LCD shows track, time, battery level and audio levels. (see photo) When connecting it to a camera you can set the output level to match your camera’s mic input by setting the output level settings. Your camera will likely have settings you will need to look at too. My Canons have audio settings for Auto, Manual, Attenuation, Wind. If you just connect the mic to the camera without doing that you will likely have problems. Anything from low noisy audio to overdriven. You can set the microphone gain and headphone output levels. There’s also a Low Cut Filter that “Rolls off low frequencies 170 Hz and below. You can set the time, date, contrast and backlight options. You can play audio tracks back from the VP83F too via screen navigation. If you don’t want / need the integrated recorder Shure has the VP83. I think build quality is superb. Metal casing and plastic shock absorbing mic holder. Brass mounting foot. Battery life ranges from 9.5 hours to 22.5 depending on 2 AA batteries used and recording options. Maximum 32GB card - 64 hours. See manual link below for instructions and complete specs. https://pubs.shure.com/guide/VP83F/en-US Conclusion: Product met my expectations and then some for a Shure product.Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
- Clean, crisp sound, durable build, wide stage- May 12, 2021
[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] The Shure VP83F is an easy-to-use camera-mountable condenser shotgun mic with built-it flash memory recording capability. It weighs about 10 oz as the body of the mic is made from a durable metal, and it comes pre-fitted with a foam windscreen and mounted on a Rycote Lyre shockmount. The mic requires 2 AA size batteries but can use various types including alkaline, Li-ion, or NiMH rechargeables. On a pair of alkalines you can expect about 9-10 hours of recording, NiMH 12-15 hours, and 17-23 hours using Li-ion batteries. While a bit on the hefty side, the build quality feels premium. I’m using this mic primarily with my compact mirrorless camera which nearly always produces noisy or unusable audio when recording video. I like that I can attach the Shure mic directly to the hot shoe on top of my camera. The sound captured from the Shure VP83F is clear and more focused with less noise and better clarity than the built-in microphone on my camera. While there was still a bit of ambient noise, even with the low-cut filter enabled, there was far less than what the camera mic picks up. Note that it captures mono audio only. Unfortunately, when used in the hot shoe of my camera, I cannot use my camera’s flip-up LCD for selfie-view nor can I use the electronic viewfinder that also requires the use of the hot shoe. Since the mic can also be mounted onto any ¼”-20 threaded mount, I’ve found that using a flash bracket and attaching it offset to the side of the camera, or simply on a tripod, works better for my particular setup. While the super cardioid/lobar polar pattern is supposed to reject unwanted off-axis sounds, I found that it doesn’t eliminate a whole lot of sound from the sides and back if they're not super quiet, so the sound stage is actually fairly wide for a shotgun style mic. Therefore, the closer you can be to your subject when recording with the VP83F the better, to get that really dialed-in focused audio. That’s why it’s great to have the option to mount it on a tripod off-camera if your camera is far away from your subject. You can output the VP83F’s audio directly into your camera (if it has a mic input jack) using the included AUX coil cable via the red jack located on the left-hand side of the mic and this will replace the onboard audio from the camera’s mic in your video recording. You can simultaneously record the LensHopper’s audio separately to flash memory (microSD card, not included) and sync the audio and video in post-production. The benefit here is that you have a backup copy of the audio track, and the audio recorded directly on the mic may offer better quality since a camera’s preamp could introduce some noise even when using an external mic. Output level to the camera can also be reduced by -20 or -40 dB in the settings depending on your camera’s pre-amp sensitivity. The max card size it can use is 32 GB which can store up to 64 hours of recorded audio in 24-bit 48kHz WAV format. The mic has a second output jack on the right-hand side for headphone monitors so you can listen to the mic’s audio feed live. The live monitoring is great because you can adjust some of the mic’s settings on-the-fly while recording as recording conditions change like mic gain, low-cut filter, and headphone volume (0 to 60). You can also adjust the mic gain from 0 to 60 dB and use the levels meter on the LCD to determine when you’ve got the optimal level of signal to reduce background noise (too little gain) but avoid clipping (too much gain). The levels meter will display when it detects clipping, so you can adjust your settings or distance to your audio source. Of course, if you’re a solo shooter and are also the subject in front of the camera, this feature isn’t as useful since you can’t see the LCD on the mic. I liked that you can also use the monitor headphones to listen to tracks recorded on the microSD card in playback mode right on the mic, so you don’t have to pull the tracks off the card in order to review them, saving me time if I need to reshoot right away. While I thought the tiny LCD screen would be way too small to be useful, I actually was quite impressed with its user-friendliness; it has a bright backlight and the 5-way joystick makes it easy to navigate the menus and settings on the screen to make adjustments. I wasn’t a fan of the shape and feel of the record button though because I found it a bit hard to press and more so when pressing and holding to end a recording since the microphone tends to shift in the shockmount when you try to press the button. The low-cut filter helps reduce low frequency noises and ambient sound like rumbling trucks passing by, machine hum, handling noise, and even wind noise to some degree, which I thought worked pretty well. If you record outdoors though, I highly recommend getting the optional fur windjammer (aka “dead cat” windscreen) to further buffer against noise from wind. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the improvement in sound over my camera’s onboard mic, though the sound in my opinion could be more directional, however, the feature set of the controls gives you a lot of flexibility and customization options to optimize the sound in different recording conditions.Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
- Internal SD recording is a game changer!- May 9, 2021
[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] Pros: - SD recording in unit (Easily it’s best feature!) - relatively small and lightweight - easy to navigate menus - quickly adjust levels while recording - cold shoe and 1/4in threaded mount options - great recording quality for the average user - a run and gun staple - low cut filter (can be turned off) - adjustable camera out signal dependant on your camera preamp - headphone out for monitoring with separate volume control - Fine gain adjustment to get that sweet spot dialed in - Line out to camera with provided coil cable Cons: - AA battery vs a rechargeable in body battery (can use rechargeable AA though) - screen is a bit small for those with poor eyesight or in bad viewing conditions - battery compartment is not labeled for + and - (it’s a small detail but annoying and easy fix) - maybe not top quality audio you’d expect from Shure but 99% of ears won’t notice - without a “dead cat” windscreen, you’re going to get a lot of wind noise, even with a low cut on, so if you’ll be outside, you’ll need to purchase this separately. (Pretty common issue) THE GOOD: The Shure Vp83F lensHopper is a fantastic shotgun for anything from run and gun to boom mic-ing interviews. This little thing can be used in a ton of situations and can be your main audio source or a backup, or both when you use the optional SD card internal recording. And let’s talk about that available SD recording for a second. This adds so many possibilities to your setup that it’s really worth the extra cost vs a similar mic without internal recording, even the Shure VP83, which is basically the same mic, just without the SD recorder. Having available internal flash recording allows you to not only get a direct, clean recording, but also allows you to move the microphone away from the camera and use it to mic talking head interviews or lock down the camera for a wide shot, away from the subject, and boom mic over or under frame. Once in the editing room, you simply sync audio with your on board camera reference audio track and you’re all set. No longer are you tied to long mic cables or the limits of keeping your mic and camera in the same location. This also negates any bad preamp your camera body may utilize. (More common than you think.) Ok, awesome, but what if you’re doing more of a run and gun, or vlogging on the streets, maybe a walk and talk? The LensHopper is still a great option for that as well! You can mount it to your camera's cold shoe or a standard quarter inch thread anywhere on your camera rig and you’re ready to go. Keep in mind, if you use the cold shoe, depending on your camera body, the mic may block the flip up screen if you are trying to vlog in a “selfie” style shot. In this situation I would recommend an external monitor or moving the mic to a different mount. Regardless of how you mount it to your camera rig, the VP83F is perfect for youtubers and run and gun shooting like wedding receptions or events where you don’t have time to use a lav or set up your better audio equipment. And thanks to the aforementioned SD internal recorder, you can still record directly to the SD card AND into the camera with the provided coiled mic cable. Keep in mind, depending on your camera and the preamp on it, you may need to adjust the camera output levels on the microphone menu to get a good sound into your camera. For my setup with the A7iii (which has a controversial preamp debate) I was able to still get a good clean sound recorded in body but I still chose to use the SD direct recording because in theory, that will always be better. This does however give you a good backup, two audio source redundancy, so if you have a pop, drop out, or corrupt file, etc, you won’t lose your audio and have an embarrassing conversation with your client. THE CONS: A quick note about some of the “cons” I found while testing this mic. One very tiny detail but just bugged me; everywhere I looked, I could not find a little + or - for the battery compartment. I did see two springs at bottom and figured usually negative end to spring, but that didn’t work. I had to arrange the batteries a few times until it was correct and the power came on. Once you figure it out, no problem, but it’s just odd they didn’t bother to mark it. Also with the batteries, I’ve seen other reviews say the compartment is loose and will probably break open in the field. I don’t know if Shure has updated this or other reviewers were testing in earthquakes, but there are TWO latched compartments holding the batteries in and they are pretty tight latches. I don’t see how those could pop open on accident. Battery life seems like it may be an issue and unfortunately means my camera bag will once again be full of AA’s rolling around. The manual includes a general life expectancy for battery type and you’ll definitely want to get rechargeables or at least NiMH to get decent life out of them. Just remember, having extra batteries is the difference between newbies and pros. OVERALL: (TL:DR) I have only had this microphone for about 5 days so I haven’t tested it in EVERY real world situation but I did run it through a lot of simulated tests to avoid surprises out in the field and can say, overall, this is a fantastic little shotgun mic for the everyday user, youtuber, vlogger or run and gun videographer. So often audio is forgotten or done poorly, and this mic won’t make you magically sound better, it’s still a piece of professional equipment and requires professional training and expertise to use correctly. But if you take the time, learn how it works, what it does, and how to get the best out of your gear, then the Shure VP83F will give you nothing but good, clean, quality audio. Stop looking like an amateur by using your on camera mic and get this microphone to dive into the world of pro audio! For those of you looking for specs, I included a picture of the manual specs page with all the juicy details. I won’t get into them here because I think most readers don’t care or understand, but the info is there if you want it. Overall, I love this mic and will be taking it with me everywhere I shoot. It’s compact, powerful, and versatile with a beautiful sound representation for voice capture to help bring better sound to your videos.Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.