Does this Sony have a "hot shoe" / external input? - AVS Forum
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Does this Sony have a "hot shoe" / external input?

Hello,

I have not purchased a camcorder before and was interested in the Sony HDR PJ530E which retails in the UK for about £430 ($730).

Link: http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/ha...specifications

Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-PJ530E-...pr_product_top

I want a camcorder with a "hot shoe" so that I can use an external microphone. My impression is that the Sony does have a "hot shoe" but the specifications on the Sony website do not spell this out (unless they do in terminology that I do not understand).

I would be most grateful if someone could please tell me, based on the images and specifications from the two links above, whether or not the Sony does, indeed, have a "hot shoe".

Many thanks!
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:33 AM
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If you rely on a "hot shoe" you will be forever stuck with a Sony accessory - the choice of third party accessories such as Rode will be denied to you.
But if you go for a camcorder with an external mic socket, you can chose from any of the many third party mics.


I have a Zoom H2 which is a brilliant stand alone audio recorder BUT I can connect my Zoom into my camera (with an attenuating lead) and use its quality mics for my audio input.


PLUS Probably the worst place for sound pickup is on top of a camcorder. To record video you need to be away from the subject. To record audio your mic needs to be near to the subject. So a decent mic plus an extension lead or a wireless mic are the best option. For both you need a 3.5mm mic socket on your camera.


Just checked the Sony spec. you quoted and can see no mention of an external mic input. First do you really need the projector function? and second for that budget you could get a camcorder with a mic input as part of the spec. Canon or Panasonic are worth a look.


Just to add. Re the projector. If you get a HDMI lead you can connect the camera to your HD (hopefully) TV and watch with a far better picture. Again I use a switching box to feed my Blu-Ray player and a lead from my Panasonic camera into HDMI2 on my TV (HDMI1 is connected to the SKY box as we don't get decent terrestial TV around here)

Last edited by Terfyn; 07-29-2014 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:18 AM
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I think you really need a cold shoe. With the Sony you will need an adaptor shoe available on Amazon, E*ay etc. Yes this camcorder does have both a shoe on the top of the camera and has an input for a mic and output for headphones. Have a look at the Rode range of mics though avoid the new simple mic as that needs power which I believe the Sony does not supply, so you need a mic with a battery.


This non English review shows the shoe near the beginning:
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the helpful replies. I'm just about to watch the video.

A word about terminology. AIUI, from the previous comments, a "hot shoe" is not the same as an external microphone socket. I was reliying on this definition from Which? - "If the camcorder has an input (sometimes called a hot shoe) an external mic can be added for better sound quality."

What is the difference between a "hot shoe" and a "cold shoe"? Is a "cold shoe" able to take generic external microphones and other devices whereas "hot shoes" can only take devices from the company that manufactured the camcorder?

I don't need the projector. What I would like to do is to interview people both inside and outside from a reasonable distance (e.g. across a room) and have decent audio.

Two questions, if I may: a) what camcorder in the £500 range would you suggest to achieve this goal. b) how would you recommend I set-up the audio? Is a wireless microphone the best way? How does the camcorder integrate with the wireless microphone?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkshiretea View Post
Many thanks for the helpful replies. I'm just about to watch the video.

A word about terminology. AIUI, from the previous comments, a "hot shoe" is not the same as an external microphone socket. I was reliying on this definition from Which? - "If the camcorder has an input (sometimes called a hot shoe) an external mic can be added for better sound quality."

What is the difference between a "hot shoe" and a "cold shoe"? Is a "cold shoe" able to take generic external microphones and other devices whereas "hot shoes" can only take devices from the company that manufactured the camcorder?

I don't need the projector. What I would like to do is to interview people both inside and outside from a reasonable distance (e.g. across a room) and have decent audio.

Two questions, if I may: a) what camcorder in the £500 range would you suggest to achieve this goal. b) how would you recommend I set-up the audio? Is a wireless microphone the best way? How does the camcorder integrate with the wireless microphone?

Thanks again!
A hot shoe is one with an electrical contact, sometimes used when camera manufacturer accessories are used. Or found on digital stills cameras for mounting a flashgun.

A cold shoe has no contacts so any power is supplied by batteries.

Pro cameras will usually have XLR mic sockets and consumer cameras have a 3.5mm socket usually highlighted by a red socket surround.

If you buy the Sony you will have the projector unless you go to the top of the range hdr-cx900 or fdr-ax100.

Now microphone wise you need to think of what is known as proximity affect, so as you get further from a microphone the weaker and more brittle the sound will be.

For a single person adding something like the Samson Airline Micro to your bag will make all the difference, this is a rechargeable battery wireless system worn by the person talking. multi channel and multi transmitter kits cost a small fortune.

You could also run a separate recorder with multiple microphone setup, but this will be a costly option as you will need more than one mic possibly for the group then any cables and stands etc.

You say you will be interviewing people, will you want your own voice recorded too? If so my last point comes into play. Therefore.

Have a look at the Zoom H4n which has recently been replaced by the 6n. They both have XLR inputs and headphone outs for monitoring and record to SD cards. I should add that both of these have built in microphones. That my cover your needs. Most voice recordings for video are recorded in mono.

But don't buy cheap mics as they tend to have higher self noise(hiss) though this can often be removed in audio editing software like Magix music maker and using some EQ.

I hope this helps and you understand what I have said, anything just shout and I will try to help.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faithful mutt View Post
Pro cameras will usually have XLR mic sockets and consumer cameras have a 3.5mm socket usually highlighted by a red socket surround.
I don't really understand if the Sony has an XLR socket or not? The Which? review says that it has the possibility of an external mike, but my impression is that this would have to be a Sony own brand?

Quote:
Have a look at the Zoom H4n which has recently been replaced by the 6n. They both have XLR inputs and headphone outs for monitoring and record to SD cards. I should add that both of these have built in microphones. That my cover your needs. Most voice recordings for video are recorded in mono.
So is the idea that this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-ZH4N-H4n/dp/B001QWBM62) would connect to the XLR socket on the camera. This would then supply all my audio needs.

Hence, it's important to make sure that the camera accepts third-party systems.

Thanks again - very helpful!!
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkshiretea View Post
I don't really understand if the Sony has an XLR socket or not? The Which? review says that it has the possibility of an external mike, but my impression is that this would have to be a Sony own brand?



So is the idea that this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-ZH4N-H4n/dp/B001QWBM62) would connect to the XLR socket on the camera. This would then supply all my audio needs.

Hence, it's important to make sure that the camera accepts third-party systems.

Thanks again - very helpful!!
Sorry, no. The camera does not have XLR. Pro cameras do. This has a shoe and a 3.5mm socket.
The Zoom H4n is a stand alone recorder and you will then need to import your audio into your video editing software.

Anything else just shout!
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:54 PM
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The Zoom H4n is a stand alone recorder and you will then need to import your audio into your video editing software

Or you could do what I do and attach an attenuating lead from the Zoom headphone output into the camera mic input.
See https://www.broadcastav.co.uk/produc...r/default.aspx
You control the sensitivity using the volume control on the Zoom and the mic sensitivity on the camera.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:09 PM
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It would seem that you may be complicating things a bit. Yes the pro cameras have XLR sockets but the cameras in your price range will have 3.5mm stereo sockets so you could either use a stereo mic or a mono mic with a stereo adapter to put the sound on both channels. A powered mic is best but a non powered mic will work as the camera will have a mic amp built in.
Don't buy a cheap wireless system as they are prone to interference. You would be better off with a powered mic and an extension lead for interviews. I use a Yoga electret condenser mic which is stereo but I can combine channels in the editor. I also use a mono tieclip mic which works as well in my camera.
I always use a short extension lead into my camera as the mic socket does not like the extra weight of an adapter plugged straight in.
I still suggest you look at the offerings from Canon and Panasonic.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkshiretea View Post
I don't really understand if the Sony has an XLR socket or not? The Which? review says that it has the possibility of an external mike, but my impression is that this would have to be a Sony own brand?



So is the idea that this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-ZH4N-H4n/dp/B001QWBM62) would connect to the XLR socket on the camera. This would then supply all my audio needs.

Hence, it's important to make sure that the camera accepts third-party systems.

Thanks again - very helpful!!
If you look at one of my first replies, I said that you can use other mics like Rode make, but you will need an adaptor shoe that converts the sony shoe to a standard shoe. Gets a bit confusing I know.

And no the sony does not have XLR. You will find images and videos all over the web that will help you understand what these look like.

The Zoom I mentioned has both microphones built in and sockets so you can add external microphones.

Add one of these when you buy to your order and any mic will mount to your camera.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/JJC-MSA-2-In...Sony+cold+shoe
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terfyn View Post
It would seem that you may be complicating things a bit. Yes the pro cameras have XLR sockets but the cameras in your price range will have 3.5mm stereo sockets so you could either use a stereo mic or a mono mic with a stereo adapter to put the sound on both channels. A powered mic is best but a non powered mic will work as the camera will have a mic amp built in.
Don't buy a cheap wireless system as they are prone to interference. You would be better off with a powered mic and an extension lead for interviews. I use a Yoga electret condenser mic which is stereo but I can combine channels in the editor. I also use a mono tieclip mic which works as well in my camera.
I always use a short extension lead into my camera as the mic socket does not like the extra weight of an adapter plugged straight in.
I still suggest you look at the offerings from Canon and Panasonic.
I would agree that we may be complicating things, I just thought it worth a mention so that mics could be closer to the subject. Thanks for filling in a gap or two.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkshiretea View Post
I don't really understand if the Sony has an XLR socket or not? The Which? review says that it has the possibility of an external mike, but my impression is that this would have to be a Sony own brand?



So is the idea that this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-ZH4N-H4n/dp/B001QWBM62) would connect to the XLR socket on the camera. This would then supply all my audio needs.

Hence, it's important to make sure that the camera accepts third-party systems.

Thanks again - very helpful!!

Depending on your budget, one other option comes to mind. Your microphone setup comes down to how far the camera is from your subject, if close then the Rode Videomic or videomic pro may be the solution.

A bit further and other options may be needed.

Like the zoom suggestion.

However a much cheaper alternative would be a wired lapel mic, Micronic007 on e*ay will plug into the 3.5mm socket for £10 and upwards depending on cable length..

It can be confusing as there are lots of ways you can get your mics closer to your subject than the camera.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:47 PM
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The "HotShoe" thing is most annoying. As described, the hot shoe has live electrical contacts to fix microphones or video lights to and the power is taken from the camera or the signals fed in through the base of the accessory. This will always mean you are tied to the manufacturers kit which is usually over priced for what you get.


A "ColdShoe" is just a standard style of clip that all third party suppliers use to attach their kit to the camera, lights, mics and LCD monitor screens are the most popular. But the choice is up to you.


For cameras with an external mic input in the consumer range, the choice is invariably a 3.5mm stereo socket, usually mounted to a circuit board (for cheapness) inside the camera. So a mono mic will land the signal onto one channel of the video, 3.5mm mono to stereo adapters will sort this out. (but a mic plug + a stereo adapter + the mic lead will put a strain on the camera socket so I suggest a short connecting cable)


One thing you cannot do directly is to run a signal from, say, an IPod or a MP3 player into a camera mic socket. Too much power will overload the socket designed for microphones. The site I suggested in #8 supplies attenuating leads (mine is 33 dB attenuation) to connect between the headphone out from a player and the mic in on the camera. This opens up a wealth of possibilities, audio from a microphone or stage mixer, from a keyboard or from a MP3 player can now be fed into the camera mic socket to be recorded alongside the video. My Dad used to tape record the Sunday service for housebound parishoners, he took the audio signal from the church amplification system. Now he could have videoed the whole proceedings and still added the sound.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for these replies. I suspect that I complicated matters by asking about the Sony rather than explaining what I would like to do and asking for advice.

I aim to use the camcorder to record interviews with people who are a few meters away from the camcorder. These interviews will occur inside (e.g. in an office) and outside (e.g. in a factory or field). I will also use the camcorder to film more generally (e.g. in parks). The sound quality needs to be good but does not need to be exceptional.

I want the ability to use third-party equipment. I note that, with my Nikon camera, using a third-party zoom lens saved me about £200.

The review on Which? states that the Sony does have an external mic socket. Terfyn mentions that this will allow me to use third-party equipment. However, he (?) then states that the Sony site does not indicate that it has an external mic socket. So perhaps the Which? review is wrong (which isn't very helpful).

The review for the JJC-MSA-2 Interface Shoe states: "I can now mount my new microphone onto my Sony HDR-SR12E video camera. I have wanted a microphone for a long time but did not want to pay for the Sony one. So I bought this to work with a cheaper microphone and it works brilliantly."

Is the point that it doesn't matter if the Sony (or any camcorder) has an external mic since you are just connecting the Sony shoe to the Interface Shoe and then attaching the external mic to the Interface Shoe?

My impression from the replies is that the Sony has the 3.5mm socket plus a hot shoe.

Three questions:

a) the idea is that I plug a third-party audio mic into the 3.5mm socket.

b) irrespective of a), I can use the Interface Shoe and then attach a third-party audio mic to the Interface Shoe.

c) is the 3.5mm socket the same as the external mic socket or are these different things (relates back to whether the Sony does or does not have an external mic socket).

Another way to look at my question is: considering what I would like to do, and my budget (around £500), which camcorder would you suggest for me?

Many thanks - I really appreciate all the advice!

Last edited by yorkshiretea; 07-31-2014 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:48 PM
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No-I was wrong. The Sony does have a mic socket. My apologies for misleading you.


c) first the microphone socket is a stereo 3.5mm socket which expects a stereo 3.5mm plug. i.e. it has a tip, a ring and a sleeve as compared to the mono version which has a tip and a sleeve.

If you are looking at a third party mic then it would plug into the mic socket. You can locate it on an accessory shoe fitted to the camera if you want.
I would still bring the mic to the voice. In other words, buy an extension lead and connect the mic to the camera through that. The idea that a mic on top of the camera works is only true if the surroundings are quiet. So the factory or field settings are not ideal for a mic on a camera. (people think it looks cool) If you are interviewing then the audio is all important and the video is a "nice to have". So IMO a powered mic (most camcorder mics are powered with a battery) and an extension lead would be the option I would choose.
You ask about a camera other than the Sony. I suggest you look at the Panasonic HC-V750, I have used mine since March and I think it is brilliant (well I would!) Everybody has a favourite manufacturer so someone else may suggest a Canon. The 750 retails for around the £500 -£510 mark.


I do suggest you look at the spec for each camera on the manufacturers web site and see which ticks the most boxes.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the additional information. I think it's time for me to make a decision as it's so easy to get bogged down in endless research.

I've looked at the Panasonic HC-V750 and I remember I was interested in it before. The reason I rejected it is because the Which? review stated that it did not have an external mic. Much of the conversation on this thread has been devoted to the need for an external microphone.

Or is it that all camcorders in this range would have the 3.5mm socket as standard? In the link below, it mentions a mini stereo jack. Is this what you call the 3.5mm socket?

According to this review, it does have a cold shoe (http://hdvcam.net/panasonic/panasonic-hc-v750-review/) but then, as you say, this is not ideal if the conditions are not stellar.

One of the reviewers on Amazon states that "It also has a hotshoe attachment that can accept extra lights and slots into a space just above the battery. There are also sockets for an external mic (important to me) and A/V for headphones (important to me)." (http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-revi...DateDescending)

What I find confusing is that the Which? review specifically states there is no external mic or headphone socket which contradicts the above claim.

It seems to me that the Sony and the Panasonic are pretty similar. Why would I go for the Panasonic rather than the Sony?


Thanks!

Last edited by yorkshiretea; 08-01-2014 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:17 PM
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Of course the 750 has a 3.5mm mic socket and a headphone socket. ("Which" is talking rubbish) The detachable cold shoe can be used for a video lamp, mic or LCD monitor, it has a standard "shoe" fitting.


Why buy the Panasonic:-
The Hybrid OIS on the 750 has been tested and performs a bit better than the Sony.
It has a new design lens system.
It has a slow motion option replaying at 1/2 speed and 1/4 speed.
It has five time lapse options.
It has Wi-Fi and useful NFC control.
It will record in AVCHD 1080/50p and in MP4.


It DOES NOT HAVE a projector.


So no contest then! This is a seriously good camera. (and I write from personal experience. I got my 750 in March)


You may have a slight misunderstanding about external mics. Clearly the recording of sound depends on the conditions. The 750 has four very sensitive mics for both 5.1 surround sound and 2 channel stereo recording.
But the camera mics will pick up any sound that is within range, they have limited selective ability. A lapel mic or a handheld connected into the camera will pick up the sound you point it at.
So mounting a mic on top of the camera is only a little better than using the inbuilt camera mics. A handheld on an extension lead can be placed close to the sound source while the camera location is usually set back from the sound source.
Obviously in a quiet location or for recording the ambient sound, the camera mics are the best, but to pick up a targeted sound, in an interview say, then a local mic is a better option.
So the whole discussion about sound recording has nothing to do with a "hot" or "cold" shoe.


You mentioned A/V. In addition to the mic socket and the headphone socket, the 750 has a HDMI out (to connect into a HD TV), USB to your computer and an A/V socket which supplies a Composite Video signal plus the Left and Right audio signals. These can be used to feed into older video recorders, older TVs and, in my case, to supply video and audio to a monitor to watch the picture the camera is recording. A/V is not directly for headphones.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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OK. I am convinced. I'll go for this: http://www.jessops.com/online.store/...0431/show.html

Why are you opposed to the Sony's projector? It is a gimmick but is it bad?

I realise you have the Panasonic due to your Amazon review.

By the way, do you bother to purchase additional protection in case the camcorder gets damaged. Jessops offer £98 for three years. I suspect it's totally unnecessary but was wondering if you (or anyone else) had any thoughts on the matter?

Again, thanks so much - I understand the audio situation now.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW: here is the Which? review.

Link: http://bayimg.com/fApdDAAFJ

It's subscription only so had to provide a screenshot.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkshiretea View Post
BTW: here is the Which? review.

Link: http://bayimg.com/fApdDAAFJ

It's subscription only so had to provide a screenshot.
Well they are mistaken. The mic input is under the LCD screen and the headphone out is on the RHS by the lens. For a full spec go to Panasonic UK > Consumer and through to the HD camcorders.
The Jessop price is reasonable looking at the Amazon list of third party suppliers. (My chosen supplier was Digital Technology Ltd (Amazon name "Picsio") they were very good) Picsio are selling at £519 for camera, 32Gb SDHC card and a rather potty tripod.


Not really opposed to the projector except you are paying for a gimmick IMO. For better results get a suitable HDMI lead (mini to standard plugs) and watch the raw video on your HD TV. I always edit my shots using Corel VideoStudio Pro X7 and output to a DVD or a SD card which slots into my Blu-Ray player.


I did not buy extra insurance but it may be worth phoning your house insurance company and get it covered under your house and contents bit of the policy.


Good luck with your purchase. Any questions I will try to answer. If you wish, a "private message" may be a more direct link.
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