DPRTV: Pre-Amp Shootout Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4, Sony a7III, Panasonic S1H, Olympus E-M1 Mark III, Nikon Z6, and Canon ES-1D Mark III

DPRTV did a Microphone pre-amp Shootout with a Fujifilm X-T3 (X-T4 has the same preamp), Sony a7III, Panasonic S1H, Olympus E-M1 Mark III, Nikon Z6, and Canon ES-1D Mark III. Below you can see a summary and the results or you can watch the video above.

  • Pre-amps amplify things before they are recorded
  • Just about everything needs to be brought up to a level that it can be heard in your software or camera
  • Good preamps have a high signal with a low amount of noise
  • Bad preamps have noise that gets mixed into the signal
  • Your preamp is the celling of quality you’re going to hear so a bad preamp with a good mic will be limited and you might hear a lot, but there will be noise mixed in.
  • A good preamp with a bad mic will let you hear everything the mic can capture, but it won’t fully utilize the preamp
  • mediocre preamps and below also add hiss

Proper audio levels

  • Canon ES-1D Mark III was fantastic
  • Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4 was really good
  • Nikon Z6 was solid
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III was middling
  • Panasonic S1H favorite
  • Sony a7III sounded bad with lots of hiss and noise

Low audio levels out of the mic -20db below ideal

  • Each camera had more noise
  • Canon ES-1D Mark III had a digital not consistent noise
  • Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4 running water sound with a high-level whine
  • Nikon Z6 running water sound
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III running water sound
  • Panasonic S1H running water sound
  • Sony a7III was really really really bad it boosted the bad sound

High audio levels out of the mic +10db above ideal

  • One thing that helps hot signals is a limiter, attenuator, or compressor to take a hot signal and dampen it down
  • Canon ES-1D Mark III did a great job and it sounded natural with the limiter
  • Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4 was a little crunchy and the limiter affected the audio
  • Nikon Z6 was a lot like the Canon
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III was not as bad as the Fujifilm, but not as good as the Canon and Nikon
  • Panasonic S1H limiter didn’t sound right
  • Sony a7III still sounds like hot garbage

Rankings

  • Canon ES-1D Mark III – Didn’t expect it to sound this good
  • Nikon Z6 and Panasonic S1H (tie) – Both have issues, but not bad
  • Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4 – good sounding camera
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III – not as good as the rest of the cameras
  • Sony a7III – unbelievable amount of noise

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Fujifilm X-T3: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

Fujifilm X-T4 Preorder: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
VG-XT4 Vertical Battery Grip: B&H Photo Amazon / Adorama
NP-W235 Battery:  B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

Sony a7III: B&H PhotoAmazonAdorama

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

Nikon Z6: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

Panasonic S1H: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

Olympus E-M1 Mark III: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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