Shure VP83F LensHopper Review

Is the £350 Lens Hopper From Shure, the only thing you need to get high quality audio recorded on your DSLR camera?

The Shure VP83F is a cold shoe mounted, SuperCardiod condenser microphone, specifically designed for helping DSLR & Mirrorless video shooters capture superior quality audio in their videos. 

Now beyond all the normal and industry standard features, such as 3.5mm output, suspension mounting and agonisingly low noise levels there is one key feature with this mic that stands it out from the crowd of DSLR microphones. 

The Shure VP83F features an internal recorder. That means that this microphone features a supreme quality microphone preamp and Analog to Digital Converter allowing you to record uncompressed 24bit Wav files onto an internal micro SD card. 

Whilst using this internal recording feature, audio is still passed through the mic pre amp to the 3.5mm audio jack, allowing for simultaneous recording into the camera too. 

This in of itself is a fantastic feature, meaning that you not only have the ability to capture higher quality audio through the Shure pre-amps but also make use of a redundancy audio recording on the camera itself. 

The microphone also features a fully detailed menu system, accessible via a backlit LCD screen. With indication for audio metering, battery levels, track info, mic gain and remain recording times. 

So clearly the VP83F is actually far more than just an on-body microphone, this is a miniaturised full audio solution. But let’s get to using it a bit more and to finding the good & bad bits of this mic.

The Good Bits

Firstly & most importantly the audio quality, which for an on-body DSLR microphone I’d say is second to none. In case you the whole video review linked below is recorded with this microphone, so you can judge that for yourself. 

The important features such as Noise to Signal ratios, off axis rejection and general tonality of the mic are all on point, but really that is to be expected when you buy a microphone from audio heavyweights like Shure. 

For me the real clincher of this mic is that built in recording feature. 

Quite often when you’re recording audio in this form the real missing link for quality isn’t the microphone you’re using, but the cameras microphone pre-amp. They are almost always trash, especially on DSLR and mirrorless cameras. In fact I’m yet to hear a good one on any camera. The Shure VP83F bypasses this issue all together and built in preamp and digital convertors are really good. 

So this microphone isn’t just a step up in terms of mic quality, but really it’s an investment into improving the quality of your entire audio signal chain.

The Bad Bits

Now having something this fully formed and covering so many audio bases is obviously a really good thing on paper. But it does come with some usability issues. The Shure VP83F is a complicated bit of gear to use, especially when confronted with the faster paced world of run n gun filmmaking you associate with DSLR shooting. 

All the controls and menu options are a little hindered by that miniature LCD screen and small controls and at times the plethora of controls will slow down your filmmaking. In many respects this ins’t a shortcoming of this product itself, but of more complicated bits of filmmaking equipment in general. This sits on that tricky junction between being vlog friendly and a more deliberate, set-up required piece of filmmaking tech. 

Gear that sits in that junction between professional and casual use always suffers. It’s often hard to justify. The price point and the usability often hinders the more casual users. And sadly for this mic, that is true of the VP83F. 

Shure VP83F In Summary

Nearly 400 quid for a DSLR mic is a huge amount I know, especially when you can find cut price off brand versions of 10% of that. But, for me, this mic does represent every penny of that price point. 

This is more than buying into a great branded microphone, but rather is an investment into improving almost every aspect of your audio setup in one single purchase.

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