Thursday, July 8, 2010

A look at the New Zoom H1

While browsing the web today I saw that Zoom is releasing the new H1 at the end of the month. Being that I'm not a super cool tech reviewer, I haven't gotten my hands on one yet, but from reading the specs on it, here's my two cents.

It looks like a great option for the novice, or budget film maker. For $100 you are able to record audio separately from video, a huge advantage for any film maker, particularly when recording to a tape based media. Why you might ask? Because the motors and gears in tape based camcorders tend to leave a lot of hum and buzz in your audio which is a pain in the butt to clean up. Having someone else record audio also means you have someone to monitor sound levels.

There's 3 things which should be considered before running out and buying this. Believe me, at that price, it's easy to just drop the cash. First, figure out what mics you already have. If they are all mini 3.5mm jacks, then your in business as that's what the mic input is on the H1. Secondly, do you think you may use XLR mics in the future. Sure you could find ways to adapt your gear in the future, but I'm of the mind set "buy once, buy right". In short, I try and buy products that will grow with needs. Third, how do you feel about the Micro SD card medium? Personally, I'm not crazy about it. Working with the T2i, I'm using SD, and SDHC cards, and many of my other gadgets also use SD/SDHC cards, meaning I have tons of cards laying around that I can use interchangeably with my gear.

Granted, it wouldn't be much trouble to stock up on some Micro cards, but, they would only be used for that device. If I'm going to spend the money, I'd rather it be on something I can use with my other gear.

Well, thats my rant for the day. If you guys have some thoughts on it, I'd love to hear them. Just drop me a comment down below.


  1. The Zoom H4N is the one to buy if you need XLR capability and you prefer regular-sized SD cards, of course - it also has better build quality and nicer built-in microphones that the H1 - but at a much higher price.

    I use the H4N hooked up to a couple of Sennheiser radio lav mikes for wedding work - but I did use an H1 at the last wedding I shot, to record the speeches at the reception. I placed it on a mini tripod on the top table and it worked well enough. Its small size is an asset in that situation. It's almost small enough to use in a jacket pocket with a plug-in power lavalier, though I haven't tested that configuration yet.

  2. Hi Chris, I currently don't own either at the moment. I've had very good luck running a Rode Videomic straight in to the camera, and cleaning up any noise later in post production.

    At this point, I haven't had to worry too much about audio for the projects I've worked on, but when the time should come, I will most likely invest in the H4N. However, at $100 I'd probably get an H1 as well, just because you could hide it almost anywhere on a set or location shoot.