As we've mentioned before it's tough to do microphone reviews, because different people often sound so different on the same microphone. Added to that, microphones can sound different on different radios. So when people ask me which mike is best for them on a particular radio it's one of the hardest recommendations to make. One easy thing to do though is to test how well a microphone does what it's designed to do and that brings us to the Ranger SRA-198 Noise Canceling Microphone.
We received this microphone a number of weeks ago from Ranger and have been using it in the mobile and the results so far have been excellent. When the earlier version of this microphone was released Ranger got a couple of comments that the microphone had muffled audio, so they put the engineers to work and added a couple of additional components (a 4.7K resistor and 0.022uF capacitor).
Let's start at the beginning and give a serious run through of this microphone.
OUT OF THE BOX
When you first pick up this microphone right out of the box you'll immediately notice that it doesn't feel like a hollow piece of plastic. Just like on the highly popular SRA-158 this microphone has a metal weight inside the microphone designed to give it a more solid feel in your hand.
The microphone cord itself is very flexible and is slightly smaller diameter than is employed on other models. It uses a 9' coiled cord which provided plenty of length and I experienced no issues with kinking or knotting during testing in the vehicle.
Where the cord enters the actual plastic housing they've included a coiled metal spring wrapped around the cord to help prevent damage or wear at that location from bending during use.
They used a smooth plastic for the element housing and while it feels very solid and durable it has a very soft feel in the hand. I think this is due to the way they shaped the microphone to fit the users hand. If you look at the microphone from the side you'll see it's curved profile which is quite unique.
You also will immediately notice the large grill with lip guard protruding from the element are of the microphone. It sticks out a lot farther than we've seen on other models, but once we take the microphone apart you'll see why.
AN INSIDE LOOK
We often use items for years without ever bothering to see how they work and so one of the first things I always do with new equipment is to take it apart.
I'd call it the best camera for that price. I'd go for it.
FYI, Downsides are:
* Limited lens compatibility (no autofocus motor, so many Nikon lenses won't work)
* Autofocus is slow enough to be completely useless in live view mode (try it in a store)
* Video mode isn't up to par with Canon and friends. You get limited resolution, awkward frame rate, horrible audio (11kHz with low quality built-in microphone, and no microphone input, and the kit lens will give you lots of image stabilizer noise).
Stepping up, Canon 550D is an amazing camera (albeit without the pivot LCD)