Olympus SEMA-1 - A £90 Microphone socket?



If a camera has any pretensions to shoot serious video, then an external microphone socket with the ability to accept the standard stereo mini jack is essential. My Nikons have it, my NEX-7 has, my m4/3 cameras don't. Panasonic have a socket that will accept their own microphone, which is not standard. The GH3 however does have one which will accept non-Panasonic microphones.

Olympus have a "solution" in the shape of the SEMA-1 adapter set, which consists of a module which fits onto the accessory port hotshoe of the OM-D with the socket in it. It also comes bundled with a clip on stereo mic and a connecting lead. Unfortunately this costs £90 here in the UK, so in essence another uneccessary accessory. I can understand the smaller Pens not having this connection built in, but on the OM-D its just penny-pinching.

The stereo mic is OK, probably useful for on-camera interviews, but with its flimsy short lead, not much use for anything else. It also compresses the sound in a quite unpleasant way. The add-on also puts the hotshoe out of action so I had to mount my Rode mic using an external flash bracket, which I happened to have sitting in a drawer. So if you want to attach a mic to the camera you'll have to get something similar as well. Somewhat different from these cameras (D600 and NEX-7) which make the whole process easier.



The socket does what its supposed to, and I did a quick test with the OM-D and the sound was better than the built-in mics. My Rode has a nice bottom end, which the on-board Olympus mics dont. 

Olympus are particularly bad at leaving things off cameras and then overpricing the accessories. Their meaness in not providing lens hoods for their premium lenses and selling them as "extras" at expensive prices is another example.

Still I guess they have to get back the money they "lost" somehow!

Heres a video shot with the Rode. No music as is usual, just the ambient sound from the pictured set up, which does work hand-held.




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