The Zoom F1 Field Reporter Kit is an extrenal audio recorder and lav mic that is a great alternative to capturing audio with your camera and is a great addition to your kit if you are working with a smartphone or DSLR and are tired of wired mics.
Capturing audio externally can be a pain. You have to link the audio with your clips in the edit and you have to make sure the audio is lined up perfectly with the video -- it can be a tedious process. Sometimes, though, it may be the best option, particularly if you are shooting with a smartphone or DSLR camera.
Almost all smartphones and DSLRs don't have XLR ports so professional audio options can be limiting. Most of them work through either the headphone jack or power port on smartphones. These options can be expensive and, in most cases, the microphone is wired directly to the phone or camera limiting how much space you can put between you and your audio source. Even if you are able to connect XLR to your DSLR or smartphone, or any camera for that matter, you may want to add an additional audio source. This is what makes the Zoom F1 a viable option around these issues.
The small device, which can be clipped to a belt or fit in a pocket, is a two-channel professional quality recorder has an easy to use interface and records to a microSD card with up to 32gb of space. The recorder runs on AAA batteries and is compatible with a variety of different microphones, as long as they plug into a Stereo ⅛" Mic/Line In.
Its best feature, aside from recording professional quality audio, is its marking feature, basically a clapperboard function, which can output a tone from the device to make synching the audio and video much easier.
Paul Huebl, a VJ Member who uses the Zoom F1 for his shoots, says that the device is a great option for anyone producing video, particularly with their smartphone. He just uses Zoom F1 on his subject, lines up the audio file in his edit timeline, and "presto I have perfect audio!" Paul particularly loves it because it's "so easy to use and cheaper" than other lavaliere microphone options.
You can buy the Zoom F1 Kit for $200 from a variety of outlets. See a full list of retailers here.