Sound quality can make or break a production, whether it's a safety video, a product review or just keepsake recordings of special occasions. Recording in the field presents its own unique set of challenges for gear, including portability, battery life and other features. If you want to step up from your iPhone for recording, check out the Zoom F1-LP field recorder.
The Zoom F1-LP hits all the right notes. It's compact – smaller than a pack of cigarettes and running on just two AAAs, good for about 10 hours – and has versatile mounting options, and it comes with a high-quality lavalier mic with windscreens. You can mount using the belt slides built in to the unit, use the included clip or get the optional shock mount (not tested) for the hot shoe on your camera. The F1 has a great display, easily readable in direct sunlight, and a good but not overwhelming selection of features like filters, limiters and lockouts.
The F1 is a tough little unit, able to easily resist the inevitable bumps and drops. It records in WAV or MP3 on a micro SD card (not included), and its modularity means it can grow with your needs with a variety of microphones and other accessories. Sound quality is great, and it connects with good ole USB for use across most hardware platforms. Overall we found the Zoom F1 to be the most competitive field recorder for prosumer use, with room to grow along with your aspirations, whether its podcasts, vlogs or films.