The Sennheiser (www.sennheiserusa.com) MKE-300 is a mono shotgun microphone that can mount on any camcorder that has an accessory shoe. It's about 8" long, and weighs only 2.1 oz. (60g). It comes with an attached 10" coiled cord with a 3.5mm (1/8") diameter mono plug. It includes one LR44 battery (200 hour battery life), and a soft carrying case.
The MKE-300 is very directional, and is perfect in situations
where you want to capture sounds directly in front of you,
minimizing sounds coming from the sides and back. Examples
would include: an interview of someone, sporting events (reducing
noise from crowds around you), parties (to capture sounds from
the subject in front of you). I've used this mic extensively
The sounds you record with the MKE-300 is monaural, and on the DCR-PC101,
it will record to the left channel only. To record to both channels,
an adapter is required, such as BeachTek's
Unfortunately, there is a problem mounting this mic directly on the accessory shoe on my camcorder. The MKE-300 will pick up the vibration from the DCR-PC101, developing this loud, low frequency hum. Fortunately, this hum can be removed using an audio filter, such as the hum remover in Final Cut Pro/Express. I've discovered this vibration problem is inherent in all consumer (and some prosumer) camcorders. The solution is to isolate the mic from the camcorder. Besides hand holding the mic, which I've done on several occasions, I've purchased a microphone isolation mount.
Mounted on a DCR-PC101 is a definite overkill. It is a professional mic. But, if you're looking for better, cleaner, higher quality sound than a built-in mic, the MKE-300 and the ECM-S930C will satisfy your needs (for the moment).
An important note about powered mics
They use batteries. They have an on/off switch. After using these mics, it is
important to turn them off. This is my only problem, and could be your's. Always
carry backup batteries, or know where the nearest Radio Shack is. The other thing
is to use some type of headset (or earphones). You will always turn on the camcorder,
but sometimes forget to turn on the mic.