Canon 1D Mark III vs M3
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2007 and February 2015. The 1D Mark III is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and an APS-C (M3) sensor. The 1D Mark III has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the M3 provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Canon EOS M3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon M3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 1D Mark III is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (68 percent) than the 1D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the M3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark III has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|2.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|3.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|4.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|7.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999|
|14.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|16.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|17.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the 1D Mark III, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark III features an APS-H sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M3 is 37 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the M3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 1D Mark III (DIGIC III), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the 1D Mark III. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 7.21μm for the 1D Mark III). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 7 years and 11 months) than the 1D Mark III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark III are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 50-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|7.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|14.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|16.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The M3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 1D Mark III has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark III and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|7.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n|
|14.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark III, but is missing on the M3 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The M3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 1D Mark III does not have a selfie-screen.
The 1D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the M3 uses SDXC cards. The 1D Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M3 only has one slot. The M3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 1D Mark III cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and Canon EOS M3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M3 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 1D Mark III does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark III (unlike the M3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark III and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark IV, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark III or the Canon M3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2200 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2007).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 54%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC III).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 789g or 68 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark III launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon M3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1D Mark III or the M3 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|2.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|3.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|4.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|7.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999|
|14.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|16.||Nikon D3||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|17.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon M3
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2007||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 4,499||USD 679|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.1 x 18.7 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||525.47 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC III||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1078||1169|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon M3|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2200 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1155 g (40.7 oz)||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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