Canon 1D X Mark II versus Canon M3
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and February 2015. The 1DX Mark II is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (1DX Mark II) and an APS-C (M3) sensor. The 1DX Mark II has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the M3 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon M3
The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D X Mark II and the Canon M3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 1DX Mark II – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
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 (72 percent) than the Canon 1D X Mark II. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (76 percent) than the 1DX Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1DX Mark II 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Canon 1D X Mark II»||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon M3«||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon 5D Mark IV« »||5.9 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||31.4 oz||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 80D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon M5« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon T6i« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||-|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 89 percent) than the 1DX Mark II, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon M3
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D X Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M3 is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 20 MP of the 1DX Mark II. This megapixel 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 6.57μm for the 1DX Mark II). Moreover, it should be noted that the 1DX Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the 1DX Mark II provides substantially higher image quality than the M3, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D X Mark II»||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark IV« »||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon T6i« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon 6D« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65|
|Canon 1D X« »||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||-||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|Nikon D5« »||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the 1DX Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the M3. It can shoot video footage at 4K/60p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon M3
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 1DX Mark II 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. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 1D X Mark II»||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon 5D Mark IV« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||7.0||n||n|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon 5DS R« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Canon T6i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon 6D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||4000||4.5||n||n|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.3||n||n|
|Canon 1D X« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||14.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||3.9||n||n|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Nikon D5« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||8000||14.0||n||n|
The 1DX Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the M3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M3 was succeeded by the Canon M6.
Review summary: Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon M3
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1D X Mark II better than the Canon M3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1210 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the M3).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 158x168mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1164g or 76 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1DX Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 8 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1DX Mark II or the M3. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 1D X Mark II»||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon M3«||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon 5D Mark IV« »||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 80D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Rec||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon T6i« »||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon 6D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Canon M« »||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Canon 1D X« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||-||HiRec||4.5/5||-||-||Aug 2007||7,999||-|
|Nikon D5« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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