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Canon 30D vs Canon M

The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS M are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2006 and July 2012. The 30D is a DSLR, while the Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 30D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Canon M provides 17.9 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 30D
versus
Canon M
Canon 30D   Canon M
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 4.3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS M? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon M are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 30D is only available in black.

Size Canon 30D vs Canon M
Compare 30D versus Canon M top
Comparison 30D or Canon M rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the Canon M is substantially lighter (62 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the Canon M are weather-sealed.

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 30D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the Canon M can take 230 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
6.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
9.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
10.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
11.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
12.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
15.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
16.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
17.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
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 Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 percent) than the 30D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the Canon M is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the Canon M uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC V) than the 30D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 30D and Canon M sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. 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 4.31μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 6 years and 5 months) than the 30D, 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 M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

30D versus Canon M MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the Canon M has a markedly higher DXO score than the 30D (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
2.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
6.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
7.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
9.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
10.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
11.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
12.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
13.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
14.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
15.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
16.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
17.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Canon M indeed provides for movie recording, while the 30D does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 30D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Canon M, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
3.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
5.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
7.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
9.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
10.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
12.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
13.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 30D has one, while the Canon M does not. While the built-in flash of the 30D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Canon M uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 30D and Canon EOS M and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
16.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
17.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the Canon M) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 30D and the Canon M have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 30D and the Canon M? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • 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 (5 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2006).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 48%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC V vs DIGIC 2).
  • 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 487g or 62 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (57 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 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. 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.

30D 08:13 Canon M

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Canon M 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 30D and the Canon M in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
6.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
9.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
10.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
11.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
12.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
15.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
16.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
17.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
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.

Canon 30D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon M:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 30D vs Canon M

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 30D Canon M
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 July 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Canon M
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 2 DIGIC V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 65
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 827
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Canon M
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Canon M
    Focus System Phase-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 4.3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Canon M
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 30D Canon M
    Battery Type BP-511A LP-E12
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 298 g (10.5 oz)

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