Canon 30D vs M3
The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2006 and February 2015. The 30D is a DSLR, while the M3 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 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 30D 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon M3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 30D 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 (51 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (53 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the M3 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.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|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 M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|10.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|11.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|17.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 51 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 M3 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 M3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 30D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.72μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 8 years and 11 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 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 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 M3 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 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the M3 offers substantially better image quality than the 30D (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|6.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The M3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 30D 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 30D 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Canon M3, and comparable cameras.
|6.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 30D, 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 30D does not have a selfie-screen.
The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the M3 uses SDXC 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 30D and Canon EOS M3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
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 30D does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the M3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 30D and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 30D or the Canon M3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
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 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- 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 M3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 71%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 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).
- 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 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 419g or 53 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (51 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 7 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 30D 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 30D||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|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 M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|10.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|11.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Canon 20D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|17.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 30D 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 30D||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 2006||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,399||USD 679|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 30D||Canon M3|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||7.22 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 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||59||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||11.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||736||1169|
|Screen Specs||Canon 30D||Canon M3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|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||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 30D||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||5 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 30D||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 30D||Canon M3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||785 g (27.7 oz)||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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