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Canon 600D versus Canon M3

The Canon EOS 600D (called Canon T3i in some regions) and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and February 2015. The 600D is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 600D has a resolution of 17.9 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 600D vs Canon M3

The physical size and weight of the Canon 600D and the Canon M3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 600D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 600D vs Canon M3
Compare 600D versus M3 top
Compare 600D and M3 rear

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 (43 percent) than the Canon 600D. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the 600D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 600D 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 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 600D gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

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
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 600D» 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Canon M3« 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon 1200D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 100D« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Canon 700D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon 1100D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 550D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 500D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D

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 600D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 12 percent) than the M3, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 600D vs Canon M3

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 600D and Canon M3 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 17.9 MP of the 600D. This megapixel advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 4.31μm for the 600D). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the 600D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

600D versus M3 MP

For most 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 M3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 600D (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 600D» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon 600D
Canon M3« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon 1200D
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon 100D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon 100D
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon 700D
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
Canon 1100D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon 1100D
Canon 550D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon 550D
Canon 500D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon 500D

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 600D vs Canon M3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 600D 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 600D and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 600D»optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 600D
Canon M3«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n Canon M100
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1200D
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon 100D« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon 100D
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 700D
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
Canon 1100D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1100D
Canon 550D« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 550D
Canon 500D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon 500D

Both the 600D and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 600D was replaced by the Canon 650D, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6.

Review summary: Canon 600D vs Canon M3

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 600D or the Canon M3 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 600D:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (12 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).


Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 204g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the 600D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 5 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.

600D 05:09 M3

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 600D and the M3 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 600D»rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Canon M3«rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon 1200D« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 100D« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon 1100D« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 550D« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 500D« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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