Canon 850D vs M3
The Canon EOS 850D (called Canon T8i in some regions) and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2020 and February 2015. The 850D is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
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 850D 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 850D and the Canon M3. 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 850D 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 (44 percent) than the Canon 850D. Moreover, the M3 is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the 850D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 850D 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. 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.
|1.||Canon 850D||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|3.||Canon RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|9.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|12.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|13.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|14.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|15.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|16.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|17.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|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 somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the 850D at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 more expensive and 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 850D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the M3 (DIGIC 6), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the 850D and the M3 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the 850D is much more recent (by 5 years) than the M3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Canon EOS 850D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||4K/30p||24.3||11.9||2977||85|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||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 can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 850D provides a higher video resolution than the M3. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 850D 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 850D, the Canon M3, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 850D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n|
|2.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|3.||Canon RP||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 250D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 800D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 750D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|16.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|17.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
The Canon 850D has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 850D and the M3 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 850D and Canon EOS M3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 850D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon RP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 250D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Canon 2000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon 800D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Canon 750D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Canon 760D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The 850D is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M3 was succeeded 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 850D 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 850D:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 6).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.5 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the M3 launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 131x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 149g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 850D is the clear winner of the match-up (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. 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 850D 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 850D 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 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], 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.
|1.||Canon 850D||4/5||+||3/5||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|3.||Canon RP||4/5||+||4/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||4/5||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|9.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|12.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|13.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|14.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|15.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|16.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|17.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 100D vs Canon M3
- Canon 850D vs Canon M50 Mark II
- Canon 850D vs Canon T5
- Canon 850D vs Fujifilm GFX 100S
- Canon 850D vs Olympus PEN-F
- Canon 850D vs Panasonic TZ90
- Canon 850D vs Pentax K-70
- Canon M3 vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon M3 vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
- Canon M3 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic LX7
- Canon M3 vs Sony A5100
Specifications: Canon 850D 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 850D||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 2020||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 679|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 850D||Canon M3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1169|
|Screen Specs||Canon 850D||Canon M3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 850D||Canon M3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.5 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 850D||Canon M3|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon 850D||Canon M3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
131 x 103 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||515 g (18.2 oz)||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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