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Canon G3 X versus Canon M5

The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Canon EOS M5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2015 and September 2016. The G3X is a fixed lens compact, while the M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G3X) and an APS-C (M5) sensor. The G3X has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the M5 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 G3 X vs Canon M5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G3 X and the Canon M5 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G3X – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon G3 X vs Canon M5
Compare G3X versus M5 top
Compare G3X and M5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M5 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Canon G3 X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the G3X is splash and dust resistant, while the M5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G3X has a lens build in, whereas the M5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the G3X gets 300 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the M5 can take 295 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 G3 X» 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon M5« 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G9 X« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
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 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i Sony RX10 III
Sony RX10 II« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 G3 X vs Canon M5

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G3 X features an one-inch sensor and the Canon M5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M5 is 186 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon G3 X and Canon M5 sensor measures

With 24MP, the M5 offers a higher resolution than the G3X (20MP), but the M5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the G3X) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the G3X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

G3X versus M5 MP

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 consideration, the M5 offers substantially better image quality than the G3X (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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.

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 G3 X» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
Canon M5« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon G9 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563Canon G9 X
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270Sony RX10 III
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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 (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon G3 X vs Canon M5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M5 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G3X relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the G3X can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G3 X and Canon M5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. 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 G3 X»- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
Canon M5«2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon G9 X« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 6.0 Y Y Canon G9 X
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 III
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV

Both the G3X and the M5 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Canon.

Review summary: Canon G3 X vs Canon M5

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G3 X and the Canon M5? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G3 X:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the M5 requires a separate lens.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2015).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 2 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M5 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

G3X 05:09 M5

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G3X and the M5 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 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 G3 X»Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon M5«Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G9 X« »HiRec-4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i Sony RX10 III
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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