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Canon G9 X Mark II versus Canon M3

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and February 2015. The G9X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G9X Mark II) and an APS-C sensor. The G9X Mark II has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the M3 provides 24 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G9 X Mark II and the Canon M3. 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. 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 G9X Mark II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Canon G9 X Mark II vs Canon M3 front
G9X Mark II versus M3 top view
G9X Mark II and M3 rear side
Body view (G9X Mark II on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Canon G9 X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X Mark II nor the M3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G9X Mark II has a lens build in, whereas the M3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 no 2017 529 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 no 2017 499 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 no 2017 549 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 no 2016 979 latest check
Canon T6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 no 2016 449 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 no 2015 529discont. check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 no 2015 499discont. check
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 no 2015 749discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G9X Mark II was launched at a lower price than the M3, despite having a lens build in. 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

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G9 X Mark II features an one-inch sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M3 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 G9 X Mark II and Canon M3 sensor measures
Sensor size

With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the G9X Mark II (20MP), but the M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the G9X Mark II) due to its larger sensor. However, the G9X Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

G9X Mark II versus M3 MP
Sensor resolution

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 G9X Mark II (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.2 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.9 12.5 522 65
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.5 12.9 1272 78
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.4 1041 79
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.4 12.4 1262 77
Canon T6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p - - - -
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.5 12.3 495 63
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.2 11.4 753 65
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 22.7 12.0 919 71
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.2 827 65
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.4 586 70

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, but the G9X Mark II provides a higher frame rate than the M3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G9X Mark II and the M3 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G9 X Mark II, the Canon M3, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 8.2 6 YES
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.1 5 no
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 9.8 no
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon T6 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 920 fixed no 4000 3.0 9.2 no
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 8.0 7 YES
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 6.0 6 YES
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.6 5 no
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 YES
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 YES
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 24.0 10.2 YES

The G9X Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the M3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M3 was succeeded by the Canon M6.

Summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G9 X Mark II better than the Canon M3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.2 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the M3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x58mm vs 111x68mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the M3).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the M3).

Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G9X Mark II comes out slightly ahead of the M3 (8 : 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.

G9X Mark II 08:07 M3

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G9X Mark II or the M3. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) .. 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 529 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec .. 4/5 .. 3.5/5 2017 499 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 82/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 979 latest check
Canon T6 (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 73/100 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2016 449 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 529discont. check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed 4/5 2015 499discont. check
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 749discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Other comparisons

If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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