Canon G9 X vs M3
The Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2015 and February 2015. The G9X is a fixed lens compact, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G9X) and an APS-C (M3) sensor. The G9X has a resolution of 20 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 PowerShot G9 X 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 G9 X 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G9X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the M3 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).
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. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X nor the M3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G9X has a lens built 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.
Concerning battery life, the G9X gets 220 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack. The power pack in the G9X can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1300D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G9X was launched at a lower price than the M3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G9 X 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.
With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the G9X (20MP), but the M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the G9X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G9X is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 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.
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 G9 X are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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 PowerShot G9 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800. 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.
In terms of underlying technology, the G9X is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the M3 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G9X (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.2 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.
|1.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|8.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||471||62|
|12.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G9X provides a higher frame rate than the M3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G9X 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G9 X and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 1300D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon SX620||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Canon G9 X 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 G9X 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 PowerShot G9 X 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 G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 1300D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX620||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon 1200D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the M3 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The G9X does not feature such a mic input.
Both the G9X and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The M3 was replaced by the Canon M6, while the G9X was followed by the Canon G9 X Mark II. Further information on the features and operation of the G9X and M3 can be found, respectively, in the Canon G9 X Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon M3 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G9 X and the Canon M3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G9 X:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-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 built-in lens (unlike the M3).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 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 (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (250 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 G9 X and the Canon M3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G9X or the M3 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1300D||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon G9 X 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 G9 X||Canon M3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-84mm f/2.0-4.9||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2015||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 529||USD 679|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G9 X||Canon M3|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||11.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||495||1169|
|Screen Specs||Canon G9 X||Canon M3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G9 X||Canon M3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G9 X||Canon M3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G9 X||Canon M3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
98 x 58 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in)
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||209 g (7.4 oz)||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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