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Canon M vs Nikon D3000

The Canon EOS M and the Nikon D3000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and July 2009. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3000 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M versus Nikon D3000
Canon M Nikon D3000
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Nikon D3000? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Nikon D3000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D3000 is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Nikon D3000
Compare Canon M versus D3000 top
Comparison Canon M or D3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3000 is considerably larger (70 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the D3000 is substantially heavier (80 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the D3000 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.

Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the D3000 can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9a power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3000 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599i
 
Canon M100 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon M10 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon G7 X 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SL1 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T5i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T3i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Nikon D3100 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D5000 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D60 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629i
 
Nikon D40X 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Panasonic GF6 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G3 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

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

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3000 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Canon M) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M and Nikon D3000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D3000. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 6.11μm for the D3000). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the D3000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3000 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

Canon M versus D3000 MP

For many 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3000 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3000 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M, the Nikon D3000, and comparable cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the D3000 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3000 uses SDHC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D3000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 M and Nikon D3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---

Both the Canon M and the D3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M and the Nikon D3000? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 10MP) with a 34% higher linear resolution.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 126x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 238g or 44 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D3000 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D3000:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 12:04 D3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon D3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the D3000 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D6080/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon M vs Nikon D3000

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M Nikon D3000
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 July 2009
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon M Nikon D3000
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC V EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 563
    Screen Specs Canon M Nikon D3000
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Nikon D3000
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Nikon D3000
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon M Nikon D3000
    Battery Type LP-E12 EN-EL9a
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 536 g (18.9 oz)

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