Canon M vs Nikon D3400
The Canon EOS M and the Nikon D3400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and August 2016. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3400 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 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 EOS M and the Nikon D3400? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Nikon D3400 are illustrated 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 Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D3400 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3400 is considerably larger (69 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the D3400 is substantially heavier (49 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the D3400 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||415 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599||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 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 D3400 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the Canon M, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3400 is 11 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.
With 24MP, the D3400 offers a higher resolution than the Canon M (17.9MP), but the D3400 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.31μm for the Canon M). Yet, the D3400 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the Canon M, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3400 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 M are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 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 D3400 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. 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 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 D3400 offers substantially better image quality than the Canon M (overall score 21 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|5.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|14.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|15.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|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 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 D3400 provides a faster frame rate than the Canon M. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3400 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M and Nikon D3400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 700D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the D3400 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon M and the D3400 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 M and Nikon D3400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|3.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 100D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 700D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|10.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the Canon M has a microphone port, which is missing on the D3400. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the Canon M and the D3400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Canon M was replaced by the Canon EOS M3, while the D3400 was followed by the Nikon D3500. Further information on the features and operation of the Canon M and D3400 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D3400 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon M better than the Nikon D3400 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 124x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 147g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2012).
Advantages of the Nikon D3400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the Canon M launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 9 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon D3400 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the D3400 in practical situations. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 700D||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3500||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1300D vs Canon M
- Canon 500D vs Canon M
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon M
- Canon M vs Canon M50 Mark II
- Canon M vs Fujifilm GFX 100
- Canon M vs Panasonic G7
- Fujifilm X10 vs Nikon D3400
- Leica M10-P vs Nikon D3400
- Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D40X
- Nikon D3400 vs Olympus E-330
- Nikon D3400 vs Sony A7R IV
- Nikon D3400 vs Sony A99
Specifications: Canon M vs Nikon D3400
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 M||Nikon D3400|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2012||August 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M||Nikon D3400|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC V||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||86|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||827||1192|
|Screen Specs||Canon M||Nikon D3400|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M||Nikon D3400|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4.3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board 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 M||Nikon D3400|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M||Nikon D3400|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||1200 shots per charge|
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
124 x 98 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||298 g (10.5 oz)||445 g (15.7 oz)|
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