PW

Canon M3 Comparison Review

The Canon EOS M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in February 2015 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.

camera

The Canon M3 has a Camera Elo of 2331. This rating puts the M3 among the top 50 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the M3 falls among the top 30 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Canon M3
Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)
Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen
4.2 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g


badge

Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Canon M3 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Canon M3 vs credit card front
M3 versus credit card top view
M3 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Canon M3 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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
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 M3 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
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 M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon M3 was launched in the US market at a price of $679. 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.

Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Canon M3 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Canon M3 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Canon M3 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
 
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
 
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
 
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The M3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
 
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y n Canon M50
 
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M

One convenient feature of the M3 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection 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 M3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
 
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
 
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M

It is notable that the M3 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M3 handle or perform in practice. 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 adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 M3o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Canon M50« »+79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »++81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »++78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »---o4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon G7 X« »++77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »+-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon M3 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the M3.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the M3?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Canon equipped the M3 with the DIGIC 6 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the M3?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800.

Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?

Yes, Canon provides the EVF-DC1 as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the M3 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Canon EOS M3?

Canon mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the M3. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the M3 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Does the Canon M3 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The M3's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Canon M3 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the M3 use?

The camera gets its power from the LP-E17 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~
    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Canon M3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015
    Launch Price USD 679
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1169
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type LP-E17 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here  »   »