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.
Is the Canon M3 a good camera? The M3 has a Camera Elo of 2124. This rating puts the M3 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the M3 ranks among the top 50 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 12 800 (100 - 25 600)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|4.2 shutter flaps per second|
|250 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g|
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.
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.
|Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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.
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.
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.
| DXO |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
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.
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.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
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.
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.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
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.
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).
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon M6||..||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon 750D||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|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.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Canon M3?
The M3 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
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.
|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 Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6 000 x 4 000 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 - 12 800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25 600 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|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|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|
|Battery Type||LP-E17 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge|
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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