Canon M3 versus Canon 6D
The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS 6D are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and September 2012. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the 6D is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M3) and a full frame (6D) sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the 6D provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon M3 vs Canon 6D
The physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon 6D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the M3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 6D is considerably larger (113 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the 6D is substantially heavier (110 percent) than the M3. It is noteworthy in this context that the 6D is splash and dust-proof, while the M3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left 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 camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Canon M3»||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Canon 6D«||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Canon M50« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M5« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon T6i« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||-|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||-|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 68 percent) than the 6D, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Canon M3 vs Canon 6D
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M3 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon 6D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 6D is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 20 MP of the Canon 6D. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 6.57μm for the 6D). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the 6D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 6D has a markedly higher DXO score than the M3 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 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.
|Canon 6D«||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon M50« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon T6i« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon G5 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Canon G7 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65|
|Canon 1D X« »||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|Sony A6000« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Feature comparison: Canon M3 vs Canon 6D
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 6D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 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 M3, the Canon 6D, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Canon M50« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon T6i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon G5 X« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||8000||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon G7 X« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||6.5||Y||Y|
|Canon 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||6.0||n||n|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.3||n||n|
|Canon 1D X« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||14.0||n||n|
|Sony A6000« »||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n|
Both the M3 and the 6D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 6D was replaced by the Canon 6D Mark II, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6.
Review summary: Canon M3 vs Canon 6D
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M3 and the Canon 6D? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 145x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 404g or 52 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (68 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 6D launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 6D:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1090 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the M3 and the 6D 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon M3»||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Canon 6D«||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Canon M50« »||Rec||79/100||-||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||HiRec||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon T6i« »||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon G7 X« »||HiRec||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon 70D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||-|
|Canon M« »||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Canon 1D X« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||-|
|Sony A6000« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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