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Canon M3 versus Canon 6D

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS 6D are two digital cameras that were announced, 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. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the M3 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon M3 vs Canon 6D
Compare M3 versus 6D top
Compare M3 and 6D rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the M3 gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the 6D can take 1090 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack.

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
  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 6D« 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
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 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
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 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
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 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
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 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 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. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

In terms of chip-set technology, the M3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 6D (DIGIC 5+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon M3 and Canon 6D sensor measures

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.

M3 versus 6D MP

For many 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"). 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.

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 6D« Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
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 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
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 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
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 two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 and Canon 6D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon M3»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon 6D«optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y n Canon M50
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
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 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
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 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
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 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M3 has one, while the 6D does not. While the build-in flash of the M3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Both the M3 and the 6D write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

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 M3»YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
Canon 6D«YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M

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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Canon 6D – has the upper hand? 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.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 5+).
  • 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.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • 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.


Advantages 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: Features 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 relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 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.

M3 11:07 6D

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M3 or the 6D 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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 M3»rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon 6D«HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon M50« »Rec79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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