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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 sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the 6D provides 20 MP.

Body comparison

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).

Canon M3 vs Canon 6D front
M3 versus 6D top view
M3 and 6D rear side
Body view (M3 on the left)

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon M3 (⇒ rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon 6D (⇒ lft) 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 YES 2012 2,099discont. check
Canon M50 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 no 2018 779 latest check
Canon 6D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 YES 2017 1,999 latest check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 no 2017 499 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 no 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 no 2016 979 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 no 2015 749discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 YES 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 950 g 950 YES 2012 3,499discont. check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 YES 2011 6,799discont. check
Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 no 2014 599discont. check

The listed 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

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.

Canon M3 and Canon 6D sensor measures
Sensor size

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
Sensor resolution

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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon M3 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon 6D (⇒ lft) Full Frame 20.0 5472 3648 1080/30p 23.8 12.1 2340 82
Canon M50 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/24p .. .. .. ..
Canon 6D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 26.0 6240 4160 1080/60p 24.4 11.9 2862 85
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.5 12.9 1272 78
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.4 12.4 1262 77
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 22.7 12.0 919 71
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 11.8 1082 70
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/30p 22.5 11.6 926 68
Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 22.1 5760 3840 1080/30p 24 11.7 2293 81
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.2 827 65
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 23.8 11.8 2786 82
Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 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

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.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon M3 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon 6D (⇒ lft) optical YES 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 4.5 no no
Canon M50 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 10.0 5 no
Canon 6D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 6.5 no no
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.1 5 no
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 8.0 7 YES
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 YES
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 fixed no 8000 10.0 11 no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 6.0 no no
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 14.0 no no
Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no

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.

Summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M3 and the Canon M3? 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.

M3 09:07 6D

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. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon M3 (⇒ rgt) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Canon 6D (⇒ lft) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 2,099discont. check
Canon M50 (⇒ lft | rgt) .. 79/100 Silver .. .. 3.5/5 2018 779 latest check
Canon 6D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 4.5/5 4/5 4/5 2017 1,999 latest check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec .. 4/5 .. 3.5/5 2017 499 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 82/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 979 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) - 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 749discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 3,499discont. check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 6,799discont. check
Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2014 599discont. check

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.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, 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 you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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