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Canon M3 versus Canon G5 X

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon PowerShot G5 X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2015 and October 2015. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the G5X is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M3) and an one-inch (G5X) sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the G5X 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 G5 X

The physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon G5 X are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 – the M3 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon M3 vs Canon G5 X
Compare M3 versus G5X top
Compare M3 and G5X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G5 X is notably larger (13 percent) than the Canon M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the G5X are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G5X has a lens build in, whereas the M3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the M3 gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the G5X can take 210 images on a single charge of its NB-13L 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)
Canon M3» 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Canon G5 X« 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
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 T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i

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. 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 G5 X

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 G5 X an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G5X is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M3 and Canon G5 X sensor measures

With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the G5X (20MP), but the M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the G5X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G5X is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

M3 versus G5X MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon M3» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Canon G5 X« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G5X provides a faster frame rate than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon M3 vs Canon G5 X

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G5X has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 and Canon G5 X 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 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
Canon M3»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Canon G5 X«2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y 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 G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n

The G5X is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the M3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M3 was succeeded by the Canon M6.

Review summary: Canon M3 vs Canon G5 X

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Canon G5 X – 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 low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 112x76mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (250 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G5 X:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M3 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the M3).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G5X comes out slightly ahead of the M3 (8 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

M3 07:08 G5X

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M3 or the G5X. 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 cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon M3»rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Canon G5 X«HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon M50« »Rec79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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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