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Canon M3 versus Canon M5

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS M5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and September 2016. Both the M3 and the M5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. 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 M5

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon M5. 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. 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 side – the M3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon M3 vs Canon M5
Compare M3 versus M5 top
Compare M3 and M5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M5 is notably larger (37 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the M5 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the M5 are weather-sealed.

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
  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 M5« 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 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 SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 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 M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i 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. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the M5, 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 M5

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M3 and Canon M5 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the M3 and the M5 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the M5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

M3 versus M5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the M5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the M3 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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 M5« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
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 M5 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 M5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the M5 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M3, the Canon M5, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, 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 M5«2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y n
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 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 SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T6s« »optical Y 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 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 M5 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 M5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Canon M5 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 116x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 61g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M5:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (295 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 7 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M5 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 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 04:09 M5

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 M5 handle or perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 M5«Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M50« »Rec79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 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 SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i 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 assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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