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Canon M3 vs M50

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS M50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2015 and February 2018. Both the M3 and the M50 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M3   Canon M50
Canon M3 Canon M50
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/24p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
4.2 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge235 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 116 x 88 x 59 mm, 390 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS M50? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon M50 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, white).

Size Canon M3 vs Canon M50
Compare M3 versus M50 top
Comparison M3 or M50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M50 is notably larger (35 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the M50 is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the M50 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 and compare 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 M50 can take 235 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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» 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Canon M50« 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« » 111 mm 61 mm 46 mm 340 g 230 n Jul 2019 899 i i Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« » 120 mm 70 mm 49 mm 408 g 305 n Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779- i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699- i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon 750D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« » 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
 
Sony A6000« » 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the M50, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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.

Technology-wise, the M50 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the M3 (DIGIC 6), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon M3 and Canon M50 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the M3 and the M50 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the M50 is much more recent (by 3 years) than the M3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Canon EOS M3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M50 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

M3 versus M50 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. 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
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 M50« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« » APS-C 32.3 6960 46404K/30p----Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
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 750D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon 750D
 
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 G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
 
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000

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 M50 provides a better video resolution than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/24p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M50 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M3, the Canon M50, and comparable cameras.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Canon M3
 
Canon M50«2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Canon M50
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 14.0 Y n Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
Canon 750D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n Canon M
 
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M3 and the M50 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M3 and Canon EOS M50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 M50«YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro3.1Y-YCanon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YCanon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
 
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Canon 750D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
 
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000

The M50 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. 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. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Canon M50 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? 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 116x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2015).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M50:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 6).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the M3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M50 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M3 03:07 M50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Canon M50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M3 and the M50 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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»o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Canon M50«+79/100-4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »+82/100--4/5 Jul 2019 899 i i Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »----- Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779- i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699- i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« »+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon 750D« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 X« »+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »---o4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »+-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
 
Sony A6000« »+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 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.

Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers
Canon M50:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Canon M3 vs Canon M50

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M3 Canon M50
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 February 2018
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 779
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 Canon M50
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.72 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 7.22 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 DIGIC 8
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1169 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M3 Canon M50
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Canon M50
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M3 Canon M50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon M3 Canon M50
    Battery Type LP-E17 LP-E12
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge235 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    116 x 88 x 59 mm
    (4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 390 g (13.8 oz)

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