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Canon M3 vs M6 Mark II

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS M6 Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and August 2019. Both the M3 and the M6 Mark II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the M6 Mark II provides 32.3 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M3   Canon M6 Mark II
Canon M3 Canon M6 Mark II
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 32.3 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
4.2 shutter flaps per second 14 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge305 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 120 x 70 x 49 mm, 408 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS M6 Mark II? 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 M6 Mark II 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the M6 Mark II is only available in black.

Size Canon M3 vs Canon M6 Mark II
Compare M3 versus M6 Mark II top
Comparison M3 or M6 Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M6 Mark II is notably larger (11 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the M6 Mark II is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the M6 Mark II 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.

The power pack in the M6 Mark II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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» 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Canon M6 Mark II« 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 305 n Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon T7« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
 
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779- 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 M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799- 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 T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
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 M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the M6 Mark II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the M6 Mark II is 2 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the M6 Mark II 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 M6 Mark II sensor measures

With 32.3MP, the M6 Mark II offers a higher resolution than the M3 (24MP), but the M6 Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.23μm versus 3.72μm for the M3). Yet, the M6 Mark II is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 6 months) than the M3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon M6 Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M6 Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 34.8 x 23.2 inch or 88.4 x 58.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 27.8 x 18.6 inch or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 23.2 x 15.5 inch or 58.9 x 39.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M3 are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

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 M6 Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

M3 versus M6 Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 M6 Mark II« APS-C 32.3 6960 46404K/30p----Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
 
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----Canon T7
 
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
 
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 T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
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

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, but the M6 Mark II provides a better video resolution than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the M3 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M3 and the M6 Mark II are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF-DC1 for the M3 and the EVF-DC2 for the M6 Mark II – are available as accessories. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M3, the Canon M6 Mark II, 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 M6 Mark II«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 14.0 Y n Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Canon M50
 
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T7
 
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 M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
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 T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
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
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.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the M6 Mark II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Canon M6 Mark II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M3 and the M6 Mark II write their files to SDXC cards. The M6 Mark II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the M3 can use UHS-I cards (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 M6 Mark II 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 M6 Mark II«YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YCanon M6 Mark II
 
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
 
Canon T7« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T7
 
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M

The M6 Mark II 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon M3 better than the Canon M6 Mark II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 42g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2015).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M6 Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (32.3 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 6).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (305 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the M3 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M6 Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 4 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M3 04:10 M6 Mark II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Canon M6 Mark II 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M3 and the M6 Mark II 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 M6 Mark II«----- Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon M50« »+79/100-4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon T7« »o-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
 
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 M5« »+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
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 T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
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
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers
Canon M6 Mark II:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Canon M3 vs Canon M6 Mark II

    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 M6 Mark II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF-M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 August 2019
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 849
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 Canon M6 Mark II
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.5 x 15.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 337.5 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 27 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 32.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6960 x 4640 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.23 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 9.57 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p 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 M6 Mark II
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    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 Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Canon M6 Mark II
    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 14 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    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-II
    Connectivity Specs Canon M3 Canon M6 Mark II
    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 no NFC
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon M3 Canon M6 Mark II
    Battery Type LP-E17 LP-E17
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge305 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    120 x 70 x 49 mm
    (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 408 g (14.4 oz)

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