Canon M3 vs XSi
The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and January 2008. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the XSi is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon XSi 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.
The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the XSi is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is considerably larger (67 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the XSi is substantially heavier (43 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the XSi 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the XSi, 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the XSi is 1 percent smaller. 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the M3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the XSi (12.2MP), but the M3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi). However, the M3 is a much more recent model (by 7 years) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
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 Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 review, the M3 provides substantially higher image quality than the XSi, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||24.0||13.6||1939||83|
|11.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The M3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the XSi 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M3 and Canon XSi along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|2.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|13.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M3 has a touchscreen, while the XSi has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the XSi does not have a selfie-screen.
The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XSi uses SDHC cards. The M3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XSi cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M3 offers wifi support, while the XSi does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the M3 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the M3 was followed 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon M3 better than the Canon XSi or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP) with a 40% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- 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 selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 158g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years of technical progress since the XSi launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 3 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. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Canon XSi place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M3 or the XSi. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon XSi
- Canon M3 vs Canon SX620
- Canon M3 vs Leica CL
- Canon M3 vs Nikon D60
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic FZ2000
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic ZS80
- Canon M3 vs Sony A7R III
- Canon XSi vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Canon XSi vs Leica V-LUX 3
- Canon XSi vs Nikon D2H
- Canon XSi vs Panasonic FZ150
- Canon XSi vs Panasonic GF1
Specifications: Canon M3 vs Canon XSi
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 Model||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2015||January 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 679||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||3.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||DIGIC 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1169||692|
|Screen Specs||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||4.2 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon M3||Canon XSi|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||366 g (12.9 oz)||524 g (18.5 oz)|
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