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Canon M3 vs XT

The Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (labelled Canon 350D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and February 2005. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the XT is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The M3 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the XT provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M3 versus Canon XT
Canon M3 Canon XT
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-1,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 1.8 LCD, 115k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 127 x 94 x 64 mm, 540 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Canon EOS Rebel XT? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Canon XT. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the XT is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XT is considerably larger (58 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the XT is substantially heavier (48 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the XT 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 XT can take 400 images on a single charge of its NB-2LH power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M3 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679i
2.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 387 g 305 n Oct 2020 599 i
4.
 
Canon M50 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779i
5.
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
6.
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
7.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
8.
 
Canon M5 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
9.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
10.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
11.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
12.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
13.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
14.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
15.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
Notes: 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 24 percent) than the XT, 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.

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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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 XT 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 XT (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon M3 and Canon XT sensor measures

With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the XT (8MP), but the M3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 6.41μm for the XT). However, the M3 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 11 months) than the XT, 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 XT are 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for good quality, 13.8 x 9.2 inches or 35.1 x 23.4 cm for very good quality, and 11.5 x 7.7 inches or 29.3 x 19.5 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 XT are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

M3 versus XT MP

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 XT, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
2.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
4.
 
Canon M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
5.
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
6.
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
7.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
8.
 
Canon M5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
9.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
10.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
11.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
12.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
13.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
14.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
15.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XT does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the XT 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 XT along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Canon M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
2.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon M502360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
8.
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
10.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
13.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
14.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M3 has a touchscreen, while the XT 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 XT does not have a selfie-screen.

The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XT uses Compact Flash cards.

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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 Rebel XT and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon M50YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
7.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
8.
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
9.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
15.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---

It is notable that the M3 offers wifi support, while the XT does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the M3 and the XT have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XT was replaced by the Canon Xti, 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M3 and the Canon XT? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 8MP) with a 74% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 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 (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC II).
  • 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 115k 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 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 174g or 32 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.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 11 months of technical progress since the XT launch.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XT:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 3 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 20:03 XT

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Canon XT 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 XT. 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.

Expert reviews

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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M34/5o75/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
2.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II......4.5/53.5/5 Oct 2020 599 i
4.
 
Canon M50..+79/100..3.5/5 Feb 2018 779i
5.
 
Canon 77D4.5/5..82/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
6.
 
Canon M6....80/1004/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
7.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
8.
 
Canon M54/5+82/1004/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
9.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
10.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
11.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
12.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
13.
 
Canon M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
14.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
15.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers
Canon XT:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 XT

    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 XT
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 February 2005
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 Canon XT
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3456 x 2304 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 6.41 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 2.42 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 II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 60
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 21.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1169 637
    Screen Specs Canon M3 Canon XT
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 115k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Canon XT
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon M3 Canon XT
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no 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 XT
    Battery Type LP-E17 NB-2LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    127 x 94 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 540 g (19.0 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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