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Canon M3 vs Leica TL2

The Canon EOS M3 and the Leica TL2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and July 2017. Both the M3 and the TL2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 24.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M3 VS Leica TL2
Canon M3 Leica TL2
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-50000
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.7" LCD, 1230k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
4.2 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge250 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 399 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Leica TL2? 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 Leica TL2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 TL2 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

Size Canon M3 vs Leica TL2
Compare M3 versus TL2 top
Comparison M3 or TL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL2 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the TL2 is markedly heavier (9 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the TL2 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 TL2 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3» 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679iCanon M3
 
Leica TL2« 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 iLeica TL2
 
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779iCanon M6
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699iCanon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 iCanon M5
 
Canon 750D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799iCanon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499iCanon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699iCanon G7 X
 
Canon M« » 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599iCanon M
 
Leica C-LUX« » 113 mm 67 mm 46 mm 340 g 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 iLeica C-LUX
 
Leica CL« » 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica TL« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695iLeica TL
 
Leica T« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Sony A6000« » 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599iSony A6000
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 65 percent) than the TL2, 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the TL2 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M3) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon M3 and Leica TL2 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the TL2 offers a higher resolution than the M3 (24MP), but the TL2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 3.72μm for the M3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the TL2 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the M3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

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 Leica TL2 are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).

M3 versus TL2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). 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
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica TL2
 
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 40001080/30p22.712.091971Canon 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
 
Leica C-LUX 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........Leica C-LUX
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica CL
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........Leica TL
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the TL2 provides a better video resolution than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M3 and the TL2 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 Visoflex (Typ 020) for the TL2 – are available as accessories. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M3, the Leica TL2, 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 M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Canon M3
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n Leica TL2
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M6
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n Canon M
 
Leica C-LUX2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M3 has one, while the TL2 does not. While the built-in flash of the M3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

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 TL2 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M3 and the TL2 write their files to SDXC cards. The TL2 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 Leica TL2 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 750D
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
 
Leica C-LUX-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
 
Leica CLYstereomono--nonenoneY--Leica CL
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Leica TYstereomono--none2.0Y--Leica T
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000

It is notable that the M3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the TL2. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

The TL2 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. 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 and Leica websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Leica TL2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 134x69mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2015).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica TL2:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the M3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 comes out slightly ahead of the TL2 (10 : 9 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 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 10:09 TL2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Leica TL2 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M3 or the TL2. 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 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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon M3o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679iCanon M3
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 iLeica TL2
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779iCanon M6
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699iCanon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M5+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 iCanon M5
 
Canon 750D..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799iCanon G5 X
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499iCanon M10
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699iCanon G7 X
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599iCanon M
 
Leica C-LUX....4.5/5..4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 iLeica C-LUX
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695iLeica TL
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599iSony A6000
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. 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. 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
Leica TL2:
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.

~

    Specifications: Canon M3 vs Leica TL2

    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 Leica TL2
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 July 2017
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 1950
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 Leica TL2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6014 x 4014 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.92 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 6.52 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-50000 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO no Enhancement
    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 Leica TL2
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Leica TL2
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board 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 Leica TL2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon M3 Leica TL2
    Battery Type LP-E17 BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge250 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)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 399 g (14.1 oz)

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