Canon M3 versus Panasonic GX80
The Canon EOS M3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 (labelled Panasonic GX85 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and April 2016. Both the M3 and the GX80 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M3) and a Four Thirds (GX80) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon M3 vs Panasonic GX80
The physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Panasonic GX80 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the M3 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX80 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the GX80 is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the GX80 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 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Canon M3»||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Panasonic GX80«||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|Canon M50« »||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon M100« »||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M5« »||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon 750D« »||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X« »||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon M« »||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||799||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Panasonic GX9« »||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic G80« »||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX7« »||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999||-|
|Sony A6000« »||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 GX80, 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: Canon M3 vs Panasonic GX80
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M3 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GX80 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GX80 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the M3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GX80 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the GX80 (15.8MP), but the M3 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.77μm for the GX80). Moreover, the GX80 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX80 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
For most 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GX80«||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|Canon M50« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 750D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon G5 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G7 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Panasonic GX9« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic G80« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic GX7« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Sony A6000« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX80 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: Canon M3 vs Panasonic GX80
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the GX80 has an electronic viewfinder (2765k 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 and Panasonic GX80 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon M50« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon 750D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon G5 X« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||6.5||Y||Y|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.3||n||n|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic GX9« »||2760||n||3.0||1240||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic G80« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||9.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic GX7« »||2760||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||8000||5.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A6000« »||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n|
The GX80 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. 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.
Review summary: Canon M3 vs Panasonic GX80
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Panasonic GX80 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 122x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 60g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GX80 comes out slightly ahead of the M3 (8 : 7 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the M3 and the GX80 in practical situations. 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon M3»||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-|
|Panasonic GX80«||HiRec||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|Canon M50« »||Rec||79/100||-||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||HiRec||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon 750D« »||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X« »||HiRec||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon M« »||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||799||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||HiRec||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Panasonic GX9« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic G80« »||HiRec||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX7« »||Rec||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999||-|
|Sony A6000« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||-|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.
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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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