Canon M3 vs Panasonic ZS70
The Canon EOS M3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 (labelled Panasonic TZ90 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2015 and April 2017. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZS70 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M3) and a 1/2.3-inch (ZS70) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Panasonic ZS70 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the ZS70 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 and the Panasonic ZS70 are of equal size. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the ZS70 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS70 has a lens built in, whereas the M3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the M3 gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the ZS70 can take 380 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack. The power pack in the ZS70 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, 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|
|2.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|10.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|11.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|14.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The ZS70 was launched at a lower price than the M3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 ZS70 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZS70 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the M3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the ZS70 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the ZS70 (20.2MP), but the M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 1.18μm for the ZS70) due to its larger sensor. However, the ZS70 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 2 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 pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the ZS70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
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 Panasonic ZS70 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M3 provides substantially higher image quality than the ZS70, with an overall score that is 36 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.5 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.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the ZS70 provides a better video resolution than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the ZS70 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 and Panasonic ZS70 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
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 ZS70 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).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M3 and the ZS70 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the M3 has a hotshoe, while the ZS70 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the M3 and the ZS70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M3 was replaced by the Canon M6, while the ZS70 was followed by the Panasonic ZS80. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon M3 better than the Panasonic ZS70 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (36 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3.5 stops ISO advantage).
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2015).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70:
- 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).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M3 necessitates an extra lens.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the M3).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the M3 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 comes out slightly ahead of the ZS70 (13 : 12 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Panasonic ZS70 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M3 or the ZS70 perform in practice. 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 expert reviews 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.
|1.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|2.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|10.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|11.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|14.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic ZS80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon M3 vs Panasonic ZS70
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||Panasonic ZS70|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|Launch Date||February 2015||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 679||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M3||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||36|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||19.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1169||106|
|Screen Specs||Canon M3||Panasonic ZS70|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M3||Panasonic ZS70|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.2 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M3||Panasonic ZS70|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|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||Panasonic ZS70|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||366 g (12.9 oz)||322 g (11.4 oz)|
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