Canon M3 vs Sony A77 II
The Canon EOS M3 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2015 and May 2014. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A77 II is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Sony A77 II. 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 A77 II 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 Sony A77 II is considerably larger (97 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the A77 II is substantially heavier (77 percent) than the M3. It is noteworthy in this context that the A77 II is splash and dust-proof, while the M3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||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 M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||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.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A6600||120 mm||67 mm||69 mm||503 g||810||Y||Aug 2019||1,399||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399||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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 43 percent) than the A77 II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 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. 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 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 A77 II is 11 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.
Even though the A77 II has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A77 II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the M3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the M3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the A77 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
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 is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A77 II has a markedly higher DXO score than the M3 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.4||13.4||1013||82|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||24.0||13.6||1939||83|
|7.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||471||62|
|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 two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A77 II provides a faster frame rate than the M3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A77 II has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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 Sony A77 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|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 M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|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.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A6600||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0 / 921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|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 A77 II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A77 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II 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.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|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 M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||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.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A6600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||YES||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A77||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A77 II (unlike the M3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the M3 and the A77 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The M3 was replaced by the Canon M6, while the A77 II does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the M3 and A77 II can be found, respectively, in the Canon M3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A77 II Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Sony A77 II – 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.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 281g or 43 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (43 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the A77 II).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (480 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A77 II is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Sony A77 II 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M3 and the A77 II 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199||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 M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||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.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A6600||4/5||+||4/5||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2019||1,399||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||..||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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 70D vs Canon M3
- Canon M3 vs Canon SL1
- Canon M3 vs Canon T7
- Canon M3 vs Leica D-LUX 6
- Canon M3 vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic LX100
- Canon R10 vs Sony A77 II
- Nikon Z fc vs Sony A77 II
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony A77 II
- Pentax K-1 vs Sony A77 II
- Sony A3000 vs Sony A77 II
- Sony A77 II vs Sony RX10
Specifications: Canon M3 vs Sony A77 II
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||Sony A77 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2015||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 679||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M3||Sony A77 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||24.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1169||1013|
|Screen Specs||Canon M3||Sony A77 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M3||Sony A77 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.2 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M3||Sony A77 II|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M3||Sony A77 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||480 shots per charge|
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||366 g (12.9 oz)||647 g (22.8 oz)|
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