Canon M3 vs Sony RX10 II
The Canon EOS M3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and June 2015. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX10 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M3) and an one-inch (RX10 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M3 and the Sony RX10 II is provided 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the RX10 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 RX10 II is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Canon M3. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 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 and possibly misleading, as the RX10 II 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 RX10 II can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the RX10 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|3.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|8.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|10.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|11.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|12.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|13.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|14.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|15.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|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. 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.
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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M3 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX10 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 II is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the RX10 II (20MP), but the M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the RX10 II) due to its larger sensor. However, the RX10 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the M3, and its sensor might 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 Sony RX10 II are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|10.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|15.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX10 II 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 RX10 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 RX10 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M3 has a touchscreen, while the RX10 II 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 RX10 II does not have a selfie-screen.
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 RX10 II 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).
The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the M3 and the RX10 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M3 was replaced by the Canon M6, while the RX10 II was followed by the Sony RX10 III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M3 or the Sony RX10 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 129x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II:
- 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).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- 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).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 II is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Sony RX10 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M3 or the RX10 II perform in practice. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|3.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|8.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|10.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|11.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|12.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|13.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|14.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|15.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 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.
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.
Specifications: Canon M3 vs Sony RX10 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 RX10 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||24-200mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2015||June 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 679||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M3||Sony RX10 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||64 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||23.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1169||531|
|Screen Specs||Canon M3||Sony RX10 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||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M3||Sony RX10 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/3200s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.2 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M3||Sony RX10 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M3||Sony RX10 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||400 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)
129 x 88 x 102 mm
(5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0 in)
|Camera Weight||366 g (12.9 oz)||813 g (28.7 oz)|
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