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Nikon D3400 versus Canon M3

The Nikon D3400 and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2016 and February 2015. The D3400 is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. 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: Nikon D3400 vs Canon M3

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3400 and the Canon M3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D3400 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D3400 vs Canon M3
D3400 versus M3 top view
D3400 and M3 rear side
Body view (D3400 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Nikon D3400. Moreover, the M3 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the D3400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3400 nor the M3 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.

Concerning battery life, the D3400 gets 1200 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

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
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Nikon D3400 (⇒ rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 no 2016 499 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon 200D (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 no 2017 549 latest check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 no 2017 499 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 no 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 no 2016 979 latest check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 YES 2017 1,299 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 YES 2016 1,999 latest check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 no 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 no 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 no 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 no 2013 799discont. check
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 no 2012 599discont. check

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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 27 percent) than the M3, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.


Sensor comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Canon M3

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 M3 is 10 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.5 (D3400) and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D3400 and Canon M3 sensor measures
Sensor size

Even though the D3400 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixel. This implies that the D3400 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. In addition, the D3400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the M3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D3400 versus M3 MP
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 review, the D3400 provides substantially higher image quality than the M3, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D3400 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.8 13.9 1192 86
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon 200D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.4 1041 79
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.5 12.9 1272 78
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.4 12.4 1262 77
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.2 827 65
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.7 5568 3712 4K/30p 24.3 14.0 1483 86
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.7 5568 3712 4K/30p 24.0 14.0 1324 83
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1306 84
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1438 84
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.8 1385 82
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.0 13.9 1338 83
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.1 6016 4000 1080/30p 24.1 13.2 1131 81

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D3400 provides a higher frame rate than the M3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Canon M3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3400, the Canon M3, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D3400 (⇒ rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 7 no
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon 200D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 9.8 no
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.1 5 no
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 YES
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 922 tilting YES 8000 8.0 12 no
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 2359 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no no
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 4.0 12 no

The D3400 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: Nikon D3400 vs Canon M3

So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D3400 better than the Canon M3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3400:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (27 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the M3).

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 79g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 8 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.

D3400 10:08 M3

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3400 or the M3 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Nikon D3400 (⇒ rgt) Rec 76/100 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 499 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Canon 200D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec .. 4/5 .. 3.5/5 2017 499 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 82/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 979 latest check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 86/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 1,299 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 91/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 1,999 latest check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 799discont. check
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 73/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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. 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 do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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