Sony A6000 versus Canon M3
The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and February 2015. Both the A6000 and the M3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that 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: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
The physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 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. 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 side – the A6000 – represents the basis for the calculations 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 Canon M3 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Sony A6000. However, the M3 is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the A6000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A6000 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.
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|
|Sony A6000»||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||-|
|Canon M3«||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-|
|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 G5 X« »||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon M« »||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony A5100« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A5000« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||-|
|Sony A3000« »||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||-|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||-|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||2776 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699||-|
|Sony NEX-6« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999||-|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599||-|
|Sony NEX-7« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||-|
|Sony NEX-3« »||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||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 A6000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 12 percent) than the M3, 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: Sony A6000 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 (A6000) and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A6000 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixel. This implies that the A6000 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 11 months) than the A6000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the A6000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the M3 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional 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.
|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 G5 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Sony A5100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony A5000« »||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79|
|Sony A3000« »||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60p||23.6||13.0||1015||78|
|Sony NEX-6« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73|
|Sony NEX-7« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81|
|Sony NEX-3« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A6000 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: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6000, the Canon M3, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|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 G5 X« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.3||n||n|
|Sony A6300« »||2300||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n|
|Sony A5100« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n|
|Sony A5000« »||-||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Sony A3000« »||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||4000||4.0||Y||n|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||10.0||n||n|
|Sony NEX-6« »||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||4000||10.0||Y||n|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||5.5||Y||n|
|Sony NEX-7« »||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||4000||10.0||Y||n|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||7.0||n||n|
Both the A6000 and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A6000 was replaced by the Sony A6300, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6.
Review summary: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A6000 and the Canon M3? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (12 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).
Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 3 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 A6000 and the M3 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Sony A6000»||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||-|
|Canon M3«||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-|
|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 G5 X« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon M« »||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-|
|Sony A6300« »||Rec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony A5100« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A5000« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||-|
|Sony A3000« »||Rec||-||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||-|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||-|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699||-|
|Sony NEX-6« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999||-|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||-||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||-|
|Sony NEX-7« »||HiRec||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349||-|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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