Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, 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 megapixels. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Sony A6000||Canon M3|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||4.2 shutter flaps per second|
|360 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g||111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g|
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. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
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 and compare 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 A6000 gets 360 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack. The power pack in the A6000 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Sony A6000»||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||-||Sony A6000|
|Canon M3«||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M50« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||-||Canon G7 X|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-6« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||12.2 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||999||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.1 oz||470||n||May 2012||599||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-7« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||14.1 oz||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||-||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||330||n||May 2010||699||-||Sony NEX-5|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 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 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. 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 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Even though the A6000 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. 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.
The Sony Alpha A6000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600..
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 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.
|Sony A6000»||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Canon M3«||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Canon M50« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||-||-||-||-||Canon M50|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Canon G7 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-6« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-7« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony NEX-3« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, 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. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A6000 and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A6000»||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Canon M3«||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Canon M50« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Canon G7 X« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Sony A6300« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||-||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||4000||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||4000||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-6« »||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||4000||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||5.5||Y||n||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-7« »||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||4000||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M3 has a touchscreen, while the A6000 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the A6000 does not have a selfie-screen.
The A6000 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the M3 uses SDXC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
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 Sony Alpha A6000 and Canon EOS M3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A6000»||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Canon M3«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M50« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon M6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Canon G7 X« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Canon M« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Sony A6300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-6« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-7« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony NEX-3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
It is notable that the M3 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The A6000 does not feature such a mic input.
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 the Sony A6000 better than the Canon M3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages 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.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- 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 selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- 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 : 5 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A6000 and the M3 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.
Expert reviews: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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||-||Sony A6000|
|Canon M3«||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M50« »||Rec||79/100||-||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon G7 X« »||HiRec||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||-||Canon G7 X|
|Canon M« »||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Sony A6300« »||Rec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||Rec||-||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-6« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||-||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-7« »||HiRec||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349||-||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||HiRec||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699||-||Sony NEX-5|
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Fujifilm X-T100
- Canon G5 X vs Sony RX100 IV
- Canon T6i vs Canon G5 X
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Sony A5100
- Kodak AZ901 vs Panasonic ZS200
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Sony A7R
- Olympus E-M1 II vs Olympus E-30
- Panasonic G80 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 6D
- Panasonic GX9 vs Nikon D4S
- Sony A7R II vs Leica D-LUX 7
- Sony RX100 V vs Contax N Digital
Specifications: Sony A6000 vs Canon M3
|Camera Model||Sony A6000||Canon M3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2014||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 679|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||22.3 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.1||11.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1347||1169|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||n/a|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||n/a|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Autofocus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack||LP-E17 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
120 x 67 x 45 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
111 x 68 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||344 g (12.1 oz)||366 g (12.9 oz)|
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