Sony RX100 III versus Canon M3
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2014 and February 2015. The RX100 III is a fixed lens compact, while the EOS M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100 III) and an APS-C sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 24 MP.
The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 III and the Canon M3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 RX100 III – represents 100 percent 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 larger (28 percent) than the Sony RX100 III. Cameras that are aimed at professionals or semi-pros tend to be a bit bulkier in order to give them the necessary environmental and shock resistance. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 III nor the EOS M3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 III has a lens build in, whereas the EOS M3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||no||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft)||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||no||2015||679||discont.||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 G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||no||2015||529||discont.||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||no||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||no||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||no||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||no||2014||899||latest||check|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||YES||2015||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
The listed 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. 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 III features an one-inch sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the EOS M3 is 186 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the EOS M3 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 III (20MP), but the EOS M3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 III) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the EOS M3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the RX100 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
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 consideration, the EOS M3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the RX100 III (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72|
|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 G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
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 RX100 III provides a higher frame rate than the EOS M3. It can shoot video 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 RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the EOS M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 III and Canon M3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||YES||no|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.2||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 G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||2000||6.0||6||no|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.6||5||no|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||2000||5.9||7||no|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||no|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||no|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||no|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2764||no||3.0||921||fixed||no||4000||11.0||7||no|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||YES||3.0||1229||tilting||no||3200||14.0||10.2||no|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||no|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||15||no|
Both the RX100 III and the EOS M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the EOS M3 was followed by the Canon M6.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 III or the Canon M3 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the EOS M3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 111x68mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the EOS M3).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (320 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX100 III or the EOS M3. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft)||reviewed||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2015||679||discont.||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 G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||529||discont.||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||reviewed||4/5||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||5/5||4/5||5/5||2014||899||latest||check|
|Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2015||1,299||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just use the search menu 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 contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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