PW

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.

Body comparison

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).

Sony RX100 III vs Canon M3 front
RX100 III versus EOS M3 top view
RX100 III and EOS M3 rear side
Body view (RX100 III 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 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
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)
Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 no 2014 799discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. 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 529discont. check
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 no 2015 749discont. check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 no 2015 499discont. 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 699discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. 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 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 no 2013 749discont. 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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Sony RX100 III and Canon M3 sensor measures
Sensor size

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.

RX100 III versus EOS 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 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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
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.

Feature comparison

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.

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
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.

Summary

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.


logo checkmark

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).

logo checkmark

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.

RX100 III 09:07 EOS M3

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.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. 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 529discont. check
Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt) - 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 749discont. check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed 4/5 2015 499discont. 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 699discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. 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 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. 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.

Other comparisons

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.

vs