Design and features
Build quality is on par with Canon's magnesium-alloy dSLRs, though without the weather sealing. The magnesium-alloy/stainless-steel body doesn't creak when gripped tightly like cameras made of plastic are prone to. The recessed grip strikes a nice balance between usefulness while maintaining a low profile. The vulcanized rubber gives it the familiar feel of a dSLR.
Shutter speed and aperture have dedicated dials, while ISO sensitivity is an easy press of the combined directional pad/toggle wheel located at the thumb. With no manual-focus switch on the lens, MF is selectable via the thumb dial along with flash modes.
Those familiar with Canon's menu system of the past few years will find the M3 easy to navigate. Users can also customise their own menu with up to six selections for menu options they find themselves frequenting.
The touchscreen offers a sharp view of the scene. It's easy to use and responsive but all functionality is also available via the dials. Where the touch screen comes into its own is in selecting a focus point. It's fast and accurate, and while navigating the menu and changing the exposure is often better via the dials, selecting focus is overwhelmingly faster with a tap of the screen.
The quick menu button on the top right hand of the touch screen offers fast access to AF mode, image size and quality, movie recording quality, self-timer, white balance, metering and aspect ratio. It saves on menu-diving and streamlines the shooting experience.
The tilting screen also comes in handy and offers three alternative shooting styles. The screen can angle 45 degrees downwards for holding the camera up which works well for the street photographers or those looking to shoot from a lower angle. Paired with the self-timer function and the screen rotated 180 degrees and it's ready to take the next selfie.
Remote shooting with an Android phone is easy with Canon's EOS Remote app. Pairing via the camera and phone's NFC spot is straightforward and you're guided through the steps to connect your phone and camera via Wi-Fi. Without NFC pairing an iPhone is a slightly more involved process that requires you to go into the phone's Wi-Fi settings. Both Android and iOS version offer exposure control and AF point selection as well as the ability to preview images on your phone.
The latest entry in Canon's EOS M series remains a competent if not outstanding player in its market: the interchangeable-lens camera segment that caters to enthusiasts as well as people looking for something better than a phone or point-and-shoot who are willing to pay a lot more than $500 (£450, AU$700) to keep it smaller than an entry-level dSLR like theor .
One problem is the price: while it has comparable photo quality to competitors with same-size sensors like theand likely to the (which we haven't reviewed), its performance is disappointing and its feature set doesn't justify its higher price. In the US and UK, it's overpriced, costing as much as faster models with built-in viewfinders. Notably, it's not such a bad deal in Australia, where it seems to be competitively priced -- at least for the moment.
While there's a relatively small selection of EF-M lenses designed for this series, it's a sad fact that most buyers will never venture beyond the existing kit-quality options. The Canon 22mm f2.0 STM (with the equivalent angle of view of 35mm, just a little narrower than most phone cameras) is the only native-mount lens for those looking for a fast aperture. People who do want to use better lenses have to resort to significantly bulkier full EF-mount lenses and pay extra ($50, £99, AU$130) for the adapter.
Unlike competitors, it does offer a viewfinder option, and it's a very nice viewfinder, the same EVF-DC1 that works with the G series compacts. But that'll set you back about $240 (£205, AU$250), which bumps the total cost into the territory of much more powerful cameras.
It's a perfectly competent camera, but it doesn't stand out from an increasingly crowded field, making the M3 a camera that's hard to recommend above any other.
|Canon EOS M3||Fujifilm X-A2||Samsung NX500||Sony Alpha A5100|
|Sensor effective resolution||24.2MP Hybrid CMOS III||16.3MP CMOS||28.2MP BSI CMOS||24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS|
|Sensor size||22.3 x14.9||23.6 x15.6mm||23.5 x15.7 mm||23.5 x15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 (exp)/ |
ISO 200 - ISO 6400/
ISO 25600 (exp)
|ISO 100 - ISO 25600/51200 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 25600|
|Burst shooting||None with continuous AF/AE |
(4.2fps with fixed focus and exposure)
|None with continuous AF/AE |
(5.6fps with fixed focus and exposure)
40 JPEG/5 raw
56 JPEG/23 raw
(mag/ effective mag)
0.48 in/12.2 mm
|205 phase-detection AF |
209 contrast AF
|179-pt phase- |
detection; 25-area contrast AF
|AF sensitivity||2 - 18 EV||n/a||-4 - 20 EV||-1 - 20 EV|
|Shutter speed||30 - 1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/200 x-sync||30 - 1/4000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/6,000 sec; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync|
|Metering||384 zones||256 zones||221 area||1,200 zone|
|Metering sensitivity||1 - 20 EV||n/a||n/a||-1 - 20 EV|
|Best video||H.264 Quicktime MOV |
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p
|H.264 MPEG-4 |
|H.265 MP4 |
UHD/30p; C4K/24p; 1080/60p, 50p; 720/120p
|XAVC S |
1080/60p, 30p, 25p, 24p; 720/120p @ 50Mbps
|Audio||Stereo; mic input||Stereo||Stereo||Stereo|
|Manual aperture and shutter in video||Yes||n/a||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum best-quality recording time per clip||n/a||14 minutes||29 minutes||29 minutes|
|LCD||3-inch/7.5 cm |
|3-inch/7.5 cm |
AMOLED tilting touchscreen
|Memory slots||1 xSDXC||1 xSDXC||1 xSDXC||1 xSDXC|
|Wireless connection||Wi-Fi, NFC||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi, NFC||Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||250 shots||410 shots||400 (est.)||400 shots|
|Size (WHD)||4.4x2.7 x1.7 in |
111 x68x44 mm
|4.6 x2.6 x1.6 in |
117 x67 x44 mm
|4.7 x2.5 x1.7 in |
120 x64 x43 mm
|4.3 x2.5 x1.4 in |
110 x63 x36 mm
|Body operating weight||13.3 oz |
|12.3 oz (est.) |
350 g (est.)
|12.3 oz |
|10 oz (est.) |
283 g (est.)
|Mfr. price (body only)||$680 |
|Primary kit||$800 |
(with 18-55mm STM lens)
(with 16-50mm lens)
(with 16-50mm PZ lens)
(with 16-50mm PZ lens)
|Release date||April 2015 |
October 2015 (US)
|February 2015||March 2015||September 2014|