Canon EOS M3 Review

The EOS M was Canon’s first small system or mirrorless system camera. On paper, it appeared to have a lot of potentials, but when it was originally released, it was somewhat pricey and suffered from a subpar focusing technology that was both sluggish and prone to wandering. Even though Canon released firmware updates that considerably improved the focusing performance, and even though the price eventually dropped as more time passed, the harm had already been done.

At least in the United Kingdom, we now have the M3. The M3 utilizes an APS-C format sensor, similar to that of the M, but this time the manufacturer has opted for the same 24.2-million-effective-pixel device that is used in the new Canon 750D and Canon 760D DSLRs. Additionally, it is paired with the same DIGIC 6 processor that is found in the two new Canon DSLRs.

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This combination enables a natural sensitivity range that can be set anywhere from 100 to 12,800, and it also has an extension option that can go up to 25,600. That is the same as the very first M, but, the very first M only had an effective pixel count of 18 million, so it will be very fascinating to watch how the new camera handles noise.

Keeping in mind the problems that were present with the first generation M, Canon equipped the M3 with their most recent 49-point Hybrid CMOS AF III focusing technology. After the firmware changes, Canon says that this results in a speed boost that is six times greater than the original EOS M.

Additionally, it is possible to take continuous shots at a rate of up to 4.2 fps (frames per second), which results in about 1000 big JPEGs of the highest possible quality or 5 raw files. That is not exactly a breakneck speed by today’s standards, but it is a rate that may be considered fair.

The Canon EOS M3 boasts a brand-new sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels and an improved Hybrid CMOS AF III focusing technology.

Because Canon designed the M3 to appeal to photography enthusiasts, it is equipped with a variety of exposure modes, including aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual exposure, in addition to a collection of automated settings that are useful for photographers with less experience.

These include the Creative Assist mode, which is designed to help novice photographers take control of the camera and adjust brightness, background blur, color saturation, contrast, warmth, and filter effects while seeing them applied live. After making these adjustments, you can save these effect combinations and use them again without having to understand photographic terms like aperture. It is also possible to save up to six of your preferred configuration settings so that you can use them again in the future.

Even while Canon designed the EOS M3 to appeal to photography aficionados, the company also incorporated a Creative Assist option for those with less expertise. In this image, the M3 can be seen equipped with the optional 22mm f/2 STM lens.

Adjusting the brightness, background blur, color saturation, and filter effects is possible in the Creative Assist mode, and you can watch as the changes take effect in real-time.

In addition, it has the standard selection of metering modes (384-zone Evaluative, Partial covering 10% at the center, Spot covering 2%, and Center-weighted), exposure correction that goes up to +/-3EV, a shutter speed range that goes from 30-1/4000 seconds, and a bulb mode.

The EOS M3 comes standard with built-in Wi-Fi and near-field communication (NFC) connectivity, allowing for a speedy connection to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are compatible. Using the free Camera Connect app from Canon, the camera can be remotely operated and photographs may be transmitted wirelessly when a link has been established between the two devices.

Wi-Fi or near-field communication (NFC) may be used to transmit images between two devices by just touching their screens together.
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A rather extensive list of specifications is completed with the M3 by the addition of a hotshoe and a pop-up flash that has a GN rating of 5 at ISO 100. The one noticeable absence is a viewfinder; unfortunately, there isn’t one integrated into the device. On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder (EVF-DC1) can be purchased as a separate accessory.

This is the identical item that can be used with the G1X Mark II, and the additional expense of purchasing it brings the total price of an M3 plus lens combination up to around £100. Although this is a significant additional expense, it is less expensive than buying it separately, which would cost around $249.

It is essential to keep in mind that despite the fact that the EOS M3 utilizes the same sensor as the 750D and 760D, it still retains the EF-M lens mount that was first introduced with the original M. Because making a mirrorless camera enables the lens mount to be closer to the sensor than it is in an SLR, a new breed of lenses is required, and this new mount is important because it allows for this closer proximity.

To this day, Canon has only released four EF-M lenses; however, the EF-EOS M mount converter makes it possible to use EF and EF-S lenses with the M3 camera.

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Design And Handling

It has the rectangular shape of the G16 (actually, the top plate is even flatter), combined with the more ergonomically contoured finger grip that is located on its front. This places the EOS M3 approximately halfway between a G-series compact camera such as the Canon G16 and an SLR such as the Canon 100D in terms of its appearance.

The Canon M3 weighs 366 grams (with the battery and memory card), making it somewhat lighter than the Canon 100D. However, the camera gives the impression of being heavier than it actually is because to its deceptive density. Additionally, it has a great and sturdy feel about it.

These two issues are probably caused by the stainless steel component that is included in the manufacture of the product together with magnesium alloy and polycarbonate resin.

The EOS M3 incorporates a comprehensive collection of physical controls in addition to a touchscreen for operation.

The thumb ridge on the rear of the camera is rather modest but serves its purpose extremely well. It is constructed from or at least coated in the same rubber-like substance that coats the finger grip on the front of the camera.

It has a rather fine texture and a smart, contemporary look, and it gives an excellent purchase, making the camera feel comfortable and safe in your hand. The front grip has a sharp, contemporary design.

The control arrangement for the Canon M3 is quite similar to that of the Canon G16, although it is not an exact replica, and I found it to be very simple to operate. The exposure compensation slider on the top plate, which permits quick adjustments to be made to exposure settings, was one of the features that I most like. Even though this dial does not have a lock, it has a reasonably strong movement, which helps to prevent it from being easily knocked out of place.

The exposure compensation dial that is located on the top plate is a useful addition that makes it simple to make immediate adjustments to the exposure.

The mode dial, which is located next to the exposure compensation dial, is particularly helpful since it enables speedy adjustments to be made in the camera’s exposure mode and provides a simple way to examine the camera’s settings.

The control dial that is located around the shutter release was very simple to access and utilize. It determines the aperture by default when working in the aperture priority mode and the shutter speed while working in shutter priority mode. When using the manual exposure mode, this button, along with the control dial that surrounds the navigation keys, is used to set the exposure.

The touch-sensitive LCD screen is three inches and has one hundred and forty thousand dots. The M3 features a complete complement of physical controls. The touch controls have been extremely nicely integrated by Canon, and you can switch between using the screen and utilizing the physical buttons with no discernible break in functionality. The main menu as well as the Quick menu can be accessed and selections can be made using either the responsive touch-screen or the conventional buttons, which is quite helpful.

The ability to set the autofocus point through the screen is one that I find very beneficial; however, there is a rather large border around the screen in which it is not feasible to select an AF point.

It is possible to tilt the screen upwards through 180 degrees and downwards through 75 degrees, making it much simpler to take pictures from high or low angles. This is beneficial, especially for taking pictures of oneself with the camera, but for shooting upright photographs, having a screen that can completely articulate like the ones on the Canon 750D and 760D would be a much bigger benefit.

The screen of the EOS M3 can be flipped up to an angle of 180 degrees, making it ideal for taking selfies.

The display is an sRGB ClearView II device with a 3:2 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio matches the inherent aspect ratio of the pictures produced by the sensor, and it enables a very clear view both inside and in environments with a lot of shadows.

Even if reflections make picture composition difficult in strong sunshine, it is still feasible to do so if the screen’s brightness is turned up to its highest setting. Even though Canon did not incorporate a viewfinder within the M3 itself, the company does provide an accessory viewfinder as a separate purchase.

Through the use of the Wi-Fi system, the M3 can be immediately connected to a smartphone with ease, and photographs can be transmitted and shared in a short amount of time.

Sensor & Image Quality

The Canon M3 incorporates a CMOS sensor measuring APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) and is equipped with a DIGIC 6 processor. You are able to take pictures with a maximum resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels and aspect ratios of 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9 respectively. The M3 has a native ISO range of 100 to 12800, which can be increased to 25600, and it can store data in the RAW format, which provides you with more leeway when it comes to post-processing.

The Canon M3 is not the camera with the greatest resolution of the APS-C cameras. In this category, the Fujifilm X-H2 holds the lead with its 40.2-megapixel sensor.

DxOMark Sensor Ratings for the Canon M3

DxOMark is a benchmark that evaluates the picture quality of camera sensors based on objective scientific criteria. After being evaluated by DxO Mark, the Canon M3 sensor was given an overall score of 72 for its picture-taking capabilities. The specifics of their evaluation of the Canon M3 are available here for your perusal.

Let’s take a look at how the APS-C sensor found in the Canon M3 compares in size to some of the other typical sensor sizes.


Although the EOS M3 is capable of capturing a great deal of information, the process of doing so is not always as straightforward as one might want.

The focusing system is frequently the source of the issue, just as it was previously with the original M. It will focus the lens fairly quickly and precisely the majority of the time, but there will be occasions when it will suggest that the subject is sharp when it is very evident that it is not.

During this test, there were times when the active AF area was completely filled with the intended target and the box was green to indicate that the lens had been focused, but it was quite obvious that the subject was out of focus and the background was the one that was sharp. The test was designed to simulate real-world shooting conditions as closely as possible.

This didn’t occur once or twice, but rather a number of times, and it occurred when I was utilising both the 18-55mm kit lens and the 22mm lens that was provided for this study.

This was captured with the Canon 22mm f/2 STM lens with the aperture set very close to wide open in order to blur the backdrop. However, because to the fact that this demands extremely fine focusing, the EOS M3 had some difficulty achieving the desired focus at times.

When shooting with the camera at an awkward angle or when the subject is quite small in the frame, it is particularly frustrating to have the AF system indicate that the subject is sharp. This is because you often can’t see that it has gotten it wrong until you zoom in on the shot or open the image on a computer. This is especially the case when the subject is quite small in the frame.

Because the focusing point in 1-point AF mode is relatively big even when set to its smallest feasible level, it is not possible to single out subjects that are very small inside the picture. I have a hunch that the purpose of this very big AF region is to maximize the possibility that the camera will be able to grab onto a high contrast edge when one is present.

This image, which was captured with the 18-55mm STM kit lens, appears to be packed with a lot of information. When you go up close, though, it becomes abundantly evident that the resolving power of this lens is not quite as excellent as that of the 22mm STM lens.

We also discovered that the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens does not extract the maximum potential from the sensor. If you want to capture the level of detail that we know is possible from the sensor (it’s the same unit that is in the Canon 750D and the Canon 760D), you will need to upgrade to a better optic such as the EF-M 22mm f2 STM.

When viewed at 100% magnification and with noise reduction set to the standard level, low to mid-sensitivity JPEG images captured by the M3 appear to have a slightly more natural appearance than comparable images captured by the Sony Alpha 6000; however, there is very little difference between the two. The JPEGs produced by the M3 at higher sensitivity levels exhibit some chroma (color) noise, although there is far less loss of information than in the photos produced by the A6000. However, when seen in regular sizes, the photographs seem identical.

If you don’t mind a little bit of fine-grained noise, the M3 does a good job of controlling noise throughout its entire native sensitivity range, which extends from ISO 100 to 12,800. At its highest setting, the camera produces respectable results that can be viewed at an A4 size without losing its quality. I am relieved to report that there is no banding, clumping, or trouble with the color transitions.

Raw files, as is customary, offer the greatest results and enable you to strike a balance between the visibility of noise and details in the image.

In other regards, the M3 offers photos that are typically properly exposed and have beautiful colors. This is one of the ways that it gives a good account of itself. The metering and white balance systems carry out their functions in the same reliable manner that we have come to expect from Canon EOS cameras.

The white balance options that I found to be the most helpful were Automatic and Daylight. However, if you want to make photographs that are balanced, the Custom or Manual option comes in handy when working with artificial lighting.


The Canon EOS M3 has a lot of promise thanks to Canon’s new CMOS sensor with 24.2-million-effective pixels and the DIGIC 6 engine, but this potential is limited by a few different variables. The absence of a built-in viewfinder is the first of these drawbacks, and it makes it challenging to compose photographs in environments with high levels of ambient light. A positive development in this regard is the availability of an external electronic viewfinder as a potential solution.

Because the autofocus technology has a tendency to falsely indicate that the subject is in sharp focus when in fact it is not, it may also be highly annoying in some circumstances. Because of this, you start to have doubts about the camera, and you find yourself examining photographs more frequently than usual to ensure that the subject is in focus. Last but not least, we discovered that the lens that comes standard on the camera is a mediocre performance that does not do the sensor justice.

Canon EOS M3 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 6
ISOAuto, 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)
Boosted ISO (maximum)25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountCanon EF-M
Focal length multiplier1.6×
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeClearView II TFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic (optional)
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesAuto, on, off, slow synchro
Continuous drive4.2 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E17 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)250
Weight (inc. batteries)366 g (0.81 lb / 12.91 oz)
Dimensions111 x 68 x 44 mm (4.37 x 2.68 x 1.73″)
Orientation sensorYes

Canon EOS M3 Price


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