18mm equivalent (EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM at 11mm), f/8, 1/50s, ISO 100This image has been modified slightly. Click for original image.

Big upgrades to Canon"s key mirrorless model

Sadly for Canon, the debut of the first-generation Canon EOS M was met with a rather ho-hum response, at least here in the US. Limited lens selection và less-than-stellar AF performance were major factors, as was the more established success of competing manufacturers in the mirrorless space. Canon, nevertheless, soldiered-on and introduced this noticeably beefed-up EOS M3 model with a new external design, improved ergonomics, a built-in flash, as well as all-new internals, including a higher-res sensor, a faster DIGIC 6 image processor and, indeed, better autofocusing.

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Higher-res sensor captures great images

After using an 18MP APS-C sensor in the original M (and the mét vuông refreshed model), the EOS M3 makes the jump to lớn a 24-megapixel sensor. Similar to the cpu in the recent Rebel T6s và T6i cameras, this newer sensor allows the EOS M3 lớn capture excellent images. In both our lab tests and real-world Field Test, the M3 earns relatively high marks from us in terms of image detail. The 24MP sensor captures lots of detail, though we found the in-camera JPEGs were a bit on the soft side with the default màn chơi of image sharpening resulting in noticeable halos around higher contrast edges. We found much better results using RAW files & controlling sharpening ourselves in post.


320mm equivalent (EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM at 200mm), f/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 1600This image has been resized. Click for original image.

High marks for high ISO & dynamic range, but trails some competitors

Despite the higher-resolution sensor, which necessitates smaller individual pixels, the EOS M3"s high-ISO performance is quite good for a 24MP APS-C camera & is in fact better than mirrorless cameras based on smaller Four Thirds sensors, though it"s not quite as good as the best APS-C competitors. On a similar note, dynamic range from this new sensor is noticeably improved over the original 18MP EOS M, but, again, we see competing cameras showing better performance in this area.


35mm equivalent (EF-M 22mm f/2 STM), f/2, 25s, ISO 1600This image has been modified slightly. Click for original image.

Big improvements to autofocus!

One of the major complaints levied against the original Canon EOS M was its lackluster AF performance. While it did have a hybrid autofocus system with a combination of contrast-detect và phase-detect AF, the autofocus speed was still rather sluggish and simply did not perform as well as many other competing mirrorless cameras. When Canon debuted the 70D with Dual px CMOS AF for live-view focusing, which was quite snappy & performed well, many hoped this giải pháp công nghệ would make its way khổng lồ a Canon mirrorless camera. Sadly, this has yet lớn happen.

However, the EOS M3 does get an AF nâng cấp by way of Canon"s Hybrid CMOS AF III system, which it shares with the T6s & T6i. There are more AF points on the M3 than the original M, and it"s supposedly around six times faster than the original. In our lab testing, the M3 did indeed produce very fast AF speeds, và not only compared to the original M, but also mirrorless cameras in general. In real-world testing, the AF performance was also very good, with quick and accurate focus acquisition in most scenarios, and even in dimmer lighting conditions. Our Field Tester did notice some slight hunting issues when using a longer telephoto lens, but AF performed well overall.

In other metrics, the EOS M3 offers mixed performance. By today"s standards, the M3"s approximately 4fps continuous burst rate is disappointing. The buffer capacity with JPEGs was excellent however, at 50+ frames without any indication of slowing down. On the other hand, the buffer becomes rather paltry when using RAW or RAW+JPEGs at a meager 4 frames, though buffer clearing is quite fast with any tệp tin type.

Video recording also felt rather bare-bones, as the M3 shoots only up khổng lồ 1080/30p đoạn clip despite numerous competitors offering 1080/60p, slow-motion modes, và even 4K Ultra HD capabilities.


Updated kiến thiết makes for a more enthusiast-friendly camera

While the original EOS M looked more or less lượt thích a PowerShot camera in terms of the amount of physical controls và its simplified bar-like design, the updated EOS M3 feels more like an advanced camera with a regular PASM control dial, a dedicated exposure compensation dial and a customizable multi-function button on the vị trí cao nhất deck of the camera. The fuller handgrip is also a big improvement that provides a more secure hold và an overall more comfortable experience.

Lack of a built-in EVF will surely frustrate some

The addition of a tilting LCD display is a very nice touch, though we, like many others, find the lack of an EVF rather frustrating. With longer telephoto lenses, not to lớn mention using heavier adapted EF-mount glass on the M3, an EVF would be nice khổng lồ have straight out-of-the-box. The M3 is, thankfully, compatible with an add-on EVF, but you have to lớn purchase it separately, & it"s a rather pricey accessory at around $220 or so.

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35mm equivalent (EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM at 22mm), f/8, 1/60s, ISO 200This image has been modified slightly. Click for original image.

Native lens selection holding back Canon"s mirrorless cameras

Though Canon is slowly growing the native EF-M lens family, it"s still a very limited offering with just four zoom lenses và a single pancake prime at the time of this đánh giá -- a far cry from the healthy lens lineup of competing cameras. This was a major downside for the original M, & sadly it"s still the case here with the M3. The current danh sách of EF-M zooms cover a wide range of focal lengths for general shooting, but for advanced và enthusiast photographers, there"s not much on the market for specialty lenses or fast f/2.8 zooms, for example.

Better than the original, but doesn"t fit the bill for everyone

All said & done, the Canon EOS M3 is a significant improvement over the original EOS M. There"s a better sensor, better AF performance and better ergonomics, which should please more advanced photographers. Image unique overall is very good with lots of detail, as is high-ISO performance despite the higher-res APS-C sensor. While it"s probably not the mirrorless camera many Canon fans were hoping for -- no EVF, a limited selection of lenses, and no Dual pixel CMOS AF -- it"s certainly a much improved & more advanced mirrorless camera than the original M, & thus gets the nod as a Dave"s Pick.


Pros & Cons

Canon Rebel DSLR image chất lượng and resolution in a mirrorless bodyImproved dynamic range over its predecessor, but still not as good as competing modelsGood high ISO performance for a 24-megapixel APS-C model, though not quite as good as some leading rivalsOLPF means potentially fewer aliasing artifacts, but at the expense of slightly reduced sharpness (could be a Pro or nhỏ depending on perspective)Excellent màu sắc and hue accuracyHTP & ALO useful in high-contrast scenesIn-camera HDR modeVery fast single-shot autofocusLow prefocused shutter lagFocuses fairly well in low light for a mirrorless modelBuilt-in flashMuch improved ergonomics with larger, more pronounced handgripFull PASM & Exposure Compensation dialsTilting, touchscreen LCD screen is very handyResponsive touchscreen with handy tap-to-focusDespite CIPA ratings, battery life felt longer-lasting than expectedFirst EOS mirrorless with Wi-Fi và NFCBelow average battery lifeaccording to CIPA ratingsSluggish power nguồn up, play khổng lồ record và single-shot cycle timesSlow burst mode at only ~4fpsShallow buffers (4 frames) when shooting RAW (not uncommon for its class, though)Auto & Incandescent white balance settings too warm in tungsten lightingSlightly soft JPEGs at default settings (yet with noticeable sharpening halos)Below average dynamic range at low ISOsNo built-in EVF, but supports external add-onLimited native lens selectionLCD is tilting only; no vari-angle articulationNo 4K and/or 1080/60p video optionsNo headphone jack