The EOS M3 is Canon’s first CSC to be aimed squarely at enthusiast photographers. Andy Westlake finds out whether it hits the mark

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon EOS M3

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • - Compact, portable design
  • - Excellent controls and user interface
  • - Impressive image quality

Cons:

  • - Relatively slow continuous shooting and focusing
  • - No built-in viewfinder
  • - Limited native lens range

Product:

Canon EOS M3 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£599.00 (with EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens)

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Canon EOS M3 – Build and handling

Canon EOS M3 Q-menu

The onscreen Q menu gives quick access to a range of functions

From the moment you pick up the EOS M3, it’s clear that Canon has thought hard about how to make a small camera that’s still pleasant to use, with the result that it is one of the nicest-handling CSCs of its type. It feels very solidly made, and the handgrip is surprisingly secure, even when shooting one-handed.

The control layout is broadly similar to mid-range EOS DSLRs. A milled metal dial around the shutter button is used to change the main exposure settings, which clicks with pleasing precision. It is supplemented by an exposure-compensation dial that fits perfectly into Canon’s standard EOS control logic, taking the place of the rear dial in P, Av and Tv modes, while also allowing exposure compensation to be applied when using auto ISO in manual-exposure mode. I was pleased to find that this operates in the opposite direction to the G7 X’s, rotating anti-clockwise to apply positive compensation, which means it new matches the dials on other brands such as Fujifilm and Sony. The small rear dial surrounding the D-pad is only needed to set the shutter speed or aperture in M mode (this can be set according to the user’s preference).

Other key functions, such as ISO, focus area, flash mode and manual focus, can be set quickly using their own dedicated buttons on the camera back, with the on-screen Q menu allowing access to a further range of settings. Three buttons are customisable to the user’s preference, namely the top-plate M-Fn button, video record button and the down key on the D-pad. Once these are configured, there’s little reason to dive into the camera’s menus, but when you do, you’ll find they are clearly laid out and attractively designed. Most-used settings can be stored to a useful My Menu.

Canon EOS M3 flash

The tiny built-in flash is released by a sliding switch, and has a guide number of 5m @ ISO 100

Canon has also done an excellent job of integrating its touchscreen interface into the overall control system. It is fast and responsive, and should feel like second nature to anyone who uses a smartphone. As usual, it’s particularly good for quickly selecting a focus area while you’re shooting, but crucially it’s always a complement to the physical controls – never a replacement. This is particularly important when you’re using the viewfinder, and don’t want to take the camera down from your eye while shooting. Fortunately, all key controls remain accessible, but the buttons for AF area selection and autoexposure lock are distinctly difficult to distinguish by touch.

A tiny built-in flash is released by a sliding switch in the camera’s side, and has a guide number of 5m @ ISO 100. It’s supplemented by a hotshoe, that accepts Canon EX-series flashguns and third-party E-TTL alternatives, as well as the EVF-DC1 viewfinder.  There’s no option for a wired (as opposed to wireless) remote control, but USB and microphone sockets can be found on one side of the camera, and a mini HDMI port on the other. The LP-E17 battery is rated for just 250 shots per charge, and is replenished using the supplied external charger.

Possibly the biggest letdown in terms of design is the lens. At a time when other CSC manufacturers have overwhelmingly adopted compact retractable zooms, often with 24mm-equivalent wideangle settings, Canon’s 6cm-long 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom feels outdated. It adds considerably to the overall bulk of the set-up, and means that the M3 isn’t as portable as its competitors unless you use the 22mm f/2 pancake prime lens.

  1. 1. Canon EOS M3 review: Introduction
  2. 2. Canon EOS M3 - Features
  3. 3. Canon EOS M3 - Screen and viewfinder
  4. 4. Canon EOS M3 - Build and handling
  5. 5. Canon EOS M3 - Focusing
  6. 6. Canon EOS M3 - Performance
  7. 7. Canon EOS M3 - Image quality
  8. 8. Canon EOS M3 - Dynamic range
  9. 9. Canon EOS M3 - Our verdict
  10. 10. Page 10
Page 4 of 10 - Show Full List
  • M K

    I see vignetting for sure, but not green.

  • Brian

    I have both the EOS M and M3 and the 18-55mm kit lens and I have never had the issue you speak of.

  • Kevin Levrone

    There is a distinct green cast on the corners when you shoot with the 18-55 lens at 18 to 25mm or when you shoot with the 22mm lens, even with all corrections enabled. This kind of ruins the image quality. It even appears on one of the photos in this article.

  • Seven_Spades

    Nice camera but they should have included a viewfinder just like the DMC-GM5. The two camera will make a great comparison.

  • entoman

    A very nice camera, and for the majority of potential users the very limited range of lenses will be adequate.

    However if Canon want serious photographers to adopt their mirrorless products, they need to offer something that will compete with Fujfilm XT-1 and Olympus, i.e. pro-level quality and a complete system of lenses.

    Personally I prefer to use Canon’s superb APS and full-frame DSLR system, but there are many who yearn for a compact mirrorless system, and Canon are not showing any signs of addressing this market seriously.