The EOS M3 is Canon’s first CSC to be aimed squarely at enthusiast photographers. Andy Westlake finds out whether it hits the mark
Canon EOS M3 – Our verdict
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Canon EOS M3. It is compact, well made, and handles well, with a sensibly thought-out control layout and well-designed grip. Crucially, autofocus speed is much improved on earlier Canon EOS M models, to the extent that I never found it to be a problem while shooting with the 18-55mm kit zoom. Unfortunately, though, it’s still very slow with most EF lenses via Canon’s mount adapter, which means that you’ll get best performance using the four EF-M lenses so far available.
There’s not much to complain about with respect to image quality, with the new 24MP sensor giving highly detailed images at low ISOs and impressively low noise at high ISO settings. Indeed, the main disappointment is that Canon hasn’t improved its low ISO dynamic range, so you can’t dig as much detail out of the shadows when shooting raw as you can get from its APS-C competitors.
In other regards, though, it is difficult not to feel just a little short-changed by the M3. The relatively slow burst speed and meagre raw buffer suggest that Canon hasn’t even attempted to match the impressive performance achieved by CSCs of other brands, preferring instead not to compete with its own DSLRs. The relatively bulky kit zoom also makes the combination less portable compared to modern collapsible zooms, although its image quality is very good.
However, while the EOS M3 is a vastly better camera than the EOS M ever was, it’s difficult not to conclude that you can get a lot more for your £600 from cameras like the Sony Alpha 6000 or Samsung NX500 – especially when you take into account the limited lens range available for it. This isn’t to say it’s a bad camera, as I think many photographers will like it a lot, but to me it’s a near-miss rather than an outright hit. Add an EVF and speed things up a bit and Canon could have a serious contender on its hands. Unfortunately, though, as it stands, the EOS M3 still feels a generation behind the state of the art.