Canon EOS M3 review

April 28, 2015

Overall Rating:


Canon EOS M3

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


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


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



Price as Reviewed:

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

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

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Canon EOS M3 review: Introduction

At a glance:

  • 24.2-million-pixel, APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Canon EF-M mount
  • ISO 100-12,800 standard, (100-25,600 extended)
  • 4.2fps continuous shooting
  • Full HD video at 30fps, 25fps and 24fps
  • £600 with 18-55mm lens
Canon EOS M3 front

This view shows the front dial that surrounds the shutter button

Of all the major camera manufacturers, Canon has been by far the most reluctant player when it comes to compact system cameras. Not only was Canon one of the last to make a mirrorless camera at all, with the EOS M in mid-2012, but it has also shown little commitment to the system, releasing just four compatible EF-M mount lenses to date. In contrast, with a head start of just six months, Fujifilm has built up its X system to 17 lenses, and Leica has already matched Canon lens-for-lens despite launching its T system almost two years later.

With a simplistic entry-level design and sub-par autofocus, the EOS M never really captured photographers’ imaginations, and from a launch price of £769 with 18-55mm kit lens it has now dropped to a somewhat ignominious £199. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that Canon has taken so long to follow it up, with the slightly upgraded EOS M2 only sold in the Asian market. But now, with the EOS M3, the company has moved distinctly towards attracting enthusiast photographers.

The M3 is based around an all-new 24.2-million-pixel, APS-C sized CMOS sensor that is also found in the EOS 750D and 760D DSLRs that were launched at the same time. Perhaps surprisingly, this sensor doesn’t employ Canon’s clever dual-pixel AF technology that is used on the EOS 70D and 7D Mark II, but instead incorporates phase-detection pixels to give a 49-point hybrid autofocus system that Canon calls Hybrid CMOS AF III.

In terms of design, the M3 borrows heavily from Canon’s other small cameras, with a handgrip that’s reminiscent of that on the EOS 100D, and a tilting touchscreen and EVF-compatible hotshoe like those on the PowerShot G1 X Mark II. It’s also the first EOS to gain an exposure compensation dial, as previously seen on various PowerShot models, including the G7 X. The message here is clear – the M3 is designed to offer existing EOS owners, who might be tempted to buy a CSC from another brand, a reason to stay in the fold.

Canon EOS M3 gallery

See our Canon EOS M3 image samples gallery

  • Sensor: 24.2-million-pixel, APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Output size: 6000 x 4000 pixels
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-M
  • Focal length magnification: 1.6x
  • Shutter speeds: 30 - 1/4000sec
  • ISO sensitivity: 100-12,800 standard, 25,600 expanded
  • Exposure modes: PASM, auto, scene
  • Metering System: Evaluative, partial, spot, average
  • Exposure compensation: ±3EV in 1/3 steps
  • Drive mode: 4.2 fps
  • LCD: 3in, 1.04-million-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: Optional EVF-DC1
  • Autofocus: 49-point Hybrid CMOS AF III
  • Video: Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) at 30fps, 25fps or 24fps, built-in stereo mic
  • External Mic: Yes, 3,5mm stereo
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Power: LP-E17 rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: Approx 250 shots
  • Dimensions: 110.9 x 68 x 44.4mm
  • Weight: 366g (with battery and card)

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