Canon EOS M3 review

Has Canon finally got serious about compact system cameras? We give the EOS M3 a full test to find out

Canon EOS M3

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We've carried out lab tests on the Canon EOS M3 across its full ISO range for resolution, noise (including signal to noise ratio) and dynamic range. We test the JPEGs shot by the camera, but we also check the performance with raw files. Most enthusiasts and pros prefer to shoot raw, and the results can often be quite different.

We've also picked out three of its chief rivals so that you can compare their performance directly.

Samsung NX500: Like the EOS M3, the Samsung NX500 has a box-shaped design with an LCD display but no viewfinder. It also has Samsung's latest and best sensor.

Sony A6000: The A6000 is Sony's top APS-C format Alpha compact system camera. It has a great sensor, and its rectangular body also houses and electronic viewfinder.

Olympus OM-D E-M10: Olympus's entry-level OM-D series compact system camera is styled like a DSLR, with an electronic viewfinder on the top, but it's still super-small.

Canon EOS M3 resolution chart

We test camera resolution using an industry-standard ISO test chart that allows precise visual comparisons. This gives us numerical values for resolution in line widths/picture height, and you can see how the EOS M3 compares with its rivals in the charts below.

Canon EOS M3 resolution chart

JPEG analysis: This graph shows that the M3 captures a good level of detail for much of its sensitivity range, but that two of its key rivals – the Samsung NX500 and Sony A6000 are better still, particularly at low-medium ISOs.

Canon EOS M3 resolution chart

Raw* analysis: These results show how the M3 fares when the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens is mounted, we found we got scores of 4 (x100) LWPH lower when the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens was mounted. Again, the EOS M3 delivers good results, but not as good as the Samsung and the Sony.

(*Raw files are converted to TIFF using the cameras supplied software)

Resolution test chart samples

This is the chart we use for testing camera resolution. The key area is just to the right of centre, where a series of converging lines indicates the point at which the camera can no longer resolve them individually.

Canon EOS M3 resolution chart

This is the Canon EOS M3's test chart at ISO 100. Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS M3 resolution chart

And this is the same chart at ISO 6400. Click here for a full size version.