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Is Canon EOS M3 Your Next Mirrorless Camera to Buy?

By Posted on 6 m read

Since the launch of the Canon EOS M in 2012, there have been different models though the years for the mirrorless lines of Canon for different price ranges and capabilities. In my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I used the Canon EOS M3 as my photo and video companion.

IMPRESSIONS

Aesthetically, the Canon EOS M3’s black finish has that modern minimalist look deviating from what the retro-look some of other brands are showcasing in their mirrorless cams.

Amidst its small form factor, the Canon EOS M3 has most of the needed dials and buttons for easy access. The combination of magnesium alloy and stainless steel of the body make the Canon EOS M3 solid on the hand.

At first, I thought the curve wouldn’t make for a good grip, but I was surprised to have that secure grip of the camera upon usage.

The top and rear areas sit quite well for my hands and fingers to rest.

Another good thing about Canon EOS M3 (and I believe Canon cameras in general), they make their operating system so easy that even if you’re from another Canon camera model, or even another brand, the learning curve is really easy.

Image Quality

The Canon EOS M3 boasts of 24.2 MP giving rich details. The Digic 6 processor inside the Canon EOS M3

Straight off the camera, the Canon EOS M3 produces nice-looking photos. The colors are rendered well, even those shot on  JPEG at Auto setting.

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On a closer look at some of the photos though, I find that there aberrations, which I think may bedue to the lens used, which is the standard kitlens. But you’d only notice this, if you zoom it in so much or if you’d probably printing it on a bigger canvass.

Throw in Canon prime lenses to the mix, I am certain, the Canon EOS M3 can match its bigger brothers (DSLRs) performance in photo quality. (This I will try next time)

Video Quality

The Canon EOS M3 has a capability to record full HD at 30, 25 and 24fps. For general usage in today’s YouTube and Facebook generation, the 1080p can suffice. However, it would have been better if Canon has thrown in a 60fps recording on the 1080p quality.

Canon EOS M3 uses MP4 codec that is quite compressed already. So if you’re just going to use it for social media postings and not intend to use for professional work (that is with meticulous clients), this camera is just fine. The M3 is still a good option for vloggers and start-up filmmakers who are tight on budget but wanting a decent quality output.

Manual and Auto Focus

The Canon EOS M3 uses a 49-point hybrid CMOS autofocus system. It has the same focusing technology seen in Canon 760D and 750D.

The autofocusing system is at its best on shoots on a well lit subject, both indoor and outdoor. In my experience, it had its slow and sometimes missed focusing in low-light situations.

On this cases, the option to use Manual Focusing helps. Especially with the Manual Focus Peaking feature that tells me which part of my frame has the sharpest focus.

Image Stabilization

The Canon EOS M3 has Dynamic IS for video image stabilization. This technology uses optical image stabilization (front the lens attached) and its processor for digital stabilization. It comes handy for shoots while moving for added stability on the video.

Tilting and Touchscreen LCD

The tilting 3-inch-LCD is a plus factor, especially for vloggers or selfie enthusiasts. This feature makes sure that they don’t miss out framing themselves (or specific subject) while facing the camera.

The tilt can also help you take hard-angled shots like shooting low-angle shots or probably shooting from above your head. The titling screen is definitely is a handy.

The touchscreen capability is a great tool for video recording as it intuitively lets you just tap on the subject you wish to focus at. This is good for people who are used to taking videos on their smartphones.

I have only two concerns about the LCD:

  1. When shooting outside, with harsh light, it is quite hard seeing the actual quality of the photo or video that you’re taking of, which, the EVF (electronic viewfinder) that does not come with the Canon EOS M3 can be of great use.
    Though, Canon has a separate EVF that can be bought to slip into the hotshoe for the EOS M lines.
  2. I am not sure though if it is just me, the LCD itself is good, but the frame that holds it and makes it tilt seem to be a bit fragile for me for everyday usage of titling and flipping it out often. Of course, I wouldn’t know that unless I’ve used the Canon EOS M3 for more than 6 months I guess.

Ports (Mic and HDMI)

Having the external microphone port is a BIG PLUS for the Canon EOS M3. If you’re a budget vlogger or digital filmmaker, having an external 3.5mm mic jack and earphones are must. If you can’t have both at this price range, at least, having a mic input is a big YES!

At this price range, it gives the EOS M3 an advantage against its competitors if consumers tend to do more video on a budget at 1080p quality.

The mic input should be, I believe in every mirrorless cameras nowadays, as people upload videos nowadays more often than not.

Connectivity

The wifi and NFC connects the Canon EOS M3 to a smart devices. With the Canon App on an iPhone or Android device, you can access your camera’s settings, media gallery and even take photos and videos remotely.

With the advent of social media sharing, people have the itch to instantly share their taken videos and photos online with their friends, so this connectivity to smartphone is a no-brainer cool feature.

Built-in Flash

While I don’t usually use flash myself, the Canon EOS M3 has a pop-up flash that you can adjust to bounce-off the light or directly hit your subject should you need to use one.

Lenses

And though the EOS M has its own native lenses, the EOS M3 can also use the wide range of Canon EF and EF-S lenses used on DSLRs.

So for those people who have invested in Canon Lenses through the years, or those wanting portable body but still want to have a wide range of lens selections, the EOS M3 is a great option. This makes this little Canon camera to increase its shooting potential as far as image quality is concern.

This feature can come handy for current Canon DSLR users wanting a secondary cam without having to think of changing ecosystem for the lenses.

Simply by buying a lens adapter, any old or new Canon EF and EF-S lenses can be used on Canon EOS M3 with full functionality.

Power

Out of the box, the Canon EOS M3 has 1 lithium-ion battery (1040mAh) included and a charger. On an average, the battery can take up to 250 shots with 1 full charge.

That’s why if you’re on the road, and do not have access to a wall charger, better to buy original Canon batters. (Third-party batteries won’t work on the original Canon charger plus there won’t be any battery indicator, according to other websites.)

I can understand that you can only pack so much with the little battery. However, it would have been better, if the Canon body itself can charge using USB-charging port or at least the charger itself has an option to charge via micro-USB.

And this I find a limiting factor in using the Canon EOS M3 extensively during travels, unless you buy extra batteries.

Price

As of August 2017, the Canon EOS M3 is currently priced at Php 34,498 (USD 675.45) for the body plus EF-M 15-45 mm lens. While the Canon EOS M3 that comes with the EF-M 15-45 / 55-200mm is at Php 47,498 (USD 929.99).

CANON EOS M3 VERDICT

Overall, the Canon EOS M3 is a good performing mirrorless camera. This is an option that you should consider if you’re a starting photographer or hobbyist filmmaker who wants added feature without breaking the bank. With the touchscreen, tilting LCD, mic input, digital stabilization, and full HD video recording, it is already a worthy option if you’re shopping for a compact photo or video camera within the price range.

With your creativity and few more shooting add-ons, the Canon EOS M3 can be your go-to photo and video lightweight camera. Just make sure you have extra batteries to go along with your EOS M3.

PROSCONS
Size and Weight

Image Quality 24MP

Tilting Touchscreen LCD

Digital Stabilization

Full HD Recording (30, 25, 24 fps)

Mic Input (Plus factor for Video Recording)

Wide Canon Lens Options (via adapter)

Wifi / NFC connectivity
Autofocus (in low light)

Lacks 60fps on 1080p recording

Battery power

Non USB-charging capability

 

DISCLAIMER: The Canon EOS M3 I used is a loaner unit from Canon Philippines.

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