Canon EOS M3 Camera Review

Third time lucky?

Canon is among the most celebrated camera brands in existence, but it’s not had any luck with compact system cameras so far. Despite having a good sensor, the slow and expensive EOS M was a failure, to the extent that Canon didn’t even release the EOS M2 in the UK.

Instead, we’re skipping straight to the EOS M3. And suddenly things are looking a lot brighter. This is a real enthusiast’s CSC that solves all the main problems of the original.

The Canon EOS M3 will be available with a 18-55mm kit lens for £599. We took a closer look ahead of our full review.

SEE ALSO: Best Cameras Round-up

Canon EOS M3 – Design and Features

While the original Canon EOS M is now available at a bargain price (£199 with lens), the hardware design should still make you pause. It was, and is, a real point-and-shoot CSC, despite being really quite large in its class. The Canon EOS M3 changes all that.

Not only has the handgrip been enlarged to offer a better grip, but the camera now has proper manual controls. In fairness to Canon, manual controls in lower-end and mid-range CSCs have become more common across all manufacturers’ ranges in the three years since the EOS M first appeared.

There’s now a manual control dial that sits neatly around the shutter button, as well as a proper mode dial and a dedicated exposure control. You might assume these would be the default in a £600 camera, but the original EOS M had none of them — and it started off at £769. Ouch.

The EOS M3 actually makes sense. It feels good too, with the new grip and dimensions giving it a feel that reminds of the Canon 100D, Canon’s tiny DSLR.

This is not a DSLR, though, and some of the more serious photographers among you may be disappointed to hear the Canon EOS M3 still doesn’t have an inbuilt EVF. You either have to make do with the rear screen or invest in the EVF-DC1 hotshoe EVF that slots into the top. As this costs £249, though, it’s far from a pocket money upgrade.

The screen is a 3-inch 1.04M-dot vari-angle display that tilts 45 degrees down and 180 degrees up. That’s enough for low-down shooting and gets you the infamous selfie angle, although the EOS M3’s DSLR brothers the 750D and 760D have full-on articulated screens.

Canon EOS M3 – Performance and Image Quality

While the EOS M3 is not a camera that tries to do everything a DSLR can, it is likely to offer very similar images and AF performance to the EOS 750D

Both cameras share the same sensor and Digic 6 processor, although the EOS M3 only offers burst shooting of 4.2fps, which isn’t too snappy by current APS-C standards. The AF system uses hybrid phase/contrast detect focusing, which Canon says is six times faster than the notoriously slow EOS M’s – in fairness, Canon significantly improved that camera’s focusing speed with firmware updates, but the EOS M3 will be much faster regardless.

There’s great provision for low-light shooting too, with the native ISO range going from 100-12800, and a 25600 extended mode on hand when lighting is truly dreadful. Unlike the EOS M, the EOS M3 has a pop-up flash built in, too.

Canon has made sure it also has some of the hardware video shooters are after, including a microphone socket, but otherwise the EOS M3 still isn’t much of a video star. It can only capture video at up to 1080p 30 frames per second, where most others offer 60p and some even manage 4K capture.

Early Verdict

The Canon EOS M3 is a much better, more complete-feeling camera than the EOS M. But perhaps that’s the least you would hope for. More manual control, better AF performance and a new processor were almost a given for Canon to turn its CSC fortunes around.

However, as it should get you images just as good as those from the EOS 750D, it’s a pretty attractive proposition for those not too turned off by the lack of a built-in viewfinder.

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