Canon EOS M3 –
Canon’s new EOS M3 is the third model in the company’s CSC (compact system camera) line but only the second to be released in Australia. Following the lead of its predecessor, the new model uses the latest 24-megapixel sensor and DIGIC 6 processor, which are common to Canon’s mid-range EOS DSLR cameras. A built-in flash and integrated Wi-Fi are now included and the monitor flips through 180 degrees to face forwards for ‘selfies’.
My main aim to purchase this camera was driven by the fact that I was starting to do a large amount of hiking to get shots and carrying a 7D with battery grip, lenses, tripod and bits and bobs was becoming a challenge. I was also limited in having a camera on hand that could produce dslr quality pics. While my trusty iPhone 6s gave some great pics on the fly it still doesn’t deliver as a full blown camera.
There’s still no built-in viewfinder but the M3 can accept the optional EVF-DC1, which is also used for the PowerShot G1X Mark II and mounts onto the camera’s accessory shoe. This EVF has a resolution of 2,360,000 dots and it tilts upwards through 90 degrees as well as providing a high eyepoint and dioptric adjustment of -3.0 to +1.0.
This lack of view finder has been one of the largest. Challenges personally in moving from my 7D to a camera that doesn’t have a viewfinder. Whilst there are some advantages using the screen it’s still difficult at best and provides some challenges after always shooting the past 12 years a certain way.
I have not purchased the viewfinder as I don’t see justification yet in a $300 price tag.
Whereas the EOS M required an Eye-Fi card to support wireless file transmissions, the M3 comes with built-in Wi-Fi that includes a new Dynamic NFC function, which enables one-touch image transfers to smart devices. Auto-synching functionality lets users upload a batch of images to Canon’s online photo storage service, irista, for instant back-up.
Who’s it For?
Although Canon says it is aiming the EOS M3 at ‘photographers who demand premium performance or… professional photographers to use as a secondary camera’ there’s actually not much to lift the new camera to a level above the original EOS M from what I have read online.. Most of the essential flaws in the original camera remain largely unchanged and some features have also been scaled back.
The compatible EVF-DC1 viewfinder isn’t even listed among the accessories for the EOS M3 on Canon’s online shopping website; you have to go to the PowerShot accessories pages to find it, where it’s listed at AU$299, almost one third of the price of the single-lens kit.
Nevertheless, the M3 retains the main advantages of previous EOS M cameras, being small, and Wi-Fi light and relatively inconspicuous. Their touch-screens make them useful for street photography, particularly at night where the high-ISO performance of the large sensor excels (although the AF system often falls short). There are a few new dedicated controls on the latest model but you’ll be relying on the arrow pad and menu for many essential adjustments almost as much as with the original EOS M.
The EOS M3 also shares some key components with the simultaneously-released EOS 760D and EOS 750D, notably its sensor, image processor and the 49-point Hybrid CMOS III autofocusing system. The latter includes phase detection pixels on the imager chip and covers roughly 80% of the frame vertically and 70% horizontally.
Recently I was out with both my 7D and M3, the biggest challenge while I was doing some long exposure shots with auto focus. I could not get the camera to focus and reverted to manual along with the magnify mode. With 49 points of focus this was a disappointment.
Sensor and Image Processing The sensor in the EOS M3 is the same 24.2-megapixel APS-C format chip as used in the new EOS 760D and EOS 750D. It is coupled with the same DIGIC 6 processor. Together, they enable the camera to support an ISO range of 100 to 12800, with expansion to ISO 25600 available. The maximum ISO for shooting movies remains at ISO 6400.
There has been a slight reduction in the maximum continuous shooting speed, from 4.3 frames/second (fps) to 4.2 fps, probably due to the larger files. The buffer memory is much the same size, with space for only five RAW files or four RAW+JPEG pairs, although JPEG capacity is claimed at 1000 frames.
Wi-Fi and NFC These technologies have been implemented in the EOS M3 in much the same way as they have in other recent Canon cameras. The relatively new Dynamic NFC technology enables users to connect the camera to an Android smart device by simply bringing them into contact. I have yet to experience the NFC as I’m on an iPhone and not android device. I have to say this is the first time I have had a wifi equiped camera and I LOVE it, in fact I use this feature so. Itch now I also move my memory card from my 7D over to the M3 to transfer my shots to my phone or iPad if I’m on the go and wish to do some minor work through Lightroom.
Once the devices are connected, i can view images from the camera on the smart device’s screen and use that screen to control some camera functions (touch focusing and shutter operations). Movie recording is not supported.
I can also share images with most other Canon cameras that include Wi-Fi functionality, although not those relying on Eye-Fi cards. The connection is made using the Add a Device function in the Wi-Fi menu.
Installing Canon’s iMAGE GATEWAY software enables images to be sent automatically to a computer or stored in Canon’s Web service destination. Users can choose whether to send single or multiple images and change the image size (resolution) to make transmissions faster. Up to 50 images can be sent in a batch. Movies can also be transmitted but only one at a time and the image quality will depend on what the smart device supports.
Performance The M3 produces images with plenty of detail, natural-looking colours and well controlled contrast and saturation. The camera can adjust quite quickly when moving between brightly-lit and dark subjects, with the biggest improvement seen when recording movie clips.
However, autofocusing in very low light levels remains beyond the capabilities of the AF system and the camera will hunt for several seconds and may not find focus even then. If you switch to manual focusing it is usually necessary to brighten up the monitor screen and use the focusing aids available (magnification and peaking) before you can make the scene appear sharp.
Although the EOS M3 is better configured for photo enthusiasts, the lack of a built-in EVF remains a serious barrier to its acceptance as a serious enthusiast’s or pro photographer’s camera – even as a back-up body. The small buffer capacity for raw files will also be a disadvantage for these photographers. In addition, with respect to image resolution, the higher resolution of the sensor doesn’t seem to have provided as much benefit as it might seem from the camera’s specifications.
Not dwelling on the negatives I am really enjoying this camera. I have ordered an adaptor from canon to allow me to push this body to new limits with the library of lenses I have however canon have lost my order (that’s correct, three weeks and still no product received, that’s another story and a gripe right now so I will move on)
The cameras picture quality is impressive and I do see this becoming my landscape and street camera moving forward. With its slower autofocus and less buffing it can’t replace my 7D for events but I’m sure canon will have it in future generations of this camera.