When it comes to mirrorless cameras, Canon has long been in the race with one foot constantly on the brake. There was no flagship model, a very limited selection of lenses, and probably a lack of motivation on Canon’s side to really make an impression on the mirrorless-market.
Since the introduction of the EOS M5 however, these notions seemed to have been overcome. The camera is a worthy opponent to the it’s rivals by Sony, Fuji, and co.
Apart from the M5, Canon are also offering the smaller M10, and the hybrid M3. I have tested all three, and I will tell you, which one is the right for you.
Comparison Canon EOS M5 vs Canon EOS M3 vs. Canon EOS M10:
|EOS M5||EOS M3||EOS M10|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6 mm||110.9 x 68.0 x 44.4 mm||108.0 x 66.6 x 35.0 mm|
|Weight incl. Battery and memory card||427 g||366 g||301 g|
|Resolution (effective in megapixels)||24.2||24.2||18|
|Processor||DIGIC 7||DIGIC 6||DIGIC 6|
|ISO sensitivity||100 – 25.600||100 – 12.800||100-12.800|
|Shutter speeds||30 – 1/4000 Sec.||30 – 1/4000 Sec.||30 – 1/4000 Sec.|
|Image recording / sec.||9||4.2||4.6|
|Video||MP4 Full HD 60p||MP4 Full HD 60p||MP4 Full HD 60p|
|Wi-Fi & NFC||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|LCD swivel||Yes, 90° Up / 180° down||Yes, 180° Up / 45° down||
180 ° upwards
|Resolution Display (pixels)||1.620.000||1.040.000||1.040.000|
|Viewfinder Resolution (pixels)||2.360.000||2.360.000 (optional)||–|
|Internal image stabilizer||No||No||No|
|Number of focus points||49||49||49|
|Charge via USB||Yes||No||No|
|Battery life (pictures)||295||250||255|
Canon EOS M10 – Super Small and Super Cheap
The EOS M10 with the 22mm Pancake lens is barely larger than a point-and-shoot [Canon EOS M5 – ISO 6400 – 34 mm – f/5.0 – 1/60 Sek.].
While testing the M10 for the first time I was somewhat disappointed. Its size made it feel like a toy, and also meant it wasn’t all that ergonomic, and doesn’t offer a lot of buttons and dials.
The size however, is also its biggest advantage as, along with the Sony a5000/a6000, it is the smallest interchangeable lens APS-C camera that I know of. Even when paired with its kit lens it still fits comfortably in my jacket pockets.
The price is unbeatable as well. There’s no cheaper entry into the mirrorless world at this point in time than the M10.
Still, I find that the size and somewhat messy menu system make it less suited for beginners. If you plan on using it as your second or backup camera alongside a bigger EOS, you will be able to use all of your EF lenses with the optional adaptor. That’s definitely a plus!
While, when paired with the EF-M 22mm Pancake lens, the camera looks like it belongs in the point-and-shoot category, I still would prefer the Canon G7X Mark II over it.
Sony Alpha a5100/a5000 – The Rivals of the EOS M10
Unlike Canon, Sony were more aggressive with their a5100.
In its small body the a5100 houses the internals of the renowned a6000. However, the a5100 also omits a lot of physical controls.
The disadvantage: It is much more expensive than the EOS M10.
While there a a5000s available at a bargain, I wouldn’t recommend those since they lack the phase-detection autofocus. You’d be much better off with an EOS M10 in that case.
Canon EOS M3 – Right in the Middle
The Canon EOS M3 with the kit lens [Sony a5100 – ISO 100 – 35 mm – f / 2 – 1/5 sec.]
In some ways, the EOS M3 is what the M10 should have been. While it’s bigger and heavier, it has all those physical controls that the smaller one should have had.
The Canon EOS M3 is better than the M10 in every respect. The sensor captures higher resolution photos, the display can be adjusted more easily, and the camera can be set up in more ways than before.
Beginners are encouraged to use other functions besides the automatic mode, and professionals can quickly change the settings.
Compared to the M5, the M3 looks more like a toy. It is smaller, has no viewfinder, is slower, focuses less reliably, and has considerably fewer buttons and dials.
Still, the M3 has its place on the market. As said before, it is what the M10 should have been because the M10 does everything that one does – only a lot better. It is also small enough to fit in a bigger coat pocket and you’ll get a lot more camera than you do with the M10.
I’d recommend the EOS M3…
- … as a smaller companion to a bigger EOS camera
- … as a cheap entry into the world of mirrorless cameras
A Viewfinder for the M3
If you can’t live without a viewfinder you can mount Canon’s EVF-DC1 on the hot-shoe of the M3. This accessory is a good (but expensive) addition to your rig and has keeps it small while still getting a viewfinder.
The Competition of the EOS M3
The only competition in the M3’s price range I can think of is Sony’s Alpha 6000.
This one also has an APS-C sensor and lets you swap lenses.
In addition to that, it comes with an integrated viewfinder, faster autofocus and higher burst-rates. You can’t however tilt the screen upwards by 180°(no selfie-mode), and a touchscreen is also nowhere to be found.
Canon EOS M5 – The Flagship
A first look at the Canon EOS M5 makes it clear that we are dealing with Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera.
It does everything the M3 does, but better and faster. The only drawback is the bigger size and higher weight.
However, the M5 boasts …
- … Fast dual-pixel AF.
- … Customizable dials and buttons.
- … A high-resolution viewfinder.
- … Better responsiveness and better build quality.
- … Faster burst-rate.
- … One of Canon’s best sensors (straight from the 80D).
The M5 is the only mirrorless camera that I would recommend not only as a secondary camera, but as your main, daily shooter. It is smaller and lighter than its great brother, the 80D, and doesn’t need to hide behind it in any way. At the same time, the 80D is great to hold in your hands and easy to use.
Almost perfect! If I were thinking about getting an EOS M series camera, it would definitely be the M5.
The Competition of the EOS M5
Looking for a mirrorless APS-C sensor camera with lens interchangeability and a touchscreen, there are few alternatives to the EOS M5.
Only the Sony Alpha a6500 can offer all this.
Another choice would be to look at Panasonic’s and Olympus’ MFT cameras.
Alternatives without a touchscreen are the bargain Sony a6000, Fujifilm X-TI or the XT-10.
The EF-EOS M Mount Adaptor
Canon is well aware of the fact that the choice of EOS-M (EF-M) lenses is limited to say the least. At the same time however, they are offering an immense selection of great lenses for their EF-Mount.
Thanks to the genius EF-EOS M Mount Adaptor you can merge both worlds. It can be mounted to any EOS-M camera and allows you to use any EF-(S)-lens with it. The adaptor maintains the data transmission between the camera and the lens and even allows the camera to autofocus them without any issues.
Currently, the adaptor even comes in the box with the EOS M5. That’s what I call fair!
Conclusion: Canon EOS M10 vs. EOS M3 vs. EOS M5
With their M5, Canon are finally offering a mirrorless camera that doesn’t have to hide behind the competition. For me, it is the most complete camera in the EOS-M product range. I would even prefer it to a bigger EOS like the 7D or 80D.
The EOS M3 is a great addition to your existing rig including a big EOS DSLR. With the mount adaptor, you’ll be able to use all the »bigger« EF-lenses without a problem. I see the M3 as a good backup or travel camera or as a decent entry-level shooter.
I can only partially recommend the EOS M10. Canon has taken some red tape to their mirrorless line and removed pretty much all the useful features from the M10. If you know how to use it, you’ll be able to use it to its full potential. Its biggest advantage is its low weight and small size.