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Thread: CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

  1. #1

    Default CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

    Both CCD (charge-coupled device) and CMOS (complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor) image sensors start at the same point -- they have to convert light into electrons. If you have read the article How Solar Cells Work, you understand one technology that is used to perform the conversion. One simplified way to think about the sensor used in a digital camera (or camcorder) is to think of it as having a 2-D array of thousands or millions of tiny solar cells, each of which transforms the light from one small portion of the image into electrons. Both CCD and CMOS devices perform this task using a variety of technologies.

    The next step is to read the value (accumulated charge) of each cell in the image. In a CCD device, the charge is actually transported across the chip and read at one corner of the array. An analog-to-digital converter turns each pixel's value into a digital value. In most CMOS devices, there are several transistors at each pixel that amplify and move the charge using more traditional wires. The CMOS approach is more flexible because each pixel can be read individually.

    CCDs use a special manufacturing process to create the ability to transport charge across the chip without distortion. This process leads to very high-quality sensors in terms of fidelity and light sensitivity. CMOS chips, on the other hand, use traditional manufacturing processes to create the chip -- the same processes used to make most microprocessors. Because of the manufacturing differences, there have been some noticeable differences between CCD and CMOS sensors.

    * CCD sensors, as mentioned above, create high-quality, low-noise images. CMOS sensors, traditionally, are more susceptible to noise.
    * Because each pixel on a CMOS sensor has several transistors located next to it, the light sensitivity of a CMOS chip tends to be lower. Many of the photons hitting the chip hit the transistors instead of the photodiode.
    * CMOS traditionally consumes little power. Implementing a sensor in CMOS yields a low-power sensor.
    * CCDs use a process that consumes lots of power. CCDs consume as much as 100 times more power than an equivalent CMOS sensor.
    * CMOS chips can be fabricated on just about any standard silicon production line, so they tend to be extremely inexpensive compared to CCD sensors.
    * CCD sensors have been mass produced for a longer period of time, so they are more mature. They tend to have higher quality and more pixels.

    Based on these differences, you can see that CCDs tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS sensors traditionally have lower quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity. CMOS sensors are just now improving to the point where they reach near parity with CCD devices in some applications. CMOS cameras are usually less expensive and have great battery life.

  2. #2

    Default Re: CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

    I think your article is a bit outdated. Though it might be true 10 years ago, it fails to mention some of the key advances in cmos technology that makes it the choice of low noise, high sensitivity flagship cameras today.

  3. #3

    Default Re: CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

    Quote Originally Posted by wxwayne View Post
    Based on these differences, you can see that CCDs tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS sensors traditionally have lower quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity. CMOS sensors are just now improving to the point where they reach near parity with CCD devices in some applications. CMOS cameras are usually less expensive and have great battery life.
    As said, your info is way outdated. Every Hi-end or mi-end DSLR are using CMOS sensor. the 1st manufacturer was Canon; Olympus after that also use Live MOS on DSLR; Nikon used to use Kodak CCD but the latest Nikon D3 and D300 also shifted to their own CMOS; Sony still use CCD for lower end DSLR but use they so called 'Exmor' CMOS in Sony A700...

  4. #4

    Default Re: CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

    no no no

    before this latest series of model release if i'm not wrong, canon cmos cameras outperform nikon's ccd in terms of noise leh

  5. #5

    Default Re: CCD vs CMOS : Some Background

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    no no no

    before this latest series of model release if i'm not wrong, canon cmos cameras outperform nikon's ccd in terms of noise leh
    Even the higher end Nikons (D2X, D300, D3) are CMOS.

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