CCD and CMOS in digital camera

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Senior Member
Mar 22, 2002
Did some research... hopes this will help if you are going digitial

Image Sensors: CCD vs. CMOS
One of the drivers behind the falling prices of digital cameras has been the introduction of CMOS image sensors. CMOS sensors are much less expensive to manufacture than CCD sensors.

Both CCD and CMOS image sensors start at the same point -- they have to convert light into electrons at the photosites. If you've read the article How Solar Cells Work, you already understand one of the pieces of technology used to perform the conversion. A 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 completely standard manufacturing processes to create the chip -- the same processes used to make most microprocessors. Because of the manufacturing differences, there are several 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 is lower. Many of the photons hitting the chip hit the transistors instead of the photodiode.
CMOS sensors traditionally consume little power. Implementing a sensor in CMOS yields a low-power sensor. CCDs, on the other hand, 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 pixels, and more of them.
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 usually have lower quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity. However, CMOS cameras are less expensive and have great battery life.


New Member
Dec 21, 2003
wah, nice done man...
but too detail too long to read.. anyone can give a summary, which one is better? :p


Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
The Canon DSLRs like the EOS300D uses a CMOS sensor. So not really all high end cams use CCD tech exclusively...

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