CCD versus CMOS / MOS


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ombre

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Sep 3, 2008
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#1
Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone can enlighten me between a CCD and CMOS sensor or even a MOS sensor. I've tried reading up various websites but most of the information provided was highly technical and doesn't entirely point out the difference for Photography.

I am in particular considering Canon and Nikon entry level dSLRs, and noticed that D40 - D80 have CCD sensors while compared to the 350D to 450D on Canon.

Thanks all!
 

FIR

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Jan 3, 2005
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#2
"Nikon entry level dSLRs, and noticed that D40 - D80 have CCD sensors" - True, Nikon newer model like D90 and higher-end model D700, D3 uses CMOS.
 

griffin

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Nov 15, 2006
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CCD stand for charge couple device, this is the traditional electronic that used to capture image. It is used way back before DSLR, at that time is is use in the TV camera.

Even both CCD and CMOS sensor is build on sillicon (semiconductor), the struture of the device is very different. The light (photon) from the lens interact with the CCD (silicon) and generate electron charge. The charge is the sweep to a amplifier. The amplifier signal is then converted to Digital signal. Therefore, CCD is using a manufacturing technique which is very different from normal electronics.

Where as CMOS is the dominate manufacturing technique for most electronic including the CPU the you are using now. Therefore, it is cheaper to produce. Taking this advatage, engineer employ the pn-juction diode as the photo site. When photo hit the photo site, a voltage different will be generated, and this voltage is amplified then converted to digital signal.

General believe is that the CCD share the same amplifier and therefore it can have low noise, where as the CMOS sensor will have it own amplifier for each photo site will have large noise due to process variation. However, this have show opposite by Canon where they able to produce CMOS sensor that have even lower noise than CCD.

I not sure this information will help or make you more confuse.
 

eosdigital

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Feb 11, 2008
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#4
Are u referring to Live MOS sensor used in 4/3 system?
 

griffin

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Nov 15, 2006
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#5
Live MOS and CMOS or MOS is the same thing, it might have some minor different in term of implementation. But is all using CMOS process. Where as CCD is a different process. The main different between CCD and CMOS is the way it is make (or we call process).

MOS stand for Metal Oxide Semicondutor, it also know as MOSFET mean Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor. And CMOS is Complemetary Metal Oxide semiconductor, actually consist of 2 type of MOS, NMOS and PMOS.
 

mummum

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Mar 20, 2007
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#6
Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone can enlighten me between a CCD and CMOS sensor or even a MOS sensor. I've tried reading up various websites but most of the information provided was highly technical and doesn't entirely point out the difference for Photography.

I am in particular considering Canon and Nikon entry level dSLRs, and noticed that D40 - D80 have CCD sensors while compared to the 350D to 450D on Canon.

Thanks all!
Cuz Photography is not about the camera sensor... faint!

Bottomline... if i show you a picture, you will not be able to differentiate out whether it's taken by CCD or CMOS sensor.

Go and learn bout other photography related stuffs instead.

Last but not least... to contradict myself haha... CCD generally consumes more power compared to CMOS.
 

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yamcake

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Aug 11, 2003
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#7
Cuz Photography is not about the camera sensor... faint!

Bottomline... if i show you a picture, you will not be able to differentiate out whether it's taken by CCD or CMOS sensor.

Go and learn bout photography stuff like what is Aperture, shutter speed ... instead.

Last but not least... to contradict myself haha... CCD generally consumes more power compared to CMOS.
well quite true..
but its also good to know your gear right..
hah...
 

ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#8
Hi, thanks to all for the enthusiastic reply, especially to those who have provided very technical information.

Alright, all those technical information, I have read them elsewhere, in great detail and it left more more confused in-fact. Perhaps I was not so clear in my opening post.

I'm interested to know what effects CMOS/CCD sensors have on the pictures. For instance, the main areas of interest would be noise in particular.

Canon has been known to beat Nikon in terms of ISO yes? please correct me if I am wrong. Yet its a CMOS sensor, even though a CCD sensor (assume same size/pixel density) is supposed to out-do the CMOS. These kind of confuse me.

Actually basically I'm trying to get an entry dSLR, obviously comparing between the two. was about to decide on Nikon due to their lenses being made of glass instead of plastic composites (is this totally true?) however I spotted that Nikon entries uses CCD instead. Threw me off for abit.

Any tips here?
 

Octarine

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Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#9
Read www.dpreview.com - they do direct comparison between ISO performance of C, N and O. See if this helps you. Otherwise: Stop worrying, start shooting.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of tools available (in camera as well as for computers) that can handle noise quite well. Post-processing is not an option, it's part of photography.
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#10
Canon has been known to beat Nikon in terms of ISO yes? please correct me if I am wrong. Yet its a CMOS sensor, even though a CCD sensor (assume same size/pixel density) is supposed to out-do the CMOS. These kind of confuse me.

Actually basically I'm trying to get an entry dSLR, obviously comparing between the two. was about to decide on Nikon due to their lenses being made of glass instead of plastic composites (is this totally true?) however I spotted that Nikon entries uses CCD instead. Threw me off for abit.

Any tips here?
Nikon started with CMOS sensors with D2X. The thing about CCD is that inherently, it's a more stable transducer. However, pushing the resolution and speed, the electrical noise incurred during the passage to the ADC makes it less viable.

CMOS starts to find its advantage in high resolution and high speed sensors because 1) the feaure size for CMOS is smaller than CCD; 2) it becomes possible to integrate the ADC directly on the sensor itself, reducing the analog noise during the transfer to the ADC for CCD; 3) compensation and self-calibration circuitry becomes possible because of the integration capabilities of CMOS.

These, coupled with the advances in noise reduction algorithms, makes CMOS chips viable now for high speed, high resolution imagers. Plus current consumption is also much lower for CMOS compared to CCD.

End of the day, I'm pretty sure the manufacturers have looked at the signal to noise figures before putting the sensors in. Nikon don't make their own sensors, so they have to rely on what's available. So for D40/X, D50, D60, D70/s, D80, D100, D200, they are using CCD because that was what available then. Canon makes their own sensors, so they have the luxury to use whatever they want.
 

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ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#11
Nikon started with CMOS sensors with D2X. The thing about CCD is that inherently, it's a more stable transducer. However, pushing the resolution and speed, the electrical noise incurred during the passage to the ADC makes it less viable.

CMOS starts to find its advantage in high resolution and high speed sensors because 1) the feaure size for CMOS is smaller than CCD; 2) it becomes possible to integrate the ADC directly on the sensor itself, reducing the analog noise during the transfer to the ADC for CCD; 3) compensation and self-calibration circuitry becomes possible because of the integration capabilities of CMOS.

These, coupled with the advances in noise reduction algorithms, makes CMOS chips viable now for high speed, high resolution imagers. Plus current consumption is also much lower for CMOS compared to CCD.

End of the day, I'm pretty sure the manufacturers have looked at the signal to noise figures before putting the sensors in. Nikon don't make their own sensors, so they have to rely on what's available. So for D40/X, D50, D60, D70/s, D80, D100, D200, they are using CCD because that was what available then. Canon makes their own sensors, so they have the luxury to use whatever they want.
Hey thanks, very informative. =)
 

eosdigital

New Member
Feb 11, 2008
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#12
Is there any known informations on where Nikon sourced their sensors from?
 

ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#14
Is there any known informations on where Nikon sourced their sensors from?
Yes as Raied mentioned, its from Sony. In fact its the exact sensor used in their Sony Alpha dSLRs. (dpreview.com)
 

GavinTing

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Oct 16, 2007
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#15
You can also use the fuji DSLR with nikon lenses if you wish.
 

ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#16
Seems like I'm going for Canon, checked out the dpreview noise comparison and Canon really showed great differences.
 

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