Sensors - CCD or BSI CMOS?

Started Apr 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Henry Falkner
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Sensors - CCD or BSI CMOS?
Apr 1, 2013

The cameras which I have not hidden away yet are the bridge 20x zoom SP-570UZ from 2008 and the Stylus 9010, about three years old now.

The 20x zoom SP-570UZ is the last Olympus bridge camera with full manual control, RAW and external flash. It has a 10MP sensor which is acceptable for noise even at 800 ISO. It is also built like a tank and bristles with buttons.

The Stylus 9010 is an also-ran 10x zoom pocket P&S, which has 2MB memory built in, and takes SD cards (at last). It lasts up to an hour doing HD720p video, with sound recording suitable for speech that does not need post-processing for intelligeability.

But both have been relegated to standby duty by the SZ-30MR 24x zoom P&S, mainly because it has a B(ack-S(ide) Illuminated CMOS sensor, but also because it allows taking two full-size stills in the middle of a video without stopping.

Technically it has been superceded by the SZ-31MR iHS, but that never appeared in New Zealand shops. The SH-50 iHS promises to do stable videos while walking. It was supposed to appear about now, but so far it is also a no-show in New Zealand.

Well, I am not the only one here on the Olympus Compact Forum squeezing the last ounce out of old gear. The XZ-1 appears to have acquired legendary status, even though it still has a CCD and a couple of problems I don't have on my gear.

I mean, can a CCD hold its own against a BSI-CMOS sensor?

To find out I did a comparison this afternoon between the Stylus 9010 with its 14MP CCD (on the left below) and the SZ-30MR with its 16MB BSI CMOS sensor.

The Stylus had EV-2, and in post-processing added yellow. The SZ-30MR had EV -1.7.

Considering the Stylus cost me 100 $NZ less than the SZ-30MR (200 $NZ down since released six months earlier), I reckon it is holding its value.

So I decided to compare also my bridge 20x zoom SP-570UZ against the SZ-30MR. The clouds had gone away, and the blue sky without direct sun forced me to pre-set WB 'Cloud', because the SP-570UZ in particular gets confused by that kind of lighting.

The SP-570UZ does well with the greens, but that's about it, even though it has the brighter lens.

From where I am sitting it looks like that some CCD equipped cameras will noit just curl up and die, but others are showing their age.

You may not have to get religion to hang on to your XZ-1. But if you are not weighed down by a choice you made up to two years ago, you might as well relegate any CCD equipped P&S, enthusiast compact or mirror-less camera to history gone by.

There are sound technical reasons why BSI CMOS has to be better, which I will not go into here unless I am asked.

But the CCD equipped cameras I have are cherished items because of their history in my possession, not because of their technical supremacy.

Henry

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 Henry Falkner's gear list:Henry Falkner's gear list
Olympus SP-570 UZ Olympus SH-50 Olympus Stylus SH-1
Olympus SH-50 Olympus SZ-30MR Olympus SZ-31MR iHS Olympus XZ-1
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