CMOS vs CCD Sensor?

Started Mar 29, 2010 | Discussions
mugupo
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CMOS vs CCD Sensor?
Mar 29, 2010

Don't you think Cmos sensor base camera does better job in indoor and low light, while CCD does better outdoor and landscape?

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mailman88
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Re: CMOS vs CCD Sensor?
In reply to mugupo, Mar 29, 2010

no... if I had a choice, I would select the CCD sensor. The link explains why the CCD
sensor is better. Here's a sample quote...

Both CCDs and CMOS imagers can offer excellent imaging performance when designed properly. CCDs have traditionally provided the performance benchmarks in the photographic, scientific, and industrial applications that demand the highest image quality (as measured in quantum efficiency and noise) at the expense of system size. CMOS imagers offer more integration (more functions on the chip), lower power dissipation (at the chip level), and the possibility of smaller system size, but they have often required tradeoffs between image quality and device cost. Today there is no clear line dividing the types of applications each can serve. CMOS designers have devoted intense effort to achieving high image quality, while CCD designers have lowered their power requirements and pixel sizes. As a result, you can find CCDs in low-cost low-power cellphone cameras and CMOS sensors in high-performance professional and industrial cameras, directly contradicting the early stereotypes. It is worth noting that the producers succeeding with "crossovers" have almost always been established players with years of deep experience in both technologies.

http://www.dalsa.com/corp/markets/CCD_vs_CMOS.aspx

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Mike_PEAT
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I prefer NMOS actually...
In reply to mugupo, Mar 29, 2010

mugupo wrote:

Don't you think Cmos sensor base camera does better job in indoor and low light, while CCD does better outdoor and landscape?

I don't like CMOS because it is inherently noisy and requires stronger filtering (which you can't switch off, even in RAW).

NMOS (aka Live MOS) is the better choice as it has the image quality of CCD with the lower power consumption of CMOS:

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William Carson
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Re: I prefer NMOS actually...
In reply to Mike_PEAT, Mar 29, 2010

This is the first I have heard of 'NMOS'. The info I found from a Bling search does not tell much of anything. Why is 'NMOS' better? Seems the advantage of CCD over CMOS is mostly overcome by the recent 'backside illumination technology in any case (which addressed the limit to area given to the light gathering photodiode).
Will

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photoSmart42
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Live MOS
In reply to William Carson, Mar 29, 2010

William Carson wrote:

This is the first I have heard of 'NMOS'. The info I found from a Bling search does not tell much of anything. Why is 'NMOS' better? Seems the advantage of CCD over CMOS is mostly overcome by the recent 'backside illumination technology in any case (which addressed the limit to area given to the light gathering photodiode).
Will

Panasonic, Leica, and Olympus have been using the Live MOS technology in their 4/3 cameras for some time. Good image quality plus lower power consumption are all good attributes, and hopefully they'll get better with time.

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spt_gb
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You've been listening to Olympus advertising too much
In reply to Mike_PEAT, Mar 29, 2010

While at a pixel level CMOS is inherently noisier than CCD, it can also include noise reduction hardware directly on the chip so it kind of evens out at low ISO and wins handily at high ISO. NMOS doesn't compete well with either technology. Tests comparing NMOS to CMOS show that it doesn't scale as 4/3rds should to APS-C or 35mm in terms of low noise performance, and it's low on dynamic range by comparison also.

Mike_PEAT wrote:

mugupo wrote:

Don't you think Cmos sensor base camera does better job in indoor and low light, while CCD does better outdoor and landscape?

I don't like CMOS because it is inherently noisy and requires stronger filtering (which you can't switch off, even in RAW).

NMOS (aka Live MOS) is the better choice as it has the image quality of CCD with the lower power consumption of CMOS:

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GodSpeaks
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In reply to mugupo, Mar 30, 2010
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GordonBGood
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Re: You've been listening to Olympus advertising too much
In reply to spt_gb, Mar 30, 2010

NMOS is still an active circuitry sensor technology, just that is has less transistors and is thus easier to manufacture.

Why do we keep digging up that old Internet article that points out the higher noise in the CMOS sensor technology, rarely bothering to follow up with the slightly more up to date articles from the same company that say no such thing: http://www.dalsa.com/public/corp/CCD_vs_CMOS_Litwiller_2005.pdf . Even at that, these articles are more oriented to CMOS sensors as used in camera phones than in cameras.

There are three forms of noise in sensor technologies, as follows:

1) Photons converted to electrons in the semiconductor substrate and the statistical shot noise that arises from the signal produced by a finite number of electrons in the "well". As both CMOS and CCD sensors use identical photo-detector technologies, they have the same noise other than that the CMOS sensor had slightly less "fill factor" efficiency due to the loss of area for the extra CMOS circuitry. With the shrinking of CMOS minimum feature size, this is no longer a consideration for large DSLR sized sensors and with Back Illuminated Sensors, it is not even a consideration for small camera phone sized sensors.

2) All sensors have a spatial "noise" that is called Pixel Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU) and with the sensitive areas becoming approximately the same as explained above, these are now approximately the same and have been for some time for larger DSLR CMOS sensors.

3) Black read noise due to the sensor itself (as apposed to off sensor amplifiers and Analog to Digital Converters) has indeed been higher for CMOS sensors as implemented 10 years ago or so, but that condition has been rectified by using some on-sensor circuits (because adding circuitry is an option with CMOS and NMOS sensor technology but not with CCD) to actively reset the photocells to zero and cancel out the variation in the reset voltage. This is noise reduction that can't be turned off (because why would we want to) in that it reduces this black noise with no detriment to image quality, as it does not refer to adjacent photocells and thus does not cause detail smearing as we usually refer to as noise reduction as implemented after image capture. It's main cost is the extra transistors required per photocell, but that is no longer a major cost with current CMOS sensor technologies as explained in 1). Modern CMOS sensors used for DSLR's now have less than half of the black read noise of the lowest black read noise ever for the best CCD sensors of that size ever produced without losing any detail .

Noise Reduction (NR) comes in many flavours, as follows:

1) Canon DSLR CMOS sensors have never used any NR other than as the active reset circuitry as in 3) above which does not smear details .

2) Modern Sony DSLR sensor seem to use a combination of techniques to reduce noise including active reset circuitry, but also as they have the capability to build the Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) onto the sensor which allows them to also do the following:

a) put the circuitry closer to the source to reduce the change of injected noise at no cost to image quality .

b) do averaging of multi-sampling to reduce the effects of ADC noise at no cost to image quality .

c) do extra forms of chroma noise filtering that does somewhat smear image details, and indeed this can not be turned off for current sensors; however, the loss of detail is very small with the gain in chroma noise reduction that many do by default anyway.

In summary, there is really no difference in image quality between modern CMOS sensors and CCD sensors other than that the CMOS sensors generally have lower black noise, and any differences in NR and detail smearing are not due to the CMOS technology but rather is what is added just because the sensor manufacturers can.

spt_gb wrote:

While at a pixel level CMOS is inherently noisier than CCD, it can also include noise reduction hardware directly on the chip so it kind of evens out at low ISO and wins handily at high ISO. NMOS doesn't compete well with either technology. Tests comparing NMOS to CMOS show that it doesn't scale as 4/3rds should to APS-C or 35mm in terms of low noise performance, and it's low on dynamic range by comparison also.

Should read: While at a pixel level CMOS has inherently higher black read noise than CCD, it usually includes active reset circuitry to make the end result black noise lower than that of CCD's, which makes the technology more effectively used at high ISO's although also offering higher Dynamic Range at low ISO's.

I'll reserve my NMOS comments for the bottom, but Panasonic do make improvements to that technology.

Mike_PEAT wrote:

mugupo wrote:

Don't you think Cmos sensor base camera does better job in indoor and low light, while CCD does better outdoor and landscape?

I don't like CMOS because it is inherently noisy and requires stronger filtering (which you can't switch off, even in RAW).

The "filtering" for Canon CMOS sensors is active reset circuits that does not reduce detail. Some Sony CMOS sensors do appear to have a form of slight detail smearing filtering that can't be turned off, but that is a Sony design decision and not something that is required by the CMOS sensor technology.

NMOS (aka Live MOS) is the better choice as it has the image quality of CCD with the lower power consumption of CMOS:

Yes, at that time it had the image quality of CCD sensors with all of the high black read noise. There have been improvements as in the Panasonic GH1, where they seem to have employed the active reset technology to the in order to obtain lower black read noise, higher DR, and better high ISO performance.

Regards, GordonBGood

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animedia
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Re: CMOS vs CCD Sensor?
In reply to mugupo, Mar 30, 2010

Clearly Cmos is the future, because they improve IQ every year and they have better Iso and are faster, if not, just check the DSRL cameras there arent CCD anymore, and now the new point and shoot cameras are using cmos, it seems like the CCD technology is losing, and the Cmos is winning

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franois colou
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Re: CMOS vs CCD Sensor?
In reply to animedia, Oct 24, 2010

I prefer CCD images, to me they have more 'bite', the blacks are more beautiful and the tones are more subtle than CMOS images.

I don't talk about noise at high ISO, nore resolution, only about what are the most important properties to me in a sensor : colours, contrast, DR and low noise at base ISO.

I'm very concerned about this question because it's my job : for more than 15 years I've worked on the postproduction of commercials and feature films.

Ektachromes, 35mm, Digi Beta, Red One and HD Dslrs : so many hours working on images from so many different sources gives someone a sense of image quality, even if it is very subjective.

I only shoot at base ISO on my Pentax K10D.
I've used Nikon D700, Pentax Kx and Canon 5DMkII.
I did a lot of analysis of image galleries online on my Eizo monitor.

If you want to check by yourself, please go to the Pentax Photo Gallery :

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home?#section=EXIF-LENS&subSection=1480&subSubSection=3444179&language=EN

and compare the images from the old CCD DSLRs (K10D *istD K200D K100D) with CMOS DSLRs (K20D K7D Kx), you will see that with a very good contrasty lens like the FA* 80-200, the difference is obvious.

Sadly there is no CCD DSLRs that do full video HD, so I'll have to go with CMOS.

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François

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