Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beer snobs and camera snobs

Some beer drinkers are very particular. Their beverage must have been brewed in exactly the right way, with the appropriate hops content, and be served at exactly the right temperature. Drinkers like these refuse to accept that something poured from the bottle can ever be as good as something hand-pumped from a cellar.

Some machine vision professionals get the same over cameras. For them a CMOS sensor can never be as good as a CCD.

They may be right – I’m no physicist – but I believe the difference is narrowing to the point where it really doesn’t matter any more. And what leads me to this conclusion?

Two recent articles on the state-of-play in CMOS sensor design. First up is “CMOS Imaging Technology Advances” by Eric Fox of Teledyne Dalsa and published in the April 2012 Quality Magazine. And second, a white paper by sensor manufacturer Aptina: “Global Shutter Pixel Technologies and CMOS Image
Sensors – A Powerful Combination” (it opens up as a pdf.)

Between them, these two articles provide some good detail on what’s being done to address the perceived weaknesses of CMOS sensors, and also point out some of the advantages.

There are times when a bottled beer is to be preferred over draught, and the same goes for camera sensors. Read the articles and keep an open mind.

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