Monday, September 3, 2012

Is CMOS as good as CCD?

Camera purists will tell you that the image from a CMOS sensor is inferior to that from a CCD. I’m not going to argue, because I suspect that, in absolute terms, it’s correct. However, I’ll take a different approach and suggest that the difference is so small it doesn’t matter. And if it does matter, compensation can be applied right in the CMOS camera.

A good place to learn about the differences and possible methods of compensation is on the Adimec blog, specifically, “CCD vs. CMOS: Image Artifacts to Consider with CMOS Image Sensors” posted August 24th, 2012. (Be sure to click the links provided.)

And why doesn’t the inferiority of CMOS matter? Because you should be engineering your systems with plenty of robustness. If a few random defective pixels are going to alter the result I would suggest you’re right on the edge rather than in the stable, predictable zone. Apply a filter to smooth out the noise, optimize your lighting; those are the kinds of things you could do.

And I think you should want to, because CMOS has two big advantages: lower price and higher frame rate. But if you really need the best, go with CCD.

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