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Understanding Camera Sensors

Camera Sensors are of different type. APS-C and 35mm full frame are two common sensor formats and CCD and CMOS are different types of sensors. Note that a CCD or CMOS sensor can be of any size. So, you cannot compare a CCD Sensor vs Full frame sensor because both are two different units of measurement. For starters, we will see each one of them in detail.


Both CCD and CMOS are the type of sensors which convert the physical light rays which are hitting the sensor plate into digital pixels. The difference is in how they process the analog light rays and convert into the digital signal.

CCD (Charged Coupling Device)

This is the type of sensor used in first digital cameras. When the light hit the sensor, the charge is transported across the chip to analog to digital converter where the raw information is converted to digital pixel values. CCD sensors produce much better quality than a CMOS Sensor due to its high sensitivity, low noise conversion. The manufacturing process of CCD Sensors are more complicated and need specialized production facilities, hence they are expensive. Power consumption is also higher in comparison to CMOS sensor (almost 50 times more power is consumed by a CCD). Due to these disadvantages, even though CCD delivers better quality, manufacturers have switched to CMOS Sensor.

CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor)

This is the most common sensor you will find in High-End DSLRs to cheap mobile phone cameras. It is relatively cheaper to manufacture and provides excellent output. In CMOS sensor, there are multiple transistors on each pixel and when the light rays hit the sensor, the information is transported using traditional wires. Even though CMOS sensors doesn't produce high-quality images like CCD, it is highly doubtful whether anyone can notice the difference. The difference will be noticeable only when the image is zoomed to 100%, even that difference is also disappearing due to the advancement in CMOS technology.

APS - C and Full Frame