NY Mtns
this is gonna be fun! just found this on Gizmodo

These Neat Animations Show How CMOS and CCD Sensors Work

so, is it that 'a sensor is a sensor is a sensor' or not? i know two things: one is that interpreting data depends in large part on the interpreter; and two, i know what i see when i see it! so for me photography remains a subjective art that is based entirely on how each individual's eye processes a photo. my eye processes a difference in images produced by these two sensors. maybe this is why...

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I'm mostly in the "sensor is a sensor" camp. Digital images consist of numbers, nothing else. So long as the on-sensor filters are the same (Bayer colour array, anti aliasing filter, IR filter, and whatever else they have), the basic division of photons over the sensor should be equal (outside of certain specialist applications that are irrelevant to consumer photography).

CCD's used to be better due to the larger percentage of each pixel being available for light gathering, but back-lit CMOS, on-chip noise reduction and less intrusive amplification available on CMOS sensors have made them pretty much equal in terms of light gathering ability.

So with the distribution of photons over the sensor being equal and the light gathering ability of the sensor also having been equalized, only the process of changing the photons into current and then into bits remains different - but this does not make a difference to the look of the image, only to the overall noise level. And there, too, CMOS is no longer at a disadvantage (except when it comes to rolling shutter effect). Ofcourse the more efficient that process is, the larger the percentage of the photons that can be converted to digital numbers. But the difference between CCD's and CMOS shouldn't lead to, for instance, reds being more vibrant in one technology.

Finally with medium-format cameras having mostly switched to Sony's CMOS sensor in the past year, I haven't read any complaints about the sensors having lost "that special something" - indicating that the special something is probably down to the overall light gathering capacity that a medium format sensor provides.


NY Mtns
i understand what youre saying, but these videos seem to show two very different systems for how each sensor interacts with light. certainly not the same, but a little like how different types of film react differently, yielding different results.

i hear the 'sensors consist of numbers' thing, and im sure that is correct. it is also, imo, incomplete. the light gathering operation of these two are in fact different. that was the point of my post. i believe the different systems yield different results. i personally see a difference in the results and attribute it to this, and other, factors, though i fully believe others may not see any difference. imo, it is the subjective nature of what the eye sees that makes art. that subjectivity cannot be reduced to 0's, 1's and 2's, or whatever the objective programming nomeclature
I have been interested in this discussion and am, honestly, personally fond of CCD over CMOS. But, laboring under the weight of education in these forums I decided to test the differences. I live in an area pretty much starved of sunshine, especially this year. However we did get a break with some sunshine in the last few days, now gone.

I shot a series of three images for each lens, f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/11. The lenses were Canon 28mm LTM f/2.8, Canon 35mm LTM F/2.0, Canon 50mm LTM f/1.8 and Jupiter 85mm LTM f/2.0. The cameras were M9 (CCD) and M240 (CMOS). The images are uncompressed DNG files without in-camera lens correction and at ISO 200, aperture priority.

These are the links: