The End of CCDs

By John Honovich, Published Mar 17, 2015, 12:00am EDT

'Everybody' knows that CCDs provide better image quality and low-light performance.

Alas, beware out of date knowledge. It has been many years since that has been true in surveillance yet many 'professionals' still tout this as 'fact'. CMOS has long since surpassed CCD for surveillance cameras.

Now, reports that Sony will stop CCD sensor production should help convey to those still disbelieving that the end of CCDs is here.

Surveillance CMOS vs CCD

As our Camera Finder show, ~90% of surveillance cameras today use CMOS sensors. Indeed, the only form factor where CCDs are close to as common as CMOS are for PTZs.

Nonetheless, the 'best' 'super' low light performing cameras today (whether they go by names like 'Lightfinder', 'Lightcapture', 'Starlight', 'DarkFighter', 'Stellar' etc.) are all CMOS. Indeed, Sony's newest generation of HD PTZs use CMOS as well.

In the 2000s, CMOS was largely 'worse' than CCD. That was true. However, in the past decade, continued advances in CMOS sensors have enabled them to deliver better low-light performance, wide dynamic range and higher resolution.

Axis Says CCD is Better

For those who (wrongly) think CCD are still better, you can find supporting material online, such as Axis' CCD vs CMOS page [link no longer available], which declares:

"CCD sensors have been used in cameras for more than 20 years and present many advantageous qualities; among them, better light sensitivity than CMOS sensors. This higher light sensitivity translates into better images in low light conditions."

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This appears to be 5 years or more out of date. Indeed, all of Axis 'super' low light cameras in the past 3 years use CMOS, not CCD.

Beware not only of out of date information, but statements that are many years old.

Stop With the CCDs

If you have been around the industry forever and like to pontificate about how CCDs are better, just stop. You might think you are showing your expertise but, in reality, you are confirming how out of date you are.

Hopefully, the Sony decision will help validate what has long been true in surveillance - CMOS has 'won' over CCD.

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