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Differences a CCD had vs CMOS Security Camera Image Sensor

Updated on July 27, 2012

Pictures From CCD And CMOS Cameras

Picture of a video from a Security Camera with a CMOS image sensor
Picture of a video from a Security Camera with a CMOS image sensor
Picture of a video from a Security Camera with a  CCD image sensor
Picture of a video from a Security Camera with a CCD image sensor
Picture of a Sony Webbie with a CMOS image sensor.
Picture of a Sony Webbie with a CMOS image sensor.

CCD VS CMOS image sensor

Today I am exploring the differences between a CCD image sensor and A CMOS image Sensor. All digital cameras have either a CMOS or CCD image sensor.

Image sensors convert light to electrical signals then to pixels inside of a camera. There are two types of image sensors.

A CCD is an analog device, meaning (charge couple device) and uses more power than a CMOS sensor. The best application is in hardwired cameras. A CCD sensor captures light and turns it into an electrical charge. The light is then converted one pixel at a time to an image.

CMOS meaning(Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image sensor is an active pixel sensor.

The CMOS Image sensor is an alternative to a CCD image sensor and is found in all types of cameras including cell phones and web cameras. Battery life is much longer with a CMOS sensor than a CCD sensor. Thus you find them in portable cameras from cell phone cameras to wireless security cameras.

Both sensors convert light into pixels just in a different way.

The amount of effective pixels contribute to the clarity of a picture. In other words the more effective pixels the better the picture quality.

Other variables exist as well such as the amount of TV lines. This information is sometimes available with the camera specifications. If not ask the dealer or search the internet to find this information for the camera you are considering to purchase.


A picture tells a thousand words. The top picture is from a wired CMOS security camera. The camera specs show its resolution at 380 TV lines and no information on the effective pixels.

The first picture is from an inexpensive CMOS camera. As you can see it is grainy, sort of like clothes, after they have been washed to many times.

To learn more about image sensors visit Wikipedia.


Right below the CMOS picture is a picture from a wired security camera with a CCD image sensor. The resolution for this camera is 480 TV lines.

As you can see the picture is sharper reflecting the actual colors.

Sony Webbie

Below the CCD picture, is a picture of a video made from my Sony Webbie with a CMOS image sensor. This image sensor provides an excellent picture and a battery to provide more than enough energy to capture the video I have set out to do.

This Webbie has a 5MP image sensor to capture still images and HD MP4 (H.264) for video.

Many of the newer security cameras come with a Sony Super HAD CCD image sensor. For more information regarding security cameras visit The Spy Geeks Indoor/Outdoor cameras.


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