What is the CCD?

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CCD Digital camera sensor

CCDCCD (Charged Coupled Device)

To break it down simply,  CCD stands for Charged Coupled Device. The longer definition of CCD is that it’s an electronic device that’s used in image processing to store information in a controlled way. It is the digital equivalent of film, and you can use it on many different devices.

The CCD is one type of sensor that is used to capture an image by taking the light and translating it into digital information. There are thousands of tiny little pixels that make up the surface of the sensor so that every little facet of light will be caught, converted, and refined into electrical energy, and organized into a digital image.

It is through the pixels that the light is translated into electrons, which in turn, become the digital data you need in order to print, edit, or store a picture. CCD is used in many cameras and devices – this type of sensor has been around for a very long time and is often compared to the more modern CMOS sensor.

Once the light has become a digital copy of the image it can easily be stored in the camera’s memory.

digital ccd

With a good CCD, you will be able to produce high-quality images, even when working in low or dim lighting. It is important to know the quality of your digital camera’s CCD in order to know where your camera is effective as well as ineffective. A quality CCD allows you a higher sensitivity to light or ISO. If you are working with a client, you don’t want to waste their time or yours taking shots that won’t turn out because of poor lighting and/or a low-quality CCD.

CCD is also an older type of sensor compared to CMOS sensors. We won’t go into detail about CMOS sensors, but they work very similarly to each other. During the readouts, CCD sensors will move the electrons from each pixel. This is an effective way to read the data because it makes the readout process very effective and consistent – making CCD sensors an old but trusted technology to produce high-quality images with low noise. Another advantage is that CCD sensors don’t contain wasted in the pixel compared to CMOS sensors.

Let’s review some of the overall pros and cons of using CCD sensors:


  • Use CCDs for high-quality images
  • Use CCDs for low image noise
  • CCD sensors tend to have higher quality pixels
  • They’re a trusted technology and have been around for a long time
  • They’re designed in many technological devices and digital cameras
  • Long exposure times in cameras


  • It uses a lot of power (a hundred times more than standard CMOS sensors)
  • They have a slower readout
  • They don’t have direct pixel access in the cameras
  • More smearing and blooming effects when overexposed

One of the things to note about the CCD camera is that it is monochromatic, meaning it works in grayscale. Your cameras will have a color filter where there are pixels for Red Green and Blue light.

CCDs are not limited to digital cameras but are also used in telescopes, camcorders, and scanners–basically anything that takes in light and translates it into digital data. They’re also commonly used in high technology CCD cameras such as the one in astrophotography – including the Hubble Telescope which requires a prolonged exposure time.

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    1. The best brands typically have the best CCD’s When you find cheap digital camera’s one of the places they cut corners is in the CCD’s they buy. An easy test is to go to the store and test out a few cameras. The camera that always seems to have color off is the one that doesn’t have a very good sensor. Kodak was notorious for this a few years ago- they would make HUGE Mega Pixel camera’s but terrible sensors. They’d cut corners because most consumers would just take the Megapixel rating to say how good the camera was. You’d wind up with a large image that was still a bad image. A large bad image isn’t any better than a small bad image. So read up on them, see who’s putting time into developing their sensors. I can tell you two companies that are definitely spending some cash on their sensors each year are Canon and Nikon.

  1. Thanks for the above information.
    But i have a low budget for the camera and I am a beginner. Could you please tell me a model of CANON CAMERA that is very good and around $500.

  2. SONY is also utilizing their technology in creating excellent image sensors. I hear they are so good that Canon is buying them and putting them in their cameras. SONY is very innovative and uses their technology starting from the camera used for recording the project to the television used to display it thanks to their engineering and their relationship with their own film company SONY PICTURES.

  3. I have purchased a new Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera. Kindly let me know its essential preventive maintenance please, so that it can last long. Meanwhile I shall go through your online course.

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