September 23, 2014

              CCD vs. CMOS: what are the new trends? Read what our Product Management has observed on the market

              CCD and CMOS
              Both CCD and CMOS sensors are commonly used in industrial cameras. What are the market positions of these two technologies? We ask Henning Tiarks, Head of Product Marketing at Basler, to give us his assessment.

              What will 2015 bring regarding modern cameras?

              The year 2015 will be an exciting one for modern cameras and camera technology again! Most interesting is the increasing number of new CMOS sensors reaching the camera market. Those sensors come with impressive specs in terms of image quality and frame rate, defining a new category of value for money.

              Let’s talk about the camera resolution. Will there be any major breakthroughs?

              For the first time, we expect the whole range of standard resolutions from VGA to 5 megapixels and above to be covered by CMOS technology. The technology will become relevant for all existing and new applications in machine vision as well as in applications away from the factory floor, such as medical or intelligent traffic systems. Beyond that it is also becoming clear that the USB 3.0 interface in combination with the new CMOS sensor technology will fuel fast growth for USB 3.0, due to the perfect match in terms of performance.

              The USB 3.0 interface will be combined with new CMOS technology. Does that mean that CCD technology is not used anymore?

              Generally speaking, CCD sensors stand out for their low noise factor, high fill factor and the strong signal-to-noise ratio for images, all at very high image quality. These properties make cameras built around CCD sensors a strong choice for machine vision applications where available lighting is poor. That is why Basler still offers cameras with CCD sensors in its product portfolio.

              What challenges are brought by the move towards CMOS technology?

              For camera manufacturers, this brings some very exciting technical challenges. The new sensors must be integrated into the de-facto standard footprint of 29 mm x 29 mm. Besides, these sensors may require additional electronics and other hardware that must fit into the housing as well. Once this is managed it will allow customers to really benefit from the new sensors that in many cases will replace existing cameras of the same size. The second challenge is purely performance-driven. If you have those sensors in a small form factor you want to make use of the performance they offer. That means that, beyond Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 is a must-have interface. Combining both interfaces with the small camera size is a good challenge!

              This sounds very promising. What about the image quality?

              Of course, quality is always important. It will be a challenge to optimize the image quality of those new CMOS sensors to fit the market expectation. This requires deep knowledge of CMOS sensor technology.  If you have that, the outcome will be small, fast and image-quality-wise perfect cameras, that offer more value than ever before – our ongoing goal at Basler.

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