The Rise of CCD Technology

CCD technology began in the 1960s as a new type of computer memory circuit that was highly sensitive to light. By the year 2000 the technology was appearing everywhere. Photocopying and fax machines depended on them to function. But where they really thrived was the world of digital photography. CCDs interpreted light and transformed it into digital signals. For years they were the de facto image sensor in digital still cameras and camcorders.

A camera's image quality was dependent on how many CCDs it had. At the low end were cameras with only one CCD. These cameras were limited in the range of colors they could process. They were also the lowest in price, making them very popular with consumers. At the other end of the spectrum were the three CCD cameras. What sets these cameras apart from their one CCD counterparts is that they are able to capture a greater range of colors which made their image quality superior. Three CCD cameras were higher in price and were typically only owned by professionals.

The CCD is being replaced by CMOS image sensor. These new sensors are larger, consume less power, and offer higher resolutions. But the main reason they are surpassing the CCD is cost. CMOS sensors are cheaper to mass produce than CCD sensors. This means that the consumer can buy a camera that captures high quality images at a lower price.

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