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Security cameras are equipped with either a CMOS or a CCD sensor. There are distinct differences as well as advantages in using either of these camera-imaging options, and end users of security products should take note of these differences when choosing the units to deploy in their security systems.
How a CMOS sensor works
Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) is an image sensor for digital security cameras that employs digital signal. IP surveillance cameras use CMOS image sensors to transmit signals through a local area network (LAN), which the network video recorder (NVR) processes and then stores.
The CMOS sensor incorporates other circuits on the same chip, allowing additional on-chip features at minimal extra cost and uses pixel level circuitry. CMOS-based cameras have rolling shutters, which means that instead of image frames being exposed all at once, exposure is from one side to the other. The exposure process results to some distortion of the digital imagery or sensor artifacts. Users of security cameras with CMOS sensor can easily spot these artifacts in the video footages from their security system.
Brief comparison of CMOS and CCD
The performance of the CMOS image sensor is sometimes compared to that of the Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) image sensor that adopt analog signals, which is found in the traditional security cameras. Image detection for CMOS and CCD starts with the conversion of light into electrons through technologies that vary for each manufacturer of security cameras. In CCD imaging, an analog-to-digital converter converts each pixel into a digital value. In a CMOS-based camera, transistors that are present at each pixel perform the task of amplifying and moving electrons through the wires, making the process more flexible since every pixel is read individually.
There are pros and cons that make some security experts prefer one type of sensor to the other, but most agree that the CMOS sensor has the advantage of a simpler structure, lower cost, and lower power consumption. Electronic data for CMOS sensors is contained in a single chip that utilizes minimal space and operates with less power, which is one reason why most cell phones are equipped with CMOS cameras. However, CCD sensors produce better image quality, though technology advances for CMOS have considerably narrowed down the quality differences.
Advantages of using CMOS sensors
Manufacturers of surveillance cameras are looking into other factors that impact on image quality other than the sensor employed. The image processor and the processing technology contribute as much in producing high quality images, and can make up for any shortfall that may be observed when using a CMOS camera, which are more cost effective than the traditional CCD cameras.
A comparison of CCD-based and CMOS-based cameras will give users a clearer picture of the major pros and cons in using each image sensor.
Briefly, the CMOS sensor has the advantage of cost, while the CCD sensor has quality on its side. However, with technology advances, the CMOS can catch up and even out or come closer to the quality of imaging associated with CCDs.
The CMOS and CCD image sensors have inherent differences in technology and performance but advances in each technology are narrowing the difference gap. Users of security cameras will perceive the differences according to how these impacts on their security systems, in terms of cost and image quality.