In the world of digital video, there are a number of things to consider when you’re buying a new digital camera. If you’re looking to create or update a video security system, you also need to keep several things in mind while selecting what digital video cameras you’re going to be using for your surveillance system; one of the biggest decisions you’re going to need to make is what type of image sensor you want your camera to have. There are two – Charged Coupling Devices (CCD) and Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductors (CMOS). Here’s what you need to know about each.


CCD Image Sensors


When digital cameras were first invented, they made exclusive use of CCDs to transform light into pixels. The process to create a CCD sensor is highly specialized, but it results in a high quality image that is low in distortion. However, this specialized manufacturing method comes at an added cost – an area in which CMOS image sensors excel.


CMOS Image Sensors


Instead of using analog methods to turn light into data, CMOS sensors make use of transistors situated at each pixel to capture and transform light. This is a much more flexible way to take digital images as each pixel has its own individual transistor path. Additionally, with CMOS sensors created in the same way that microchips are, they’re easier to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. This makes CMOS chips cheaper to make – and is why digital cameras are much more affordable now than they were in the past.


So Which is Better?


While CMOS is a newer and more easily manufactured technology, this doesn’t mean that a CMOS-equipped digital video camera will be inherently better than one equipped with a CCD sensor. These older, more expensive sensors are capable of producing higher quality images with less noise, and are much more sensitive to light. In comparison, CMOS sensors need higher amounts of light to create images with low amounts of noise. However, this difference is likely to be eliminated as research into making better CMOS chips continues; CCD technology has the benefit of being older and having been subjected to more research and development than the newer digital imaging technology.


So which is better for your security system? If you need the highest quality images, need good light sensitivity, and cost is not a factor, security cameras with CCD sensors are likely to be your best bet. However, if you have cost constraints, a CMOS camera might be a better option. Additionally, with CMOS sensors needing much less power to operate, you may want to select a CMOS solution if you are going to be using wireless cameras that aren’t tied into your building’s electrical wiring, as your camera’s internal batteries will naturally last longer.