CCD to CMOS transition

The best possible image has always been of key importance to JAI and until recently CCD sensors were the best choice to accomplish it. CMOS image sensors have been available for many years with typical advantages such as:

  • Low power consumption
  • Flexible readout (ROI, binning etc.)
  • High frame rates

In a CMOS sensor the pixel charge is immediately converted to voltage because the pixel is directly connected to the amplifier. This is in contrast to a CCD sensor where amplification is another part of the camera circuitry. The technical implementation in CMOS sensors gives, on one hand, a lot of flexibility in the data readout, but the increased complexity in the pixel layer limits the fill factor and increases fixed pattern noise.

Sony has taken CMOS technology one step further with their PregiusTM sensors where global shutter is combined with the Exmor® design. In the Exmor design the use of multiple column ADCs allows for correlated double sampling in the digital regime leading to exceptionally low noise.

As a result, the last barriers to the widespread adoption of CMOS sensor technology have been removed and disadvantages like non-uniformity, noisy images, rolling shutter and low shutter efficiency are no longer a technical obstacle. CMOS sensor technology now offers performance that surpasses CCD sensor performance on most parameters.

The new structure also improves near infrared (NIR) sensitivity over previous generations of CMOS sensors. Even the Sony IMX249 Pregius first generation CMOS sensor is on par with the Sony ICX285 CCD, which is well known for its good NIR sensitivity.

In Pregius second generation sensors, the NIR-sensitivity (NIR from approx. 700 nm) has improved even further.

It remains, however, a widespread misunderstanding that the higher level of integration including A/D conversion in the CMOS sensor has made performance more or less independent of the camera design. While it holds true that surrounding hardware can be made less complex in a CMOS camera, the level of image processing still makes a big difference when delivering supreme image quality – and here JAI stands out.

All the new JAI camera families are based on CMOS sensor technology and offer good replacement options for most CCD-based cameras.

For example, the 5-megapixel B Series CCD camera models  - BM-500CL, BB-500CL, BM-500GE and BB-500GE - can be replaced by the new 5-megapixel Go Series CMOS cameras - GO-5100M and GO-5101C (available with Power over Mini Camera Link and GigE Vision interfaces). In other cases, you can take advantage of the flexibility (ROI, binning etc.) in the CMOS technology.

CMOS image sensor technology is available in the following JAI camera series:

Spark Series
Advanced area scan cameras delivering high resolution, high frame rates, and high image quality. See all Spark models

Go Series
Megapixel area scan cameras with small dimensions, high frame rates and cutting edge sensor technology. See all Go models

Apex Series
3-CMOS prism-based RGB area scan cameras providing better color fidelity than traditional Bayer cameras. See all Apex models

Sweep Series
Monochrome and trilinear line scan cameras with fast scan rates and high image quality. See all Sweep models

Sweep+ Series
Multi-sensor prism-based color/NIR line scan cameras combining precision, sensitivity and multi-spectral options. See all Sweep+ models

Contact JAI for more information and help if you want to upgrade your current CCD camera-based vision system to take advantage of the latest CMOS technology.

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