What is CCD Camera

Once a “popular Internet celebrity” CCD camera, is it really better to take pictures?

No matter what everyone thinks, there is a high probability that this camera will not be associated with what is often called a CCD camera. But this ceiling-level photography equipment is actually a kind of CCD camera, and the shooting process is very tedious, requiring patience and extremely high technology. But what this article wants to talk about is not this top camera, but the so-called “Internet celebrity CCD camera” equipment that the public can access.

What is CCD?
CCD and CMOS are both camera sensors, and a CCD sensor (Charged Couple Device) is a light-sensitive element that converts photons into electrons using the photoelectric effect.

Both CCD and CMOS sensors were invented in the late 1960s and 1970s. In those days, the market was dominated by the CCD sensor, which had a mature production process, because the electronic isolation and readout technology of CMOS was still immature within the limited manufacturing technology.

CMOS has higher integration, lower power consumption, and lower manufacturing costs than CCD sensors, which is why CMOS sensors replaced CCD sensors as the mainstream market after 2010.

Definition of CCD by the Internet
Based on the broad definition of a sensor, there are many types of cameras that can be called “CCD cameras”.

However, the mainstream voice on the Internet now mainly refers to card cameras produced before 2010, using CCD as the light-sensitive element as “CCD cameras”. This kind of card machine is generally relatively inexpensive, many models have been discontinued, the design is quite retro, according to the current publicity seems to have become similar to the Polaroid trend items.

Those who strongly promote the CCD business publicity copy is as follows.

CCD before 2010 because of the difference in the sensor used, most of the film itself is more retro, imaging can be bright, rich, heavy, the texture of the photo is completely different from the film, the type of film more, more operable, for just into the photography pit white is also super friendly and so on.

According to the business point of view to analyze word by word. First of all, the use of different from the CMOS sensor will really cause different color and texture? This starts with the imaging principle of the CCD sensor.

Imaging principle
CCD and CMOS image sensor photoelectric conversion principle is the same, the incident light through the color filter array, photoelectric effect occurs, excitation, read out electrons, and converted into analog signals, voltage values, these values are gathered to generate the photos we need. In terms of imaging principles CCD and CMOS are not identical, that naturally into the color at this stage is less likely to be affected.

The main difference between CCD and CMOS sensors is the signal readout process.

Compared to CMOS, CCD is less integrated, because the CCD only by a (or a few) output node unified readout, the signal global output, but readout time is slower compared to CMOS. This means that the CCD does not produce a jelly effect on the photos taken, but the continuous shooting speed is lower.

If we say that the CCD has any advantages in hardware, and the same era of CMOS cameras for comparison, low-sensitivity image quality is slightly better, the image is relatively smooth. At the same time, the disadvantages of the CCD is also very obvious, the high sense is very poor. That is to say, the correct use of CCD cameras are suitable for shooting scenery with the support of a tripod, and less suitable for shooting racing, sports, the Milky Way starry sky and even urban night scenes and other subjects that require high-speed shutter or low-light environment.

At present, the development of CMOS sensors is very rapid, the above-mentioned problems, including the jelly effect that we are worried about has been solved, CMOS ushered in the era of comprehensive beyond the CCD.

Compared with other types of cameras of the same period in 2010 and after, DSLR cameras and even mirrorless cameras have been equal to or even surpassed CCD cameras in terms of parameters, and that is why online businesses are pushing the CCD cameras before 2010, that is, businesses themselves have actually had a fairly clear knowledge of the CCD imaging quality and parameters, and can only use the design of the shape of the language to find ways to capture the hearts of the public.

Practical shooting test
Before I really started to shoot with CCD, I personally have been upholding a relatively pure photography concept: the camera is only a tool to complete the creation of photography, regardless of the equipment, you can take good pictures. But when I really use the CCD to complete my daily shooting, I realized that the CCD backward camera has long been unable to meet the needs of daily photography, or even record life.

I happen to have one of these, the 2011 Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H70 16 megapixel model. The features are similar to those described by most bloggers, including the function dials and the on/off button, there are 11 buttons!

Some of the more prominent features of this CCD camera are

Backlight detection: will trigger multiple compositions to facilitate the stacking of two later.
Scene detection: can detect portraits, macro, still life, moving objects and other modes.
The camera’s functions are actually very limited, for people familiar with SLR and DSLR operation in advance is easy to get started, the menu is not as complex as the micro or SLR, and can even be said to be very simple. The parameters available for my own adjustment is a bit limited, manual mode aperture only two fixed values, f / 3.5 and f / 8.0, and cell phone lenses developed in recent years, similar to the variable fixed aperture. Another example is that there are many settings that can be easily done on phones and cameras when dialed to M, but are not possible on this CCD.

Is CCD high sensitivity really bad?
Answer: It’s really bad.

Sensitivity (ISO) is the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light, the so-called high sensitivity is the camera sensor can capture light and imaging in low or weak light conditions. Generally speaking, the higher the ISO, the more noise it produces, and the worse the image quality.

In good light conditions and sunny weather outdoors, the CCD in my hands can barely take some “decent pictures”.

Once the low-light situation at night, the CCD is even far from the image quality of cell phones. In the case of the maximum aperture of only f / 3.5, CCD needs to increase the amount of light intake to meet the minimum quality requirements, not to mention the CCD in order to increase portability, its own lens aperture is actually very small, in order to compensate for the lack of aperture can only try to reduce the shutter speed or increase ISO.

Shutter speed reduction, increase sensitivity of the consequences of the situation as shown below, when there is no strong enough anti-shake or Kirin iron hand, the shutter speed down to 1/60s below will lead to serious blurring of the picture.

Does the resulting photo have a filmic feel in the end?
The answer is: no.

Of course, in order to understand whether CCD photos have a filmic feel, we must first understand what filmic feel is.

There are three main reasons for the “film sense” we often refer to.

The first is that there are many different types of film, so film can be divided into daylight and light film (Tungten) according to the scenario in which it is used, i.e., T-labeled flash studio film and D-labeled sunlight film. Of course, film can also be divided into positive, negative, reversal, and film rolls, depending on how it is developed.

Different types of film generally carry their own unique colors. For example, light film adds a blue-like filter color to neutralize the high K color temperature of studio flash, while daylight film is developed for outdoor and sunlight-based color temperatures. In order to produce different tones, film manufacturers made adjustments to the light-sensitive materials when developing new films, making some light-sensitive materials more sensitive to a particular color, resulting in an overall color shift that can mask photos with dreamy pink tones or fresh green hues.

The second is the color bias and exposure changes caused by the film after it has been developed from darkroom, digitally scanned, developed or enlarged. The color shift from processing to scanning is determined by the skill level of the processor, control of the processing time, and personal style of color reduction, and different scanners can all have an effect on the final photo.

The third is that the film has expired and the light-sensitive material on it is no longer sensitive to light, which eventually affects the ISO of the film, causing underexposure, overexposure, or some strange color shift when used.

The lower tolerance of reversal film is used here to illustrate that if exposure is not accurately grasped, it is very easy to underexpose or overexpose when using reversal film because of its low tolerance.

The main reason for the illusion of a “filmic feel” caused by CCD cards is actually the grain and noise caused by the lack of resolution and poor high sensitivity.

CCD color is really better than CMOS?
In the previous understanding of the CCD imaging principle, we will find that the CCD and CMOS imaging principle is not very different, both through the Bayer array to record color information, and then through the photodiode light-sensitive value conversion can get a digital value (0-255 ).

Since the differences in imaging principles have been denied, then we watch the various brands of cameras why the color is different?

The reason lies in the lens process and the color science of each brand.

When light hits an object, it will produce absorption, reflection, transmission and other phenomena. Moreover, various objects have the characteristics of selective absorption, reflection and transmission of color light. That is to say, an object in different light environment color is not fixed, which is very test each manufacturer for the original color restoration ability of the object. And restore the original color of an object also needs the lens color and in-camera adjustment of close cooperation.

How the lens affects the color
For the lens glass can generally be used to compare the data have two: transmittance and refractive index.

Lens lens structure, materials, coatings will affect the light transmission characteristics. General photography lens lens transmittance is mostly above 80%, the rest is absorbed and reflected by the lens glass material, the higher the refractive index, the poorer the transmittance of short wavelength light, long wavelength will form the main hue.

In the case of immature glass dyeing technology, in order to pursue the high transmission rate and resolution of the lens glass, the higher the refractive index of the lens, the more likely to take pictures of yellowing.

On the other hand, the intensity of the lens color and the overall light transmission rate is positively correlated, the overall transmission rate is high, the color is more intense. As a lens lens group requires many pieces of glass, in pursuit of high overall transmittance, the number of lenses is generally less, accordingly, this will also strengthen the dispersion, resulting in purple edges all over the sky, the same will have a negative impact on the overall imaging color vision difficult to correct chromatic aberration.

There is also an important issue is the coating of the camera lens. Coating will mainly play a role in increasing the transmission rate, but also be able to adjust some color to a certain extent, but seems to have less impact on the imaging color. Generally speaking, the color reflected by the coating is the color missing in the image. In addition, the ghosting or varying degrees of reflection caused by the coating will also trigger the body’s automatic white balance mode response in different forms, which will lead to the overall picture for color bias.

In addition, the total transmittance also affects certain attributes of color, such as contrast, i.e. the higher the transmittance, the higher the color contrast and the more intense it appears.

In addition to the level of quality of a lens and its coating level and optical design level, there is an important factor that affects the degree of quality. That is the adjustment of each brand of card machine in the machine.

In-camera adjustments
Before 2010, many card cameras did have in-camera photo styling as a selling point, that is, in-camera parameter adjustments to beautify photos by adjusting basic exposure, color gradation, white balance and other data. Their colors were largely influenced by the in-camera demosaic algorithm (Demosacing), and there were many preset color schemes in-camera. The in-camera white balance auto-trigger mechanism was not perfect before 2010, and there was great room for post-processing changes.

Putting aside the influence of the lens here, I think most people feel that the CCD color is “better” than digital cameras mainly because of the in-camera adjustments. When I was taking pictures with my CCD camera, this was really obvious.

White balance is to adjust the ratio of red, green and blue primary colors, so that the mixture becomes white, so that the camera system can get accurate color reproduction under different lighting conditions.

For example, a white paper in different color temperature reflected to the human eye color is different, and the role of white balance is responsible for the white paper in different color temperature 1 restore to white. When the in-camera color temperature value is consistent with the outside world, the camera can correctly represent white.

As shown above, CCD for white reproduction ability is relatively poor, especially in the higher color temperature of the light, but this insensitive white balance does reflect to some extent the color of the human eye really see, only to increase the difficulty of post-toning.

Can a selfie really be straight out?
Answer: How much later still has to be fixed a little.

In the above has understood the CCD lens color bias, in-camera adjustment with poor coordination, as well as poor high-sensitivity shortcomings, has basically hammered the ability of the CCD. In addition, because of the white balance and color temperature, resulting in the use of CCD photos straight out of the ambient lighting requirements are relatively high, if the ambient color is dim indoor, CCD on the skin color reproduction degree is relatively poor, so still need to adjust the color of the skin later.

After I consulted with another friend of mine who happened to purchase CCD photography, her response was also the need to spend some effort in post.
Vertical streak noise due to the characteristics of the CCD sensor under long exposure
I noticed this phenomenon when I was just an elementary school student, in the year when there was no CMOS camera, with CCD camera photos found this phenomenon, that is, when I face a strong light source when the photo will have a very affected the perception of the light column produced.

The reason for this phenomenon is that too many electrons are stored in the potential well where the bright spot of light is recorded, which eventually leads to an overflow of electrons. The structure of the CCD allows electrons to flow more easily in the vertical direction than in the horizontal direction, which can lead to a whole line of vertical exposures that are bright, creating strange vertical stripes. This is one of the drawbacks of blah blah blah net CCDs.

Can an influencer CCD be used as an electronic antique?
After being exposed to CCD’s promotional sales methods, the word “electronic antiques” came to my mind, and there were some “antique grade electronic products” that were behind the times and had achieved the price of conventional antiques. Such electronic antiques, like normal antiques, have a certain scarcity, and some people have given them some historical or commemorative significance, but there is almost no practicality to speak of. It’s like no one has gone out of their way to bid millions to auction an antique vase for flower arrangement.

Not all used electronic products can be equivalent to “electronic antiques”, and looking at the various such products sold in the overseas second-hand market, it is basically appropriate to have a certain historical significance, and it also needs to have a certain scarcity. There are some CCDs that are indeed cross-era products, and there are indeed some manufacturers that have really worked hard in terms of functional innovation and durability, and it is understandable to buy these cameras as feelings and commemorations, but there are very few CCDs on the market that are related to the definition of electronic antiques.

If you look at the definition of “electronic antique”, in fact, CCD is very similar to the mobile phone design of major mobile phone manufacturers back then. The appearance is also very retro, and some models also have some black technology that is ahead of the times. For example, infrared fingerprint recognition back then, Nokia’s oversole-out photography phone, turning the camera to deform into a small DV and so on. In that era of mobile phone design, there were many designs and strange functions.

Using CCD in this era is like using 2G mobile phones in the 5G era, which can no longer meet people’s daily needs. This is exactly how I feel when using vintage CCDs, which are very different from today’s cameras and similar products. If you come back with the attitude of buying a toy camera, you may still get some surprises, but if you want to learn photography through CCD, it is definitely not advisable.

Now the premium for ordinary CCDs has also reached an exaggerated point, and some merchants refurbish fifty yuan a pound of scrap iron CCDs on the shelves, hanging out prices much higher than their own value, deceiving consumers. After the concept of CCD was brought on fire by stars, more businesses imitated and copied the design of the former big factory, hanging out 48 million pixels of promotional slogans, which is actually inferior to the driving recorder. Because of the cheap price and similar appearance, many innocent whites who have not completely entered the pit have been deceived.

Today, whether on mobile phones or digital cameras, CMOS sensors are now fully integrated into modern life. For these Internet celebrity CCDs that have almost no use value, while nostalgic for the past of that era, let them be slowly forgotten in the long river of time over time.