In this online scavenger hunt I researched the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between CCD and CMOS?
  2. Define resolution in relation to digital camera technology when determining a Cameras Mega Pixel.
  3. What types of cameras do you have at home?

What is the difference between CCD and CMOS?

Digital cameras have become particularly common as the prices have come down. One of the reasons behind the decreasing prices has been the implementation of CMOS image sensors.

The medium used to record the images at a digital camera is a light sensor or chip which absorbs light particles converting them into electrical charges. The most common sensors in digital cameras are CCD and CMOS. CCD (charge coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensors are two different technologies for capturing images digitally.

Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)


  • CMOS sensors are cheaper and easier to produce
  • they are more energy efficient, needing less electricity to power them and generating less heat
  • smaller system size is needed
  • one charge-to-voltage converter per pixel


  • CMOS sensors are more susceptible to noise.
  • CMOS sensors can scan and offload their footage quicker, making CMOS a more appropriate choice for high-speed cameras, for example.

Charge Coupled Device (CCD)


  • Creates high-quality, low-noise images
  • Higher light sensitivity translates into better images in low light conditions.


  • More expensive to produce and more complex to incorporate into a camera.
  • Analog components require more electronic circuitry outside the sensor. CCDs consume as much as 100 times more power than an equivalent CMOS sensor.
  • One charge-to-voltage converter per sensor

Based on these differences, CCD sensors tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS sensors traditionally have lower quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity. CMOS sensors are just now improving to the point where they reach near parity with CCD devices in some applications. CMOS cameras are usually less expensive and have great battery life.

What is a Pixel?

Pixels are also known as the Picture Element. A digital image is made up of many pixels. The higher the pixel count within a digital image, the sharper the image. Digital cameras that produce a higher pixel count generally produce better images making them more suitable for enlargements or allowing more possibility for image cropping.

Example of pixels. Shows a zoomed section of an image to demonstrate how it is made up of pixels.

What is a Megapixel?

A megapixel consist of one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and camera phones is often measured in megapixel.

What is a Resolution?

Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a display or in a camera sensor. Higher resolution means more pixels, which provides the ability to capture more detail and clarity. Example: A camera with a 3 megapixel (3 million pixels) resolution can capture more detail than a camera with 1 megapixel resolution.