CMOS vs CCD

    While the launch of the Red and its quick progress to 5K acquisition has had many traditional camera manufacturers stumped, some like Thomson are now beginning to hit back by questioning some of the technology used in this camera.

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    While the launch of the Red and its quick progress to 5K acquisition has had many traditional camera manufacturers stumped, some like Thomson are now beginning to hit back by questioning some of the technology used in this camera.

    In a recent article on The Future of Television Camera, Production Klaus Weber of Thomson, for instance, questions the technical challenges of working with a CMOS sensor – which is used in the Red -- as opposed to the CCDs that manufacturers have traditionally used in cameras.

    “It is generally accepted that CMOS sensors need a mask that is 20 times finer than the required pixel size. A 1080p sensor in a 2/3-inch camera has an individual pixel size of 5µm square, which means the mask has to be 0.25µm x 0.25µm, a level that has only been achieved in the last few years,” he stated.

    He went on to add that building a 4K CMOS sensor “would cost you at least a couple of stops down in sensitivity”.

    “That would require throwing a lot more light at any production — directors would hate the restrictions, and producers would hate the additional costs. The financial and creative price is simply too high for 4K CMOS to be a viable option."

    Whether that is true or not, we do know that, at IBC, the Red camera did indeed attract a huge gathering at its stand. It may have something to do with the manufacturer’s philosophy to build a camera that would never get outdated.

    Vijaya Cherian is the editor of Digital Studio.

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