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CCD sensor look and feel vs latest CMOS etc...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by tomO2013, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    I was just looking at Robin Wongs post here - going back in time with the E1 http://robinwong.blogspot.ca/2014/05/olympus-e-1-taking-step-back-in-time.html

    Robin is a fantastic photographer and I feel that he can make any camera look good - but I tend to agree with him on one thing. CCD has a certain colour rendering that I really like and can't put my finger on. While the sensor technology is years old on the E1 and todays E-M1's etc.. are light years more technically advanced in every metric of scientifically measured image quality, I still find something very attractive and as Robin described 'pleasing' about the look of the images from the E1. It's entirely subjective... clearly I go against the grain in a lot of things....

    Don't misunderstand me though.... I can play around with the colour in Photoshop/Lightroom with any camera to get it to the way I like and I quite like Olympus colour signature out of camera - part of the reason why I bought it. I also have no interest in going back in time and handing back the excellent high ISO performance that we get todays CMOS chips and IBIS. All I am getting at is that the out of camera colour experience from the Olympus CCD DSLR's are somewhat beautiful to my subjective eyes that I could find little to improve or do with the images that Robin is showing :)  Maybe it would be nice if instead of art filters, Olympus baked in colour profiles that matched some of their older cameras like the E-1 and E-5.....

    I was just wondering if anybody else here felt the same way.

  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's been long acknowledged that CCD sensors do produce what many consider 'nicer' results. Pretty much all medium format sensors have been CCD, with some of the newer ones I believe moving to CMOS. I've always liked the images from the E-1 when it comes to the tonality and colour.
  3. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Keep in mind that CCDs crush blacks a lot more than CMOS. Dynamic range tends to be tighter on CCD sensors. Going back through my older camera RAW images that used CCD sensors, it's pretty evident.

    Lots of people had major issues with the colour the E-1 produced. But over time, with new cameras coming along and not being all that much different, the E-1 didn't really look all that shabby. My D100 was a weird camera colour-wise, but really, it was just contrasty and tended towards very dark blues and reds. That's not so much just the sensor, but mainly whatever "secret sauce" the camera makers picked for their colour palettes.

    The first Canon 1D was CCD based - and it had fairly narrow DR and pretty rich colour. Everything seemed crushed close to black.

    My Canon 20d was the first camera I owned where I considered it's look to be rather "pale" and "diffuse". Maybe it was the CMOS sensor, maybe it was just the way Canon read the data.

    All in all though, I find my E-M1 files "look" more like my older CCD images than the Canon stuff. The colour is richer, with an added bonus that the files can be torn apart in post far more than my Canon files could.
  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    I still have my E-1. It feels SOO big and heavy compared to M43 though. I loved that camera though. It still holds up well...as long as you don't have to push ISO.
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The funny thing is that CCD sensors have always been considered superior, but it's the power draw and production costs, in the main, that have given favour to CMOS. There's lots of technical documentation available: http://www.axis.com/products/video/camera/ccd_cmos.htm.
  6. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    One thing I do not miss: Having to white-card calibrate those ginormous Panasonic "Reporter" video cameras. Those things were beasts. They used to get so hot that your neck would sweat.
  7. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Well, I remember the big thing being how CMOS had tremendous random-pattern noise. Whereas CCD lent itself well to various fixed-pattern noise reduction techniques like dark-frame subtraction, it took a while before CMOS sensors were quiet enough to work the same way.
  8. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I still have a couple of D3000s that I love for shooting in bright light because I like the signature CCD look. Being the absolute last CCD DSLR Nikon produced, they don't have bad DR compared to many CMOS cameras, they do about 11.2 EV, 1 stop less than an EM5. Apart from less cartoonish colors, I find the images are sharper. Past ISO 400 though and it's game over.
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I feel the opposite. The only 2 cameras I really struggled to get good colors with had CCDs - the Olympus E-1 and the Kodak SLR/n. I couldn't be happier with the move to CMOS...
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    The D3000 had great SOOC pictures. In fact the D3100 in comparison was absolutely horrible.
  11. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Keep in mind two changes happened at about the same time - CCD to CMOS and narrow spectrum CFAs to wider spectrum CFAs. Image processing is very complicated and perceptions are subjective but in many cases it seems when people pine for the CCD "look" and say a given CMOS sensor has color like a CCD that what is really at play is narrower spectrum CFAs. I believe the Sony A900 is a good example of this. Identical sensor to what was in the Nikon but different CFA passbands.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    Yeah. Ken Rockwell trashed the D3000 for various reasons other than IQ. It took nikon a while to get back on track but the D5100 made up for the D3100.
  13. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    I really liked the jpegs from my D60. I believe that was the same sensor as the D3000, 40x and D200.

    Within DR limits the Fuji F11 was another favourite. It took me a while to find a replacement but that was the Canon S95 with another nice crisp CCD chip. It's taken a while for me to warm to CMOS sensors and I'm still not sure about the 2nd generation Olympus :43: look.
  14. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    I think the CCD sensor is one reason I like my XZ-1 so much. Colors in daylight are beautiful. I noticed the Canon S95, with CCD, seemed to take photos that were more striking than those from the CMOS-sensing S100.

    I think we enthusiasts may have gone overboard in demanding greater dynamic range from our cameras. A bit less range, and more contrast, can look very nice. I've been shooting film lately, too, and not missing all the shadow detail.
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