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Bye Bye CCD

Of the total 1.7bn image sensors shipped this year, CCDs will represent only 9.8% – down from 11.4% percent in 2009, says iSuppli.

CCD sensors are expected to make up only 4.7% of the 2014 market.

CMOS image sensors will expand their unit share of the market to 90.2% from 88.6% in 2009.

“While CCDs long had been thought of as a superior technology for image quality, CMOS technology has made great strides in recent years and narrowed the technology gap,” says Pamela Tufegdzic at iSuppli, “furthermore, CMOS sensors use fewer components, consume less power and are cheaper to manufacture.”

Although CMOS has been the mainstream technology for some time now in handsets and high-end digital cameras called DSLRs, CMOS penetration continues to increase in lower-end, point-and-shoot digital still cameras—a traditional CCD stronghold.

CMOS sensors are gaining traction in compact cameras and camcorders from brand-name manufacturers that used CCDs for those products in the past—such as Canon, Sony, Samsung Electronics, Eastman Kodak, Casio and JVC.

The migration to CMOS from CCD will continue unabated for point-and-shoot cameras. By next year, the proportion of point-and-shoot models using CMOS will climb to 24%, up from 14& in 2009.

The shift to CMOS among DSLR cameras is occurring faster: By 2014, 99 percent of DSLR models will use CMOS sensors.

Invented in 1969 by Bell Labs, the CCD was commercialised by Sony.

Sony founder Akio Morita’s brother-in-law Kazuo  Iwama., then President of Sony America, visited Bell Labs and became fascinated by the device.

In 1972, Iwama returned to Japan to be deputy president of Sony and Morita’s anointed successor.

The following year he started a project to work on CCDs with the aim of developing it to the point where it could be used to capture images in a consumer video camera.

It was much more difficult than anyone had imagined. The project dragged on, and on. At every board meeting Iwama was asked: “When are you going to get a return on the investment in CCD?” His invariable response was: “Maybe not while I’m alive.”

He was right. In 1985 Sony produced the first camcorder using a CCD.

Iwama had died in 1982.

The CCD camcorder was a huge success. Sony made a killing in a market it had all to itself for over a year.

Iwama was accorded an unusual tribute. In the granite tombstone on his grave there is embedded a CCD


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