An Introduction to and Brief History of Digital Imaging Sensor Technologies

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Photokina 2010 Leica M9 CCD Sensor

When the first digital cameras (that were actually interesting to consumers) came up in the nineties, the main technology used for their imaging sensors was the CCD technology. In order to be able to record color information, digital imaging sensors were (and still are) typically equipped with a so-called Bayer pattern color filter. With the advance of technology, another type of sensor started to emerge: the CMOS. Today, CMOS sensors have replaced CCD sensors in most types of digital cameras. But besides these two, there are other types of sensors as well–some of which only existed for a short time, or even only as patents. In this article, we want to take a look at the different types of digital imaging sensors, and explain their technological peculiarities.

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Panasonic’s New Sensor Technology Does Away with Color Filter, Gains One Stop Sensitivity


Panasonic just published a press release in which the company states that it has patented a new sensor technology that effectively gains a stop of light sensitivity by doing away with the color filter. The idea is not new–in the past, people had their cameras modified to be monochrome only by taking away the color filter array. The same has been done with the Leica M Monochrom, which effectively boosted its base ISO from 160 to 320. However, Panasonic’s new technology doesn’t leave the camera ‘color blind’. Quite on the contrary.

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