I heard multiple times that cameras with CCD (I am talking about consumer DSLR) produce more lively or simply more pleasant colours.

I think it's a myth but it's not clear to me how much basis it has and how it was born.

What is the truth and the story behind this myth?

  • Hint for researching this further: At least some DSLR-grade CCD sensors (eg ICX483AQA) are known to have multiple output channels hardwired to a given filter pixel color, leaving no room for color-related misunderstandings to happen in demosaicing. Not sure what the state of the art is regarding that issue with current CMOS.... Jan 9, 2019 at 16:28
  • @rackandboneman I am referring to DSLR, actually. I edited
    – FarO
    Jan 9, 2019 at 17:31
  • At the time, I was impressed with the color coming out of fuji’s Spro lineup (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_CCD) but it’s very old tech at this point. Not sure how it would fare against a current cmos.
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 9, 2019 at 17:46
  • I suspect but can't provide any evidence that color filters have gotten weaker over the years to get better sensitivity. Jan 9, 2019 at 23:02
  • 1
    I remember it from the past, but I found this: dpreview.com/forums/post/61223311 Maybe the weakening of color filters was the reason I heard that newer sensors (=CMOS) have poorer colors.
    – FarO
    Jan 10, 2019 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


The CCD or CMOS pixels just store voltage corresponding to brightness. The color is added by colored filters placed over the pixels, to make them correspond to red, blue or green. The exact color filtered depends on the filter used.

  • I know, that's why I asked about the origin of the myth...
    – FarO
    Jan 9, 2019 at 17:31
  • Color is not added by the filters any more than color is added to a B&W photo by placing a color filter in front of it. Color is added by the demosaicing routine when the monochromatic raw data is processed.
    – Michael C
    Jan 10, 2019 at 3:36
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    That's a petty distinction, once again just making a stink for its own sake. The filters do separate out values for each color. Bayer is an arrangement of the filtered sensor pixels identified by RGB names. Any Bayer description clearly shows the sensor pixel colors, it is purely about color then. Demosaicing also identifies the individually filtered Bayer RGGB pixels to be named RGB colors, same names as I did. Demosaicing simply reformats the sensor colors, averaging 4 pixels each of individual RGGB colors into resulting image pixels each with 3 RGB components (interpolated from neighbors).
    – WayneF
    Jan 10, 2019 at 15:14

As explained in DPreview forums, which refers to an interview with Lau Norgaard, VP of R&D at camera manufacturer Phase One, in particular at 6:30, manufacturer's have weakened CFAs in modern cameras to achieve higher ISO at the expense of color fidelity. Colors today are less pure.

So the difference between CMOS and CCD does not depend on the sensor itself, but on marketing/design choices only related to color filters. CCD sensor cameras may have purer colours because they are... older.

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