Digital Camera: When it comes to selecting a camera, the main factor that determines the production of high-quality images is independent of the maker, the type of lens, the inclusion of touch screen capabilities, or the magnitude of the screen.

Fujifilm X-S10

The main focus is not placed on the importance of the available options and preset shooting setups for users. It’s that little rectangular [yes, almost every time] hole that sits in the middle of the digital camera inside the round embossed figure and has shining elements. It’s called the sensor.

In this fascinating article, we will look at some of the remarkable technology found inside machine vision cameras—that’s right, image sensor technology! But what exactly is an image sensor, and how does it relate to the classifications of these cameras? Let’s dive in and find out!

Sensors and Image Quality – Intro

First off, we all wonder (at least initially) how cameras capture these amazing images. Well, it’s all thanks to image sensors! Image sensors are small semiconductor devices that can convert light into digital signals. This means they convert the light that is focused on them by lenses into a form that can be stored by computers or used for further processing. Pretty cool stuff!

In a mirrorless digital camera, the sensor plays a vital role in converting optical images into digital data. Through the fascinating process of converting light into electrical signals, the sensor enables the camera to capture stunning images. Similar to the intriguing behavior of the “bashful Mimosa” plant, the sensor should be treated delicately, avoiding any physical contact.

This precautionary measure ensures the sensor remains unaffected and maintains its optimal performance. Just as the “touch me not” plant responds to external stimuli, the sensor in a mirrorless camera requires careful handling to preserve its sensitive nature and capture the magic of the visual world.

The sensor is responsible for transforming optical images into digital versions. The conversion of light into electrical signals is what allows for a transformation to create magic. Ultimately resulting in the development of a component known as a sensor. It is crucial to avoid any form of physical contact with the sensor. The idea shares resemblances with the botanical phenomenon known as the “bashful Mimosa” plant [ya, it’s like a “touch me not” kind of thing].

The number of pixels, size of pixels, pixel per millimeter square (sensor dimensions are normally in mm2), quality, architecture, size, and make-up of the image sensor, combined with the lens and image processor, play a massive part in the image quality produced by the camera.

When it comes to sensor classification, you have a variety of options to choose from—it’s like a Chinese buffet for your photography needs! There’s CCD or CMOS technology for those seeking an uncomplicated dish. Monochromatic or multi-colour options for the rainbow chasers Rolling or global shutter mechanisms for those who like their shutter speeds extra snappy.

And then there’s resolution, frame rate, pixel dimensions, and specific sensor selection for the picky eaters. In the end, decisions must be made carefully; one wrong move and your photos might look like a mess.

Digital Camera – Sensors

By now, we know camera sensors are the “light-sensitive components” that capture light and convert it into an electrical signal. When it comes to machine vision cameras, these image sensors play a major role in how these cameras are classified.

For example, monochrome cameras use just one channel of information from an image sensor, while color cameras use three of them—red, green, and blue—to create a full-color image. There are two main types of camera sensors.

  • CCD (charge-coupled device) – Known as “Global shutter” as it exposes all the pixels at the same time
    • Electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD)
  • CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor). – Known as “Rolling shutter” as it exposes one-pixel row at a time.
    • Back-illuminated CMOS – Have a reputation as better the CMOS

The size of the sensor affects the field of view and depth of field of a camera, with larger sensors generally producing better image quality.

The resolution of the sensor is measured in megapixels, which indicate the number of pixels that make up the sensor. More megapixels do not necessarily mean better image quality; other factors such as the size of the sensor, image processor, and lens quality also play important roles.

Resolution – More Pixels or Bigger Pixels

Higher resolution does not always produce sharp images, so in short, higher resolution does not translate directly to the sharpness of the image. How much you can zoom into the image without losing the details is very subjective.

Having the same sensor size, architecture, type, and quality as the first set of tools, we can look at the question of more pixels or bigger pixels. In my opinion and based on my personal experience with full frame and APS-C cameras, it is advisable to customize one’s photography approach according to the intended result, taking into account my firsthand experience with both full frame and APS-C cameras.

The central point of discussion when assessing two different groups of instruments that share the same sensor dimensions, setup, quality, and type is whether having a higher pixel density or a bigger pixel size is more relevant and advantageous. It’s a matter of what output you want,

  • Street, landscape, or architecture: go for bigger pixels (of course, there are some considerations and the correct balance).
  • Portrait, sports, and animal kingdom: go for more pixels; again, correct balance (pixels per mm2), depth of field, and lighting can’t be ignored.


What resolution Do I Need for My Images?

The basic elements of the exposure triangle to obtain the best quality to compose the image have three parts. The vital trio of photography, comprised of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, makes up the three core elements. Before answering that question, there are many questions that need to be answered before demanding the quality of the image, i.e., some of the questions like those below.

  • What are you photographing?
  • How is it being displayed?
  • Who is viewing it ?
  • From what distance the image will be viewed?
  • If you plan to print then mind the dpi (dots per inch) otherwise mindful of PPI(pixels per inch)

You cannot forget the lens and its performance, especially on the edges (assuming the center performance of almost all lenses is good enough, if not excellent). These are the sorts of things you need to first ask yourself if you’re to answer the above question.

Some calculations are as below

Most digital cameras have the ability to adjust these three variables. SLR cameras provide advanced manipulation of photographic settings, allowing photographers to adjust each parameter for optimal lighting in their desired shot. So there you have it: a brief introduction to image sensor technology and its role in classifying machine vision cameras. Amazing stuff, indeed!

Points to Note:

All credits, if any, remain with the original contributor. We have covered the importance of camera sensors (type, size, etc.) in our basic explanations. Mega Pixels (Camera Resolution) and factors around them and their relationship with sensors at a high level of understanding The next upcoming post will talk about AI in photography.

Feedback & Further Question

Do you have any questions about photography, machine learning, or big data? Leave a comment or ask your question via email. I will try my best to answer it.

Books + Other Readings Referred

  • Open Internet – Research Papers and ebooks
  • Personal hand on work on data & experience of  @AILabPage members
  • Book – Basics of Imaging

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Posted by V Sharma

A Technology Specialist boasting 22+ years of exposure to Fintech, Insuretech, and Investtech with proficiency in Data Science, Advanced Analytics, AI (Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Deep Learning), and Blockchain (Trust Assessment, Tokenization, Digital Assets). Demonstrated effectiveness in Mobile Financial Services (Cross Border Remittances, Mobile Money, Mobile Banking, Payments), IT Service Management, Software Engineering, and Mobile Telecom (Mobile Data, Billing, Prepaid Charging Services). Proven success in launching start-ups and new business units - domestically and internationally - with hands-on exposure to engineering and business strategy. "A fervent Physics enthusiast with a self-proclaimed avocation for photography" in my spare time.


  1. […] Digital Camera Image Sensors & Image Quality […]


  2. Andrew Mora at

    Wow, this blog post gave me a whole new perspective on digital camera image sensors and image quality! Understanding the technology behind it helps me appreciate the capabilities of my smartphone camera even more. With my mobile phone case, I can capture high-quality images that truly showcase the power of modern sensor technology.


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