How A Camera CCD Works [Video]

When snapping digital photos with our cameras and phones, it’s easy to forget what’s actually happening inside to get the light from your subject into the camera, and then up on its way to Instagram. So, if you ever wondered how a CCD sensor actually works, and how light is turned into electricity and shifted off the sensor, watch this great video by Engineer Guy Bill Hammack.

You probably know that light sensitive pixels create a charge when hit by light. The trick is getting the charge off the sensor chip and into the camera’s computer. Instead of using wires, a CCD works more like a game of Connect 4 aka Four In A Line.

Imagine your Connect Four game is full of counters. If you could carefully open the bottom and only let the first row drop out, the other rows would all drop down by one line, intact. This is exactly how the CCD does it, only instead of plastic disks it shifts electrical charges.

And that’s it — ingenious and simple, just like most clever solutions. I sure learned something today. Thanks, Engineer Guy!

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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