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CIS vs CCD Scanning Technology: Definition and Comparision

Ngoc Lee
CIS vs CCD Scanning Technology: Definition and Comparision
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Large format scanning is increasingly vital for architecture, engineering, and construction firms. While CAD software revolutionizes document management, older flat-file drawings pose a challenge. Many opt for a big format scanner, but choosing between CIS and CCD scanning is perplexing. Both have merits, but the decision hinges on application specifics. Continue reading to compare CCD and CIS scanning technologies and decide which is best for you.

What is CCD Scanning Technology?

Charged Coupled Device is referred to as CCD. Essentially, CCD is the identical image sensor type that can be found in an older digital camera. To compress the entire picture onto the sensor, CCD utilizes a real lens. 

CIS vs CCD Scanning Technology
CIS vs CCD Scanning Technology

This method is great for collecting details with a very high resolution and an enlarged color space. CCD scanners are frequently chosen when the best picture quality is crucial. The CCD scanner is the preferred scanner for greater resolution graphics as well as artistic applications due to its exquisite detail. 

However, it is also typical to see CCD-type big format scanners being utilized for AEC or technical scanning. A deeper depth of field is an extra advantage of CCD scanning. If you want to scan several folded documents, this is useful. Fold lines can be somewhat reduced in appearance in the scanned file by employing CCD technology in the scanning application. “Mounted" or thick originals can also be digitalized using CCD scanners. 

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4 benefits of CCD Scanning Technology

Here are 4 key advantages to thinking about a scanner employing CCD tech:

Flexibility and Image Quality

Flexibility is key
Flexibility is key

The CCD scanning technology offers high-quality scans for virtually all types of paper that may theoretically fit through the feed roll aperture. CCD scanning takes a grayscale of 16 bits from hand-drawn technical drawings, B&W pictures, or maps that are part of your original documents (64,000 shades of grey). 

This method creates a picture that is significantly crisper and clearer by using a separate monochrome channel. In contrast, CIS scanners can only give a grayscale of 8-bit image (256 shades). There are certain restrictions on this, such as with full-bleed illustrations and instant copies printers with 8 to 12 colors. 

The CCD scanning technology will provide you with a significantly more dynamic range in the unique circumstances of blueprints with rigid edges, scanning GIS, newspapers, delicate papers, or mylar film, and is thus strongly advised.



CCD scanners snap pictures of originals that are placed face down. This is because the image sensors are positioned below the scanning face. Some claim that the feature of facing up scanning enables greater quality control, but user education is really the key. 

The majority of CIS scanners are designed to scan face-up; however, a face-down scan is neither more difficult nor less precise. CCD scanners have the capability of file transmission. These CCDs can make use of USB 3.0's full file-transfer capabilities. This ensures that users wait essentially instantaneously for file transfers between pictures. It follows that CCD is a superior option if overall speed is what you're looking for.

Color Fidelity

Color fidelity
Color fidelity

Due to the inherent technological advantage of camera-based innovation, the color gamut becomes noticeably bigger, color fidelity is greater, and image noise is reduced. Since cameras can capture up to 48-bit color, copying and printing to 8 or 12-color printers provide considerably better results than CIS. The intensity and the ability to identify fine gradients are better with CCD scanners.

Scanning of folded and thick materials

CCD scanning technology is able to scan mounted original series up to 0.60" thick, whereas (most) CIS cannot. The CIS technology's optics do not effectively picture elevated or uneven surfaces, which is the cause of this. The CIS fiber optic lens array does not offer a significant depth of field. 

Therefore, a CIS scan will show little features like fold marks. For best results, take into account a CCD scanner if your papers have wavy surfaces, like folded printouts.

Drawbacks of CCD Scanning Technology

  • Greater equipment fees
  • More delicate and complicated technology
  • Formal considerations are more important than CIS kinds
  • The need for digitally sewing together several picture fields is prevalent
  • Decreased optical resolution
  • Lens distortion might be a concern on occasion

What is CIS Scanning Technology?

The alternative scanning technology is called a Contact Imaging Sensor (or CIS). CIS technology utilizes several fiber optic lenses to transmit the original picture information to a variety of sensors as opposed to utilizing a regular lens to enlarge the initial image onto the sensor. 

Although CIS scanning technology is less costly than conventional CCD versions, there may be significant picture quality trade-offs, especially when scanning aerial photographs or maps. The maintenance required for a CIS system is significantly lower since there are no cameras to calibrate and the sensors are managed by software.

Benefits of CIS Scanning Technology

  • Cheap cost: The simplified design of CIS allows for cost savings in manufacturing, making it an economical choice for various applications.
  • Strong dependability: have fewer moving parts compared to other scanning technologies, such as CCD scanners. This reduction in mechanical components often leads to increased durability and less susceptibility to wear and tear, resulting in a more dependable scanning solution.
  • More streamlined: CIS scanners are generally more compact and lightweight compared to alternatives like CCD scanners
  • No sewing is necessary: Unlike some traditional scanners that require stitching multiple scans together to capture larger documents or images, CIS technology allows for seamless scanning without the need for stitching.
  • increased optical resolution: CIS scanners often provide high optical resolution, ensuring that the scanned images are detailed and sharp
  • Without lens distortion: Do not suffer from lens distortion issues that can affect other scanning technologies. This means that the scanned images accurately represent the original document or image without any unwanted distortions, ensuring a true and faithful reproduction.

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Drawbacks of CIS Scanning Technology

  • Responsive to the intensity of attention
  • LED light source results in a reduced signal/noise ratio

Why is CCD a Better Choice for Scanning Oversized Documents?

  • Low-noise, high-quality pictures are produced using CCD sensors.
  • More noise is often produced by CMOS.
  • CMOS sensors frequently have a reduced sensitivity to light.

Very little energy is used by CMOS sensors. They are excellent options for hand-held cameras because of this. However, CCDs use a lot more power yet create excellent photos. The power trade-off is irrelevant for CCD large-format scanners because they are stationary machines. In general, high-quality picture environments tend to yield superior results from CCDs. 

As a result, rather than switching to a CMOS sensor, scanner makers have stuck with their current technology. 

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CIS vs CCD Key Takeaway

Scanner CCD vs CIS
Scanner CCD vs CIS

If you deal with CAD or GIS graphics and wish to convert them to a digital format, you should give CIS some thought. It is unquestionably the more economical option, and the gap between CIS vs CCD scanning has shrunk thanks to new, potent software programs. However, you should really consider a CCD scanning tech if your quality needs are more stringent, such as with fine art or photographs. You will receive the most excellent image quality possible. Yes, the initial investment will be significantly more, but it will be well worth it in the long term. Hope you have a good time with Efex.

Ngoc LeeNgoc Lee is an Content Creator Manager at EFEX. She wields her long-term expertise in Logistics and Supply Chain, harnessing her top-notch writing and research skills to bring incredibly valuable content. Whether you're a small startup or a well-established enterprise, Ngoc Lee is here to equip you with the essential knowledge of e-commerce, fulfillment, and all things business-related.