Wide Format Scanning

What are CCD & CIS, And How Do They Differ?

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When it comes to wide format scanners, two common types of image sensor technologies are used: CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) and CIS (Contact Image Sensor). Let’s compare and contrast these two technologies to understand their differences and applications:

CCD (Charge-Coupled Device):


CCD scanners use an array of tiny light-sensitive elements (pixels) to capture images typically utilizing cameras. Each pixel captures light and converts it into an electrical charge, which is then converted into a digital image.

Image Quality:

CCD technology is known for its excellent image quality, especially when it comes to color accuracy, sharpness, and capturing fine details. It provides a wide dynamic range, producing high-quality scans with accurate color reproduction.

Light Sensitivity:

CCD sensors are more sensitive to light, making them suitable for scanning dense or dark originals, such as blueprints, maps, and architectural & engineering drawings. They can handle a wider range of paper types and materials.

Depth of Field:

CCD scanners offer a larger depth of field, meaning they can capture sharp images even when the original document is not perfectly flat or has variations in thickness.

Power Consumption:

CCD scanners tend to consume more power than CIS scanners due to the complexity of their sensor technology.


CCD scanners are typically more expensive compared to CIS scanners, mainly due to their advanced image quality capabilities.

CIS (Contact Image Sensor):


CIS scanners use a linear array of red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) combined with a sensor to capture images. The light emitted from the LEDs illuminates the document, and the sensor detects the reflected light to create a digital image.  This is similar to the technology utilized in facsimile machines.

Image Quality:

While CIS technology has improved over the years, it generally provides good image quality for most scanning applications. However, it may not match the color accuracy and sharpness offered by CCD technology, especially for more demanding or professional-level scanning tasks.  We like to say that, “what you see is what you get” with scanners that utilize CIS technology.

Compact Design:

CIS scanners are typically more compact and lightweight compared to CCD scanners. Their slim design makes them more portable and easier to fit into tight spaces.

Energy Efficiency:

CIS scanners tend to be more energy-efficient, consuming less power compared to most CCD scanners. This can be beneficial for businesses aiming to reduce energy consumption and operating costs.


CIS scanners are generally more affordable compared to CCD scanners, making them a popular choice for businesses with budget constraints or basic scanning needs.

In summary, CCD technology offers superior image quality, light sensitivity, and a larger depth of field but come at a higher price point. CIS technology provides good image quality, compact design, energy efficiency, and affordability. The choice between CCD and CIS technology depends on your specific requirements, budget, and the level of image quality and features you prioritize for your scanning tasks and projects.

Have more questions about this technology, call one of our printing or scanning experts at (602) 224-9971 or contact us now, we’re happy to help!

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