As many have heard by now, ON Semiconductor has decided to exit the CCD business. ON Semiconductor acquired the Kodak CCD product line and fab from Truesense about five years ago. All orders for ON Semi CCDs must placed by March, 2020.
We are working to ensure a supply of popular ON Semi CCD sensors sufficient for our needs in 2020. However, there will be some camera price increases as ON Semi has also raised their sensor prices. Currently we are holding the line on pricing of our highest-volume CCD cameras, but that will change as we consume the supply of sensors that we acquired at the old prices.
While we will continue to stock popular sensors, cameras indicated as special order items will become unavailable at the end of February, 2020.
If you are considering a CCD camera using an ON Semi sensor, please act now.
We will, of course, continue to offer the highest-performance CCD technology from other manufacturers. Our very popular SONY CCD-based Aluma 694 and Aluma 814 astrophotography cameras are unaffected, as are our E2V-based Aluma 47-10 and Aluma 77-00 research cameras. These CCDs are some of the best image sensors ever manufactured, producing stunning images like Tony Hallas’ M31 shot shown here. We will be adding several new high-performance CCD models over the coming months.
At the same time, we will be expanding our CMOS offerings. Currently we utilize CMOS sensors only for OEM applications.
Although CMOS has made huge advancements in the last few years, CCDs are still better in many aspects of long-exposure performance. Many CMOS sensors suffer from bad “amp glow”, which not just saturates the sensor quickly but results in added photon shot noise. Most CMOS sensors also have more limited dynamic range than CCD (e.g. 10-bit or 12-bit versus 16-bit).
Fortunately CMOS technology continues to mature; new and better sensor products are becoming available all the time. We will offer sensors that meet the demanding requirements of long exposure imaging applications such as astronomy and fluorescence imaging.
In the next few weeks we will be announcing some new products, including a couple of models that are already in production and ready to launch.