How do superfast cameras work?

Question from Phoebe Sims

A superfast camera is an electronic device that uses a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) active pixel sensor. The sensor is so sensitive to light that it doesn’t need to be exposed to it for as long as it would need to be in a typical camera, and is therefore able to record a huge amount of light at a superfast speed.

This means that the camera is capable of recording more than 1,000 frames per second into dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). It can then play the images back slowly.

Answered by Sarah Bankes for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 97.

To feature in our Brain Dump section, send us your questions to or message us on Facebook or Twitter

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!