Friday, June 24, 2011

A quick look at the cameras ~

It's pretty clear that the only practical way to get successful intraoral images is with a digital SLR camera, using a quality macro lens and a ringflash. This combination provides maximum image quality (color & sharpness, depth-of-field, and so on) that is not obtainable with a "point & shoot" camera.
This does not mean that you're stuck with having to buy an expensive, top-of-the-line camera. Far from it. Both Canon and Nikon produce excellent digital SLR cameras for under $1000: the Rebel XSi or T3i from Canon; the D3100 or D5100 from Nikon, for example. And there are others. I usually recommend Canon to dentists who are unfamiliar with digital photography as I find they're easier to navigate.

One of the great advantages of the digital SLR is the large lens selection. Macro lenses in particular make successful intraoral photography possible. These are amazingly sharp lenses that will provide crystal clear color-accurate images at up to a 1:1 magnification, but are also versatile enough to be great for everything else, too -- including portraits. My recommendation is the slightly longer Macro lenses like the Nikon AF 105 or the Canon EF 100.  Being slightly longer than their 60mm or 50mm counterparts, they provide the same degree of magnification but at a slightly further distance, making it possible to use a ringflash for perfect (and consistent) illumination of the entire intraoral spectrum.

A ringflash makes for a complete photography system.  Since the camera-to-subject distance using a macro lens is usually very short, any source of illumination other than a ringflash won't go where you need it! The ringflash, attached directly on the end of the macro lens, will place the light accurately and evenly on the subject: a close-up of the central anteriors, a tightly focused lateral or quad, or an extremely close shot of the #2 molar. All done simply and automatically, as these devices are all TTL ("through-the-lens") automatic strobes. Great examples of these are the Canon MR-14 Ringflash, Nikon's R1 Speedlight, and others  from Metz and Sigma.

This is just a brief, quick overview. There's so much to talk about, and of course new models of digital SLR's come about regularly. Further posts will concentrate more deeply on particular items.

What have you been using?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Hello & welcome to DMD Digital Photo's blog! My hope is that we can provide practical information on the techniques and technology involved in successful intraoral and extraoral photography. And of course, the real attraction of a blog such as this the opportunity to interact with you. I hope you will share your questions, your experiences, and your images.

Over the course of future posts, look forward to discussions on many topics that involve us in dental photography: different kinds of digital cameras, camera settings, shade-matching, macro lenses, ringflashes, file formation, emailing images, computer & printing issues, and much more. I would also encourage you to submit your ideas for discussions as well.

Feel free to post your comments or images here, and you're always welcome to email me directly whenever you'd like:

Many thanks, and happy shooting!