Start taking pictures
I want to start taking dental pictures. What equipment do I have to get? Is the camera the thing that matters the most? Or is it the eye behind the lens the thing that really matters. We can say that both things are important, but you can start taking high quality pictures without spending all your money.
An original article by Jon Gurrea and Jordi Manauta
What equipment do I buy? Oh, and I’m new into the photography world.
Many dentists pose this question to their colleagues. If your usual camera for any other purpose is the one in the cellular phone or if your last camera used film, you need to get back on track!
There are many camera companies but we are going to reduce the options to the ones with a bigger expand of accessories, lenses, flashes and other gadgets for dental photography, which is actually macro-photography.
First of all, we think that when we want to buy a camera body, which is in fact the less important thing we have to care of. Lenses and flashes are the most important devices you have to buy. In other words, don’t spend most of your money on the camera body and leave a little for your flash and lens. Your camera body will be obsolete in a few years while your macro lens and the flashes will last much longer in most cases.
We’ll take you through a little article that will help you choose the following:
Form the professional and the economical point of view.
1. THE MACRO LENS
A macro lens is mandatory in dental photography. The lenses with the flower symbol are not valid at all. Get a proper macro lens. For Canon there are three major options, the 60mm and the 100mm macro lenses by Canon and the 105mm Sigma Lens.
The 100mm macro lens is the #1 option for a dentist. Yes it is heavier but the image is more true to life. The 60mm macro lens produces some compression due to a slight “fish eye” effect.
The 60mm macro lens allows you to make portraits not being too far from the patient, but when it comes to take intra-oral pictures you can be really close to the patient, almost touching him. Therefore we could reduce the use of 60mm macro lens to the orthodontists whose intra.oral pictures are never a 1:1.
2. THE FLASH
A ring flash (MT-14 EX for Canon) and the (EM-140 DG for both canon and nikon) is the most versatile and easiest flash you can buy. But the image quality is usually poor, with a strong white spot in the middle. But he pictures are generally well illuminated and for the posterior segments, especially when using mirrors, the Canon ring flash is a good choice. But dont expect to make the most beautiful shots. Nikon SB-29 and similar are discontinued, those were exceptional ring flashes as well, if you have the chance to put your hands in one unit, just be sure that the TTL works with your camera.
The twin flash by Canon (MT-14 EX) and the twin flash by Nikon (R1 and R1C1) are the flashes you may use for your anterior shots. The classic twin flash by Canon, yes it has wires but works beautifully and you can take excellent pictures, the twin flash by nikon is wireless.
Finally you may feel cooler and think that need to move desperately to the cooler side. Then youll find the new 270 EX II wireless flash, you can buy two and use a bracket like the one offered by Photomed and take pictures as if you were using the classic twin flash.
Using twin flashes and a bracket allow you to set up your twin flashes as close as possible to the lenses and have a completely functional ring flash.
The same situation captured with lateral flashes and bouncers, these kind of picture are more artistic, enhance better the morphology of the teeth and may not be the best for color communication.
3. THE CAMERA BODY
Finally we get to the point you have been waiting for. In order to get a decent DSLR camera body we have to realize that we dont need to get a full-frame semi-professional camera. Just with a good body it will be enough.
The cheaper option for our purposes, yet having enough quality would be the Canon 700D or the Nikon D90, probably the most economic and versatile DSRL cameras. You can take pictures in both JPEG and RAW (which should be mandatory) and also shoot video.
The more expensive (not being a really expensive full frame camera), would be nowadays the 70D and the Nikon D7100 (the queens of the crop sensor), with excellent image resolution and more AF points to focus the image (not a really interesting feature in the dental field), the pictures are very high definition in both cameras.
Please do not buy a full frame.
Now you have chosen your equipment, and you are ready to go. Next stop, setting up your camera and shooting!
This is what we can do with a D90 camera and the twin flashes with different set-ups, the possibilities are endless.