5 Good Cameras for Dental Photography

Now to the real question: Which camera/flash/lens combination should I buy?

I’ll start off with what I think are simply THE standard lenses and flashes to get, as these won’t change much over time, even though the camera bodies will.

For Canon lenses (overall, more dentists use Canon than any other brand in my experience), you want EITHER the:

  1. Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens OR
  2. Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens

There is only 1 Canon ring-flash commonly used (while the twin-light flash is really nice, it’s trickier to learn and definitely more expensive), and that is the Canon MR-14EX ring flash.

For Nikon, the comparable lenses are:

  1. Nikon Telephoto AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm, OR
  2. Nikon Macro AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm

As far as I know (which is a lot less about Nikon that Canon, admittedly), Nikon does not make their own ring flash comparable to the Canon MR-14EX.  The one I’ve seen commonly recommended is the Sigma EM-140 DG TTL Macro Ring Flash for Nikon.

So does this mean that these are the ONLY combinations of DSLR lenses and flashes that you can get?  NOPE, not by a long shot!  However, they are the most common selections used by skilled dental photographers, and so….if you happen to need help from a colleague, it’s easiest to get help on these.  So rather than give out every single combination of lenses, bodies, and flashes that could be used, to keep it simple, these are the ones I recommend you consider.

Remember that the most important feature in the lens is it MUST BE A MACRO.  Otherwise, you will not be able to get close enough to the teeth to photograph them well.
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Now on to the Camera Bodies:

For Canon, as of today (12/18/2010), I recommend the Canon T2i for 1 very simple reason: not only does it have all the nice features necessary to take high-quality pictures, it ALSO has 1080p HD video recording capabilities.  And with the Internet rapidly becoming a major force in reaching both new and existing patients, video can be a powerful tool for influencing them; follow this link to see some of my patient testimonials on YouTube! The sheer convenience of having both a video camera and a DSLR in 1 is just too nice.  And, if you happen to be a microscope-using dentist (which I also highly recommend), you can hook up the T2i to your camera adapter and record both video or still images.
Of course, you can also use any of the following Canon camera bodies: 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D XT, XTi, XS, XSi, or even go really upscale with the Canon 5D, 5D Mark II, or 7D.  However, I don’t recommend those because of the price.

For Nikon, I recommend the (for the same reasons as above) Nikon D5000 or the D90.  If those don’t float your boat, you can choose any of the following (just be aware that none of these have the video either): D40, D60, D80, or D200.  Again, if you want upscale, go for the D300s or D700.

OK, if you count up all those possibilities, you’ll realize that’s actually WAAAAAAY more than 5 possibilities.  I’ve given you the criteria I use when recommending, though, so you should be able to make your choice.  If not, please ask questions!

I’ll cover some of the alternative DSLR camera bodies, lenses, and flashes in a future post.