Of all the questions I receive, the single most frequent one has to be, “What camera should I buy if I want to take pictures of patients and teeth for my office? The second is often, “Do I have to get one of those big cameras with interchangeable lenses, or can I use a Point-n-Shoot? Might as well get these covered right away.
Let me give you my personal bias first:
Point-and-Shoot (POS) cameras have come a long way in the last few years, and they can take very high quality, high resolution pictures. The primary limitations are:
- Inability to control both exposure and f-stop to get pictures completely in focus and well-lit.
- The flash angle is such that the front of the mouth is super-bright and the back is very dark.
- Many do not offer a manual focus option, and the mirror reflection can really screw with the auto-focus.
Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras, on the other hand, offer complete control over every aspect of taking pictures, which means all you need is the right settings, and you’ll capture virtually perfect pictures every time with just a little practice. The 2 biggest advantages to using a DSLR for dental photography are:
- Can choose from several macro lenses to get extremely close-up pictures; dental photography is mostly a variation on Macro Photography, or the art of shooting small things very close-up.
- Can use a ring-flash or dual-mount flash for bright, even, shadow-less pictures even in the very back of the mouth.
Therefore, I am a BIG proponent of using DSLR cameras for dental photography. Yes, they are more expensive, but given the importance of quality images when communicating with patients or documenting work for all kinds of purposes, they pay for themselves extremely quickly.
Next post……WHICH camera/lens/flash combination to buy, and where?