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Dental photography in practice part 23

Posted on 18 November 2012


Following on from the last articles, covering choice of camera/lens/flash, I thought it would be worthwhile just giving you a list of options set up wise from cheapest to more expensive options.

With all of my training my main goal is to get as many dental practices, dentists, nurses, hygienists therapist etc taking pictures. Because of the cost implications I realise that not everyone is in the position to spend >£1000 on a set up, and to wait until the funds are available seems to me a shame to be missing capturing images of all your good work.

With that in mind I am going to suggest ways of getting started as cheaply as possible.

So the 3 types of set up I am going to look at are:

  • Compact camera (Canon G12) £360
  • DSLR camera kit (Canon 600D Kit) £480
  • DSLR Dedicated Dental kit  >£1270

Best option is the DSLR Dedicated Dental Kit.

The G12 and 600D camera kit will produce similar results in terms of lighting…see examples below.

Typical shots possible on the Canon G12 and a DSLR camera kit using ‘pop-up’ flash and zoom lens ‘with macro’.

Not as quick as a dedicated DSLR with ring flash and macro lens, and this is about the maximum magnification you will get.

There is a particular technique required when using this type of camera to get these results, and remember ideally you would add to this kit sooner rather than later…but it spreads the cost and gets you up and running sooner.

However in terms of quality the 600D is better than the G12. In the past if someone can’t afford a dedicated DSLR then they would be pointed towards the G12 spending >£360, then after a year or two they often decide to ‘upgrade’ to a DSLR dedicated kit spending another £1270 or more, the G12 then often being little used.

I would suggest that a better option, if funds aren’t available for a dedicated clinical camera set up, would be to get say a 600D camera kit, and then when funds are available add a ringflash (£300), and finally a macro lens (£400).

If you wanted a higher end camera then you could go for the Canon 650D or 60D or any of the Nikon range D5100 upwards.

If you want further guidance contact me at

Next month I am hoping to have a Canon 600D camera kit …set up for dental photography, as an option on my website, price will be from about £600. These cameras will be set up to “get the images you want, not what the camera wants to give you”.


I've seen a Canon EOS 550d for about £270 which seems an incredible price. Would this be worthwhile? Would also need a macro lens and ring flash I guess.

Also, do you know how this would function attached to a mount on a microscope to take pictures and provide a video feed for a screen?




If its a new 550D well worthn it...even secondhand its not a bad price...depends on condition.
Should fit to microscope with the appropriate adapter...usually the microscope manufacturers supply them.
Yes you will require macro lens and ring flash.

Hope this helps



Thanks for the reply. How about something like a Panasonic GF1 as an alternative with a ring light rather than a flash?


Ring lights are not recommended as the power output is very low compared with ring flash, your images will not be as good.



Price seemed to good to be true and a quick google confirmed it was. Steer clear of 'olimpic cameras'

I'll keep looking. Thanks for the advice so far.



If you use any 'auto' settings....ETTL etc the possibility of inconsistent exposure is always there.
Use Sigma on manual and 1/2 power...try that first and then reduce power of flash as necessary....until you get perfect images on f22.

1100D is fine as an entry level camera, though I always recommend going up a model as they are generally more robust and will last you longer, however the sensor will make a difference to the colour, I prefer the colour and definition a 550D/600D gives me but it is down to personal preference...lens and flash will produce very slightly different colours but not as much variation as the Sensor.

Hope this helps.



Hi Mike i have a 600d body without the ring flash/macro lens ( I am saving up). I have seen on your website the setup recommended for intra/extra oral shots. Would these apply for how i am using the camera now, if not what settings would you change? Thanks in advance


Hi Kishan

Yes same settings will work fine.



Never found a use for grey cards other than helping to choose best white balance setting by eye.
So try using the 'Daylight' setting...this will give consistent colour for before and after bleaching, camera will also need to be on Manual settings.

Hope this helps


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