This is THE most common question I get – ‘Jaz, can you just tell me which camera to buy for dental photography, I am so confused!’
I’m no mug when it comes to Dental photography, but I wanted to get a real expert to help answer this important question. I present to you Alessandro Devigus from Switzerland who owns the @dentist.camera Instagram page (which I love).
I was shocked that he recommended a Mirrorless set up – but I totally understand his rationale. Here are the links to the products he mentions:
The ‘Posh’ Setup
A Canon or Nikon Full Frame camera, with a 100mm macro lens and 2 x flashes mounted on a bracket – pick your favourite brand eg Nikon or Canon. It’s all good!
If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy the IMPORTANCE of taking photos in your Dental Journey, check it out!
Click below for full episode transcript:Opening Snippet: Hello Protruserati. I'm Jaz Gulati and welcome to another group function. Today’s mission is to help you figure out, which camera to buy? Like I am absolutely inundated with messages and one of the messages I get is, “Jaz can just tell me which camera I should buy?” Like people we don't want to do all the homework and the research and why should you right?
Nowadays there’s too much variety there’s Sonys, there’s Nikons, there’s Canons, there’s a lot of variety and it can get very confusing to know which setup is for you especially when some gurus will recommend a 60 millimeter lens and others will recommend a 110 millimeter lens or something and a different ring flash and a bracket system. It can get really confusing especially if you’re buying your first camera.
So I got an expert Dr Alessandro Devigus who owns the instagram page dentist.camera which is just brilliant right? Because what he shares is every dentist who’s passionate about photography they share their setup, what are they using on that instagram page. So definitely check that one out. The question I’m answering for you today guys is if you’re on a budget, you’re a new grad and you’re going to buy your first camera, which camera does Alessandro think you should buy and then also he’s answering the question if you are an established dentist in the sense that you’ve got a bit more money and you’re maybe looking to upgrade your set which is the bells and whistles one that he would advocate.
Now bear in mind that Alessandro is team Nikon and I’m team Canon, so obviously he’s going to recommend Nikon right? So it’s totally cool honestly. When you get a Nikon or a Canon, it’s not going to make a world of difference at all. I would probably go with the setup that he recommends which I’ll keep in as a suspense for you obviously. The thing that people will probably also want to know is what is my setup, what am I using.
Well I’m using a very old model. I bought this like eight years ago right? I’m using a canon 60d if I was getting my setup all over again if I was a new grad and instead of getting the 60d which was pretty good back then I’d probably now get the canon 850d, I’d get the 100 millimeter macro lens which is still the same one I have today and I’d get a ring flash. Now I know you can get twin flashes and you get the sexy line angles and stuff but I think when you’re starting out in photography you want consistency and you want to be able to take effective occlusal shots and you don’t have to faff around too much.
So I think start with the ring flash. It was designed for this kind of stuff, it’s brilliant and it’s going to get you a lot of good shots and you cannot, you can even be artistic with it. You can actually detach the ring flash part and sort of point it from different angles if you want to start taking sexier photographs but as a beginner I would definitely get a ring flash. So that’s my sort of pearl as what I’d get if I was a new grad.
Now listen out to what Alessandro has to say, he actually recommends a mirrorless setup which he thinks is the future because it’s got this cool function whereby you can focus much more easily like it’s really clear to see with these mirrorless cameras. What is in focus and what is not in focus because one of the things that we struggle with when we’re starting out in dentistry is when we’re moving in and out and in and out to get that focus. Well with these mirrorless ones it can really make it easier especially if you’re still wearing loops and even a hood like I do I can see the advantages that Alessandro recommends and why he recommends the mirrorless version. So that’s my take on the 850d and listen up to what Alessandro has say on your first camera and perhaps a fancy camera if you have less of budgetary constraint but one more thing I want to say is if you are going to buy a camera consider going to websites like wex, W-E-X and looking at the refurbished section or go on gumtree or ebay and buy used like I bought all my stuff used from photographers so you know they looked after that equipment really well.
So that’s a little hack to save you money and my camera’s still going eight years strong, my ring flash, my camera. I think I changed my ring flash once and the lens like it’s been eight years right? It’s such a great investment that’s tax deductible so I think if you’re not taking photos ready, keep listening and you’ll get a recommendation from Alessandro.
Dr Alessandro Devigus from Switzerland, how are you today?
Oh I’m great seeing you and you did not shave this morning but you look still good.
I haven’t shaved it many many mornings ago, never. So I like that. I’ve got you on as my expert today on dental photography because the most common question I get now if I’m getting this question then you must be getting this question like a million fold compared to me because you own the instagram dentist.camera and what I love about your page is that you get dentists who are passionate about dental photography of which are many of us. You get them to share their setup so if anyone wants to know what other dentists around the world are using, they need to visit your instagram page right now. It is phenomenal.
But please Dr Devigus tell us a little bit about like one because you’re coming on the show in the future as well just give us a little flavor of why you know so much about dental cameras and then then we’ll ask answer that burning question which camera should you get as your first system like just how would you answer that?
Oh today that’s a very easy question to be answered. So my first answer or my first question back to this question is what is your budget? I might ask dentists about their budget, the budget for dental photography it’s always very low.
Let’s do, if you don’t mind Dr Devigus, two scenarios, one is the new dentist who has a very limited budget and then the other one is maybe now you’ve been working a few years and now you can afford to buy a nicer system. I think that we’re going to really serve a lot of dentists by giving two suggestions from you, Dr Devigus. One on a budget and one not so much on budget but what you think is appropriate?
Okay. So the one on the budget suggestion I can give everybody out there today is going for a mirrorless camera and everybody out there knows that I’m a nikonian but you find the same or a similar setup also on the canon side. So I would go for a nikon z50 which is a dx format mirrorless camera offering all the advantages of mirrorless cameras like focus peaking helping dentists really a lot to get sharp pictures all the time.
Attached an 85 millimeter dx macro lens and buy a mic mk t14 flash, you get a perfect system which creates great results in quality in handling. Easy handling, great quality at a low price and I think it’s below 1500 euros not pounds but we’re talking about 800 euros or even less for the camera for the for the lens and 100 for the flash. So you really get and this is the basic kit I’m also using in my office.
So this is the basic stuff if you say oh no I want I’m an advanced photographer and my budget is unlimited then I would recommend going for a full-frame camera either a canon full frame or a nikon full-frame camera but also and attach a 100 millimeter macro lens go for a flash bracket attach two flashes to this flash bracket because the flash bracket is a tool that gives you the possibility to move the flashes in all possible positions you want you can imagine so it gives you the ring flash position and also the lateral flash position for let’s say more aesthetic shots.
So but then we are talking about cameras around 2000 only the camera, 500 to 1000 for the lens then you have to buy the bracket for 300, you have to buy the flashes so this is three times the price of the basic kit and again I would I would recommend, I had doctors telling me yeah I’m lecturing and I want to do workshops I told them look the basics are always the same and you can start with this basic kit and I really tell you I love this basic kit I bought it. I put it together just to explore a little bit and I really love it and my girls my assistants, my dental assistants love it because it’s very light, no fuzzy setups, easy to use and consistent giving good and great results.
Why did you suggest the 85 millimeter lens in the in the budget setup and not 100 millimeter?
Yeah because there’s no 100 millimeter dx lens, so the 85 dx corresponds to a 135 millimeter full frame lens. So everything above 100 millimeter from my point of view is considered a good lens for macro photography giving the working distance you need to avoid perspective distortions and give you a better light control, that’s it and I’m not discussing about a few millimeters more or less on focal length.
If I was to twist your arm and also get you to suggest a canon budget camera, what do you think of the 850d I believe it is that seems to be recommended a lot as an entry-level canon as well I don’t think that one’s mirrorless though.
Yeah, I have to be honest I’m not the canon expert, I tested more on the Sony side. Some Sony cameras comparing them to the canon and Nikon setup and at the end for me I know that 50% out there are Nikonians and 50% are Canon users and from my point an important message it’s not the camera that is the most important part of your photography setup, it’s go for a good lens which has to be around 100 millimeter, go for a decent flash system and the camera attached to is it’s not really an issue but the issue is what can the camera do for you and that’s why I recommend using mirrorless cameras because they offer focus peaking and I want to repeat this focus peaking is highlighting the areas that are in focus when you are doing the manual focus.
You have to do manual focus in dental photography and you can imagine even if, if you’re wearing glasses you can take the glasses off because you had you had your loops on you, take off the loops you take the camera you look through the camera even without putting on your glasses and you see the color where your picture is in focus so you don’t care if it’s sharp or not you see that the focus is on the canines on both sides so you have it helps you also in the orientation if you’re in the correct position in front of the patient and then you just click the button and it’s also easy to explain to anybody else.
So it makes coaching it makes training much easier to tell people look through the camera and when you see that you see the red color on the spot where you want your focus to be set then just push the button and you’re 100% sure that you get a sharp image all the time.
Amazing thank you so much for that and just such a humble man. You didn’t even like give us, give your own introduction I mean just tell us a little bit about that we have a few dates lined up in I believe May and June to really go much deeper into photography so we’re going to cover the basics of getting started into dental photography because you’re so experienced and so knowledgeable about this and then we’re going to talk about advanced techniques in the future but tell us a little bit about your practice and how many cameras do you own?
I tested more than 100 cameras in the last 15 years, so I can consider myself to be or to have some experience in that field and give you some advice and my advices are never to go for the most expensive stuff. To go for the most sophisticated things. For me it’s important that everybody out there can get a camera can set up the camera and can take great pictures every day and we are not professional photographers, we are dentists and we have to use photography as the second tool, the second imaging tool we have, we have the x-ray to look inside our patients and we have the photography to look on the outside of our patients. And this should be something that is easy to use reliable and predictable and repeatable and with the standard and we will talk about the standards in dental photography in these two episodes for sure.
Amazing, Dr Devigus or Alessandro. I can call you Alessandro now. Thank you so much for helping me with this group function because it’s a question I’m getting so much and I just wanted you dentist.camera on instagram to answer it and guys do check out the instagram page, wet your appetite and send in your questions ahead of the episodes in May and June which we’re going to really make it the most like complete resource that we can do in a podcast where it comes to photography. We’ll make it some enjoyable learning and so you can learn about how to improve your current setup or how to take more standardized photos which is the toughest thing when you have those whitening cases and how to keep that standardized to taking a photo three years later and how to keep that standardized and any sort of questions you have for Alessandro please send them in, I’m sure he will do his best to answer them.
Cool looking really forward to that and hope to see many of you on all the social medias and especially to have many of you joining the discussion with Jaz in a very short time.
Amazing. Thank you so much.