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Canon G16 is the best Compact Camera for Dental Photos, bar none!

2016 July 5

The response to my G16 Dental Kit has been fantastic! I’ve enjoyed helping many of you find a simple, user-friendly solution to getting professional quality dental images. I’ve re-written parts of this post to answer some frequently asked questions. The details of ordering a kit are explained at the bottom. Thanks again for your confidence and trust!

The Canon G series has long been my preferred recommendation for compact cameras that can produce professional quality dental images and the Canon G16 continues to be the best of the series! A new lens design means you no longer need an additional macro lens and a new focusing aid makes it super simple to get sharp images. (more on that in a minute)

The G16 has two custom positions on its main dial called C1 and C2 which allow you to save any combination of settings for instant recall of your favorite shooting scenarios. I program them for the most common views in dental photography. C1 is set for perfect portrait and profile shots. C2 is programmed for all intra-oral images.

These positions hold the proper settings for perfect exposure, focus, color balance, flash intensity, zoom, magnification, and depth of field. Everything you need to make the perfect dental photo! Just turn the dial to C2 when you want to shoot any intra-oral image.

Like this:


By default, I have programmed C2 for a 1:2 field of view (full smile, retracted anterior, buccal corridor, lateral smile, full occlusal arch).

Like this:


With the push of a button you can switch to a 1:1 field of view for partial quadrant views, shade tab views, or small prep area shots.

Like this:


I programmed the C1 setting with the proper white balance, color, focal length, flash intensity, and aperture to shoot perfect profiles and portraits.

Like this:


A cool new feature to the G16 is one called MF (manual focus) Peaking. When MF Peaking is enabled the subject is outlined with thin, neon blue edges when critical focus is achieved making it fool-proof to get perfectly sharp images! All you do is move the camera back and forth until the subject is framed in blue then shoot.

Like this:


When shooting any dental image, repeatable consistency is important and MF Peaking makes it a piece of cake!

Accurate lighting is accomplished by using the onboard flash with an attached diffuser which softens and evenly spreads light for the gorgeous results you see in the pictures above.

The diffuser attachment is held in place by a Canon adapter tube like this:


In previous G series cameras this tube also held a macro lens needed for the closest dental images (1:1). That is no longer the case! Canon changed the minimum focusing distance on the G16 so you don’t need an add-on macro lens anymore. Cool! No more taking lenses on and off makes your job even easier!

Canon has also made some wonderful refinements to the sensor quality and custom white balance adjustments making the G16 the only compact camera I recommend for dental photography.

I am now offering this setup as a complete kit for $949!

It includes:
– Canon G16
– Comprehensive programming for general dentistry or orthodontics.
– Adapter tube and Diffuser
– Carrying case
– SD memory card
– Spare battery
– Lens cleaning kit

This package also includes unlimited technical support for the life of the camera. I’m always here to help with any issues that arise …or if you just want to talk!

This is the most affordable, professional quality dental photography kit on the web and I’m excited to be able to offer it.

(did I mention Free Shipping in the continental United States?!)

If you would like to give it a try just click here to send an email.
You can also call or text me at 612-386-7071.

Happy shooting!

Choosing the Best Dental Mirrors

2014 January 24
by Rick

So you’ve taken the plunge and bought a new dental camera outfit. Hopefully you found some good instruction (if not I know a guy who can help you with that!) and now you’re wondering what other tools you will want for the job.

At a bare minimum you need a good set of mirrors and retractors. So let’s talk about mirrors. Dental mirrors come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and materials and it can be daunting trying to pick the best one. A quick Google image search results in a crazy variety of choices. There are mirrors with handles, metal mirrors, glass mirrors, and even mirrors with fans attached to prevent fogging! Whew!

Fortunately these can be broken down into two categories. Metal or glass.

I’m going to make it easy and start by saying that you can forget about the metal mirrors. Metal mirrors are made of polished stainless steel and while that may sound durable they are actually the softest material. They are also the least reflective so metal mirrors will scratch easily and produce a slightly darker image compared to glass mirrors. ‘Nuff said!

If you are already using them you may have run into another problem. Ever wonder why you get inconsistent exposures using those metal mirrors with the bend in the middle? It’s probably because your camera’s TTL setting is getting fooled by the reflection off the bend in the mirror!. The flash hits the bend just right and reflects into the lens causing the camera to drastically reduce exposure which produces a very dark image. Sound familiar? Change your camera’s angle to the mirror then take another shot and it should fix that. Then, at your next opportunity, get some glass mirrors!

So… speaking of glass mirrors, they are available in three coatings; chromium, rhodium, and titanium and are all good choices. You can find conflicting information on the relative hardness and reflectivity of these coatings but all in all they are so close it doesn’t make much difference. Compared to metal mirrors they are much harder and much brighter! Another advantage is they are two-sided so if you should happen to scratch one side you still have the other! One exception to this are mirrors with handles which are usually single-sided. The handles can also make it more difficult to maneuver the mirror.

You also need to consider two basic shapes. One for full arch occlusal views and one for buccal/lingual views.

The best occlusal mirror (and only one in my humble opinion) is the 4xl Adult Occlusal.
It is a rhodium coated front surface, double-sided mirror that measures 5 1/2″L x 2 7/8”W. Avoid the smaller versions of this mirror because they are impossible to hold without getting your fingers in the picture. The added length of the 4xl version is very easy for you or the patient to hold while providing a large viewing area.

Riofoto is one of the main manufacturers of these mirrors and a list of distributors for them can be found here.

The other most common shapes are the buccal
or lingual.
I’m partial to the “S” shaped lingual mirror because it it easier to place for lingual views. The smaller end is designed to dip down past the teeth to enable it to be easily placed in the mouth for a good lingual view of the teeth. (thus the name) The round end of the buccal mirror can be used the same way but is a bit larger and can be hard to position in smaller mouths.
The longer narrow portion of both mirrors is designed to provide a view of the buccal corridor by placing the end of the mirror near the soft tissue behind the molars and gently retracting away from the mouth.

Proper placement of each looks like this:

So there you have it! I’ll leave you with a quick tip for fog free images. Keep your mirrors on a heating pad which is covered with a sterile cloth. The warm mirror will stay fog free more almost a full minute of shooting and with a bit of practice that will be more than sufficient for you to capture a textbook dental image! If you don’t have the heating pad a mixing bowl with warm water will do the trick!

Happy shooting!

Thank You!!!

2012 April 19
by Rick

I just want to say a quick “Thank You” to all the people who have contacted me through this site. I have been woefully delinquent in posting to this blog and mean to make amends so keep checking back. A site remodel is in the works!

Currently I have been using the Canon G12 as my compact camera for dental photography. It is, in my humble opinion, the finest G series camera to date! Canon did a wonderful job of updating the sensor and LCD monitor so the images are higher quality with less noise and true to what you see on the monitor. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

As I said, Thanks again and I’ll talk to you soon!


Canon G11 is a move in the right direction – Less Megapixels

2009 August 31
by Rick

Camera companies have long been trying to market their products using the “more pixels are better” approach. This ignores other important elements of image quality and makes the process of choosing the right camera that much more confusing for the average consumer.

It is commonly known that larger pixels will produce better dynamic range (range of tones from black to white) and less noise. It’s like this… Think of a pixel as a teeny, tiny rain gauge. It’s job is to collect light photons falling onto it which are converted to a digital image. A larger gauge will collect more photons and give a more accurate reading because it has more data to work with.

A larger pixel also takes more data to fill which is cool because an empty pixel represents pure black while a full pixel represents pure white and overfilling it causes highlight clipping or blown out whites. A smaller pixel produces a shorter range of data which makes an image with more contrast, more noise and less dynamic range.

The announcement of Canon’s newest entry into the venerable G series, the G11 will have an effective pixel count of 10 Megapixels, down from the 14.7 Megapixels of the G10. This is a really cool thing because the sensor size hasn’t changed meaning the individual pixels will be roughly 30% larger. Get the picture? I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these to see if it lives up to it’s billing. Look for it at the beginning of October.

Canon is marketing this change as a positive affect on image quality and I believe it will be. I hope we see more emphasis on better dynamic range and low noise capability from other companies as well. It’s long overdue.

Virtual Trade Show sponsored by PDN

2009 May 21
by Rick

Photo District News is hosting their first virtual trade show today and tomorrow. Registration is free and you can expect the same experience as any physical trade show. You can visit company booths, attend seminars, talk with company reps in real time and learn about the latest gear.

To sign up go to PDNonline and look for the “Virtual Trade Show” link or go directly to the sign up page HERE.

I’m looking forward to the creative lighting presentation this afternoon at 3pm EDT.

Quick Menu of Services

2009 May 5
by Rick

I’m working on a new page that details my services but for now here is the quick list:

    Digital Dental Photography Seminars
    Hands On Workshops
    Personal Training
    In Office Training
    Shopping Consultation w/ Technical Support
    Technical Support Subscriptions for Existing Equipment

I can customize trainings and seminars to fit your needs which includes real world photography as well!

O.K. … I’m not implying that dental photography is not of this world or weird in any way. (well… to some it might be weird…)

Anyway… I think you get the idea. I hope to offer a travel photography course soon so if you have a favorite destination in mind feel free to leave a note in the comments.

Take it easy.

White Balance for your D90

2009 May 2
by Rick

O.K. So I’m a little behind on updating my blog but I found something pretty cool for you Nikon users that will make up for it.

I found a series of videos on YouTube devoted to using the Nikon D90. One of the constant questions I get is, “How do I set my white balance?”

This video will show you how to work with all types of white balance settings on a D90:

Pay particular attention to the manual settings at the end of the video. This guy does a good job of presenting the white balance menus but one thing I would add is to make sure the paper you use to do the manual setting is a neutral white. Compare different pieces of paper to each other and choose the whitest. Also, make sure the table you set the paper on doesn’t show through. If the table is red, for instance, it will throw the white balance to the blue side if it’s visible through the paper.

The best way to set manual white balance is to use a gray card. You can find one at any decent photo store for less than ten bucks. It is a neutral gray color that represents the middle of Ansel Adams Zone System. That’s why you may have heard it referred to as “middle gray”. Using this card is also a great way to obtain an average exposure in the field under difficult lighting conditions. You simply take an exposure reading of the card under the same lighting conditions as your subject and it will give you a perfect starting point for which to expose that particular scene. Now your snow will look pure white and your pine trees will be a beautiful deep green! It’s a good way to get white teeth as well.

Every aspiring photographer should have a gray card in their camera bag at all times.

The only way to improve upon this technique is to shoot RAW files but that’s another post.

Take it easy!

A New Dental Photography Seminar in Wilmington

2009 April 29
by Rick

I’m going to Wilmington, Delaware at the beginning of June to visit family for a couple weeks and will be putting on a short Dental Photography Seminar. The details haven’t been ironed out yet but there is still room for more people so let me know if you are in the area and are interested in attending. We will go over the basics of Digital Dental Photography and have a Hands on section as well. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own equipment but I will have a representative Canon and Nikon outfit for people to use as well. If time permits I will give a quick demonstration of my RAW shooting workflow to give you a taste of how easy it would be to take your photography to the next level. As always, it should be fun.

You can download a PDF outline of the seminar here:
Toothpics, A Guide to Digital Dental Photography

My New Venture

2009 April 27
by Rick

Thanks for checking out my site.  It was great talking with people at the Star of the North meeting last weekend.  I want to say a quick “thank you” to all the folks who expressed their support for me as I begin my new venture.

As some of you know,   I am no longer working for National Camera Exchange.   I’m continuing to train and consult on Digital Dental Photography and am expanding my seminars to cover more topics.  I’ll soon have a menu on the site of the services I offer so keep checking back.  In the mean time, thanks again for checkin in.