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Flash Choice  
Getting Good Advice re: Camera/Lens/Flash choice  
G10 Settings and Training Courses  
Ringflash Choice  
RAW Format  
Canon A470 Suitability  
Macro Lenses and Flash Options  
Macro Lense and Magnification  
Compact DSLR  
35mm to Digital Options  



Flash choice

"I am still unsure of which flash system to use and I would be grateful if you could answer a few more questions.I want it mainly for I/oral shots and occasional portrait/extral oral shots.

Do you use the point flash on the Dine for extra oral/portrait shots and the ring for intra oral?.

When you say the sigma and canon ringflashes are adjustable to show more detail does this just refer to I/oral shots and can these flashes be used for extra oral/portrait shots?

Is the dine not adjustable in the same way as the canon and sigma?

Does the Dine flash produce more harsh shadows than the canon and sigma with I/oral shots?
Is there a significant difference between the ring flashes for I/oral shots (especially of anterior teeth)?

Dine flash is ideal for intra oral and portraits and you are correct that the ring is used for intra oral and the point flash for extra oral shots.

The Dine point flash will give harsher shadows than the Sigma and the Canon, these ring flashes can be used for extra oral shots too...but to reduce shadowing say on the background of Portraits you would need to adjust the flash or remove from camera and use the cameras own pop-up basically both types of flash have their own pros and cons....if you are concerned that you won't get the detail in your anterior views then you are probably better to go for the Canon or Sigma...or just to complcate matters Canon also do a twin flash...which gives even more control over the direction of the flash.

I personally always use the Dine ring flash for intra true that ringflashes don't always show maximum detail because of the diffusing effect of the ring...but if detail isn't showing as I want, I will change my angle of view.

Hope this helps...a bit!


"i don't like the moving tube from the sigma and the af is also much slower and louder than the canon so i am thinking of either going back to my 100mm (havent sold it yet) or a 60 mm canon. do you have any recommendations on this? another thing is that it is recommended not to use the af in macro but i find it much more precise than moving forward an backward with a bended back. how do you do this?"

I would use either the Sigma or Canon whichever you prefer...I would not recommend the 60mm as this gives too close a working distance to the patient, in my opinion. Persevere with the manual focusing, but get the patient to move their head rather than you bending.

"my next question is about the handling. i am not really comfortable to touch the camera with gloves due to cross infection but sometimes i have to adjust the mirror or retract the cheeck a bit more. what is the perfect workflow for this?"

I do recommend that the dental nurse takes the photographs, this is the ideal workflow as it save you time and you can continue working while the nurse is preparing to take the photos.

"i am not sure if this releates just to my ringflash but the ringflash does not allow to attach the lenscap while the flash is connected. how do you do this? i dont want to do and undo camera and flash every time i want to take pictures (that is what i am doing at the moment and this is one of the reasons that i take so less pictures) but i am not sure if i can leave the lens open during the whole day.

i saw on your picutres that you put the camera with the flash attached into the case. what do you do wth the lenscover? is it open or closed?"

Kits I supply do not have any protection for the lens to keep costs down. However it is an idea to put a UV or skylight filter on the lens to protect it, this removes any need for a lens cap to be fitted at all.

"what are your recommendations on software? i am still an associate and my boss desnt like computers so our practicemanagementsoftware is quite basic and doesnt realy support imaging (you can import but thats it) and is more or less just used to send claims to the pct. so far i was using lightroom + photoshop after importing the raw files from an usb card reader. this combination worked very good but the results were not there directly. so for education purposes not realy useful.

i am now thinking of using a cable and shoot into eos utility or maybe c1 and then autoimporting into a imagemanagementsoftware. do you have any experience with this?"

Yes wired image transfer does work...I am at present looking into wi fi cards but may take a while as I am very busy at the moment.

Hope this helps.

Getting good advice re camera/lens/flash choice.

I just recently found your excellent website (was recommended by a friend). I am a dentist in Ireland who recently purchased a Canon 450D kit from ******** ***** in the UK. The lens they provided was a 60mm Canon macro, the salesman told me 'put it on auto & point & shoot'. I thought great , nice & simple but I have been very disappointed with results & poor support from ********. The anterior teeth seem fine but the posterior teeth are blurred in a frontal photo of the occlusion. I think I need a better lens & proper settings.

Could you recommend a lense & ring flash which I could purchase from you & also I need to know the correct settings.

Also I would like to do one of your courses , maybe the July course or the one in Manchester around November time I think. Good digital photos are a great addition to clinical records so it would be great to be able to properly take them.

Just try this first and we'll see how you get on.
If you could let me know which ringflash you are using too.
Try setting camera on 'Manual'...shutter speed on 1/200th and aperture on f22...set lens to manual focus and the magnification you require. Focus by moving closer and further from the subject...see how you get on with those settings may find you are abit close to the subject, but we can sort that out by changing the lens later.

Sorry I misunderstood..I thought you were using a flash.
For the Digi slave light settings are not great.
You will need to set your shutter speed to 1/60th and keep the camera as still as you can when taking your picture, aperture will need to be set around the f11 region and you will also need to increase your ISO to 200 or even 400 to get a decent image.
Try these and see how you get on.
Sorry forgot to places available for the July course now.Nikon D60 settings

I bought a kit from you last year (Nikkon D60, ring flash and Sigma macro), was and am still happy with it.

Recently one of my colleagues played with it, and accedentally changed the settings, I manage most settings, I keep it on auto- but the focus is clear on one tooth, and other teeth are blurry.

Can you help please with your kind advise.

Camera should be set on 'Manual' and then 1/200th sec and f22 per the cards you should have had with the kit...'Auto' is the worst setting to be on.

G10 settings and training courses

I would be grateful of your expert advice. I purchased a Canon G10 for personal use and noticed on your website that it can be used for dental photography. What settings would you recommend and distance from the patient when taking photographs? Also, what is the best format to take photos which will be put on a website?
Are you planning any courses in the York area at any point this or next year?

I have a section 63 course in Cumbria on the 23rd October.

I am also arranging Private courses 1 of which is in Manchester... see bottom of this page. At some stage I will arrange a course closer to York, just seeing what the interest is at present, if you know of others who may be interested in a course in your area I would be happy to arrange a course as per the details on the web site.
Settings for the G10 would be ..set on macro....set top dial to AV....set aperture to f8...flash on....ISO 80....Evaluative metering....daylight white balance....neutral 'My Colours'.....and zoom at about half way...make sure digital zoom is off. Once you have set all of these go to menu and at the bottom of the first tab you can save your settings to C1...which means these settings are recalled whenever you select C1.

As far as best format is concerned I would always use the highest quality and resolution settings and reduce the file for the web in a programme such as Photoshop Elements.

Hope this helps.

Ringflash choice

I need a digital SLR set up for case presentations, patient communications etc. and would like some advice on the best equipment. Was interested in the Nikon but unsure of advantages of Dine ring flash or their close up flash.
Would be grateful for your help/ aadvice on which to buy from you. I would be grateful of your expert advice. I purchased a Canon G10 for personal use and noticed on your website that it can be used for dental photography. What settings would you recommend and distance from the patient when taking photographs? Also, what is the best format to take photos which will be put on a website?
Are you planning any courses in the York area at any point this or next year?

Advantage with the Dine Ring and Point flash is the ability to switch from the ringflash to the point flash instantly.

When doing facial shots...head and shoulders etc the ringflash will not give best lighting and will necessitate taking the ringflash on and off to get best results ...whereas you don't have that inconvenience with the Dine...the point flash also rotates freely around the lens so positioning is easy too.

I have a problem in choosing the ring flash..I am using the Nikon D40 with AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm Lens for dental photography.Could you please advise me which ring flash is suitable for these combination and where to get one?Thank you..

You have a choice of either the Sigma EM140 which you can get from any camera retailer at about £260 or the flash I recommend whish is the Dine ring and point flash which is available off the site @ £430, the advantage of this flas=h is that it doesn't need to be removed fropk the camera for full face shots.

Question 2

Thank you for your reply. I am just wondering,do you think nikon macro speedlight SB29 TTL ring light flash suitable for my D40 and the above combination?I was advised by my other colleague about this flash. I will be taking a lot of extraoral and intraoral pictures. I have tried Marumi and it didn't seem to be compatible to my camera.Sometimes its ok the other time the shutter will locked and it says 'Flash in TTL mode.Change to other setting etc..What is your comment?

SB29 is discontinued for some time now, there may be some around still...not had any information as to its compatibility with your D40 though.

Marumi is a budget flash and therefore may be intermittent in use, I find it is also low power and gives a more diffuse/flat lighting which is not ideal.
Hope this helps

RAW format

Hi Mike, have recently picked up a Canon g6 cheaply - £80.00!
Regarding settings, not sure I understand RAW and jpeg settings. Currently have jpeg setting @ superfine as suggested. If I set to RAW also I am not able to open the files on my pc as I don't have Adobe Photoshop. Does this matter and can I use just the superfine setting?

Reason you cannot see RAW files is that as you realise you need software on your PC to read this file type.
OK to carry on just using 'Superfine' though RAW is something you may want to consider in the future as it does have some benefits over jpg, I will hopefully have something on the website in the near future.

Canon A470 Suitability?

I am a dentist from chennai in india. I am unable to invest in high tech cameras. i was wondering if it is possible to attach powershopt A470 with canon MR -14 EX macro ring lite.please let me know if it isnot possible what other budjet options i have with canon power shot .

No you won't be able to fit the Canon Ringflash to this camera as it has no 'hot shoe', also due to the lens type it would not be possible to attach any other lightsource.
You may struggle with this camera to get good intra oral shots as it is very limited in its functions related to dental phtotography.

Macro lenses and flash options

I have a Canon 20D body that I'd like to equip for dual use as a family and clinical camera (for dental photography). Best I can tell, I'll need a macro lens and ring flash dedicated for intraoral use. At other sites I've seen several endorsements of the Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens and MR-14EX ring flash however, in reading your responses to other inquiries, you favor the Sigma 105 mm lens and Dine flash. I'm interested in your reasons for favoring the Sigma/Dine combination; I'm also interested in your opinion of the suitability of my 20D for intraoral photography?

Your 20D camera will be fine for dental work, though a little dated now in it's functions compared with modern equivalents, however for dental photography there are few of the new functions that help.
I find Sigma lenses compare well with Canon for dental work and at £150 more it is a better buy. Other differences between the 2 is that the Canon has 'internal focussing' which means the physical length of the lens doesn't change when focussing in close, whereas the Sigma lens barrel extends the closer you get...I have never found this an issue though.
As far as the flash is concerned, I favour the Dine flash as it is powerful and has the added bonus of having an extra 'point' flash attached to the ring which rotatse around the ring for perfect positioning when doing facial shots thus not needing to remove ring flash from lens to do good facial shots.
Hope this hepls

Macro lens and magnification

Hello again Mike...this is the second time i wrote to you, you answer me a question about macro lenses.
Im an Orthodonthist from Mexico and i been given lectures of Clinical Dental Photography since 2000 ,now i teaching Dental Photography in a local University...i started with a Sony CD-1000 Mavica. I have 2 year using the excelent Canon RebelXTi/400D and i very happy with the results ,espacially when i compare results with the point n shot cameras.
I still use the 18-55 kit lens(always at 55) and a Canon 50mm 1.8 for full tooth shots.
I really want a 100, 90 or 105mm macro lens,,but you now the economical crisis, i have too wait, anyway..
I have a few questions..
What magnification radio i have with those i can measure the amount of the magnification?, and how much the images i obtain are trustfully in proportions for clinical records?
Ok last month i buyed a 430 EX II flash and a off camera flash cord...i know the best option for this macro shots are the more expansive Twin Flash system....or the ring flash...but i dont like a lot the total shadowless results with ring flash, because the lost of depth and flateness the im trying to use this flash off camera.
I like to set the 400D in Manual, aperture f22, shutter speed 1/60, and in my last shots i raise one level the exposure compesation of the external flash..
Thank so much for your atention
P.S I apologize if my english its not

Hi Mexican (Spanish?) is non existent so no need to appologise for your English!
Difficult to get consistent magnifications with a zoom lens.
With a 105 macro lens the setting for say a full anterior view of the mouth would be 1:3 and then you would focus by moving closer/further from the subject...thus maintaining the same magnification each time you set lens to 1:3.
Your camera settings should be f22 but set shutter speed to 1/200th...this will make sure no other light is affecting the exposure, especially important in terms of consistent colour.
Your images on the web look good, just some shadowing in places which you would expect when not using a ringflash, and in some cases it is not a bad thing.
When buying a ring flash you might want to coonsider a Dine Ring and Point flash.
Hope this helps

Compact v DSLR?

What is the canon 450 with the sigma macro and sigma ring flash like compared to the G10?

The Canon 450D with macro and ring flash will produce better lit pictures and close ups to 1:1 magnification with great detail, I consider the G10 as a good entry point for clinical photography but feel that practices should be investing in a DSLR set up, not only for its consistent results but also for it's professional appearance...these cameras, lens and ringflashes should have at least 5 - 10 years life.

35mm to digital options

My 35mm set up comprises a Minolta Dynax 7000i camera body , Minolta Macro 1200AF Ringflash and a Minolta 100mm macro AF lens. The lens allows me to preset the magnification and then I focus the image by moving the camera towards or away from the subject .The audible beep and green light in the viewfinder confirm the subject is in focus.Ideally i would like to retain some part of this set up as it was quite expensive when new. I would be grateful for your advice on going digital with an SLR,
many thanks.

You could try going for one of the Sony Alpha cameras, retain your 100mm macro, problem would be getting a suitable ringflash to work with it. I have supplied a friend with the Lester Dine flash which seems to work well on their Sony, but I could not guarantee that it would not cause any damage to the camera...hasn't been any problems as yet but I don't think they are using it a great deal!

Only other option then is to get a completely new Canon or Nikon set up!...depends how much you want to spend, digital cameras should last well now so it is worth going for something that will cater for your future needs as well as present requirements from your photography.
Hope this helps


What is the best ring flash for a Canon G9? Is it the Opteka SL 300?
I have an Minolta X700 with 50 mm lens plus macroteleconverter that has an old Centon ring flash. Could this be adapted with suitable extension pieces?

You need to be careful with fitting non dedicated flashes to any digital camera...the only 'safe' option for the G9 is the Canon MR-14 EX ringflash, I doubt very much that your Centon will work and have no experience of the Opteka.

Most flashes will physically fit with the Canon LA-DC58H Conversion adaptor see shop.
A cheaper ring flash which should be compatibel is a Marumi flash.....I have not tried this but I suspect it may be underpowered compared to the you can tell lots of pitfalls! Hope this helps though.


Hi mike. just wondering if the sigma 28-90mm macro will work for intraoral shots with my nikon d40 thanks mate.

28-90mm macro will probably work, you are best getting a 105mm macro lens though as this will give you a good working distance and easy standardisation of your shots, I know it seems convenient to have the zoom factor and macro in one lens, but it isn't the best way to go for your dental photography.

Is it better to use a dedicated macro lens or a lens witha range i.e. 18-55mm or telephoto?

Better to use a dedicated macro lens preferably 100/105mm...depending on lightsource. Using a 'Prime' lens rather than a 'Zoom' lens will be better for achieving consistent magnification.

I have changed the settings but I am getting light results ...should I cahnge aperture to f16Response

Just remind me which flash you have?

It's sigma EM-140 DG/ setting on TTL BL.

You need to get the flash back to my original settings which are...flash on 'Manual'...set both sides of the flash to 1/2 power...this will then work on 1/200th @ f22...unless there are other settings which have been changed which I am unaware of.
Hope this helps.