My job just approved me $1,500 for a new camera w/ macro lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Jerad, May 1, 2009.

  1. Jerad

    Jerad TPF Noob!

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    1st off I know very little about cameras and I've got a lot of questions.

    Today I found out my work will cover $1500.00 for an intraoral camera (USN Dentist) so I can document my patient's cases. This will be my first real camera, but I have NO idea where to start. I can spend over $1500, but the remainder comes out of my pocket so I want to keep it below 2k, and I must have the following: Camera, micro/macro lens, memory card and ring light. I'd love to get an additional lens to use for other things, but I don't know where to start or if that is in my current budget.

    I've been looking at the Nikon D90 and it seems like that's a good fit for me, I know it's not made for video but I like that feature. What other cameras should I consider?

    Next I'm not sure about the lens, card, or ring light and that is where I need your help.

    For the micro lens some get longer and some don't change when focusing correct? I think I'd like one that stays the same length as I'll be working in very close proximity to someones oral cavity... And where can I go read about what the different mm lenses mean? I'm a complete camera noob so make it simple:er:

    Thanks!
     
  2. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Can someone say "party at Jerads" LOL

    I dont know, but I'd venture to say not many of us have experience with oral dental photography. That's a pretty specialized field of photography. :mrgreen:

    My suggestion would be to call prophotosupply. They have a group there that deals with medical/dental photography, and should have some good information for you. You can reach them at 503-517-3632.

    I did some research, and it seems like most of the dentists are using a 105mm macro lens, with a ring flash.
     
  3. Jerad

    Jerad TPF Noob!

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    yea that 105 seems to be common, but what brand?

    I could get this Nikon lens, don't really know if it's good or not, nor do I know what all the little numbers mean, but the little bugger costs as much as the camera so it must be good right:lol:
    Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Autofocus Telephoto Lens


    This Sigma lens is almost half the cost of the Nikon, but is it half the quality?
    Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX "DG" AF Telephoto Macro Lens for Nikon AF-D Cameras
     
  4. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Camera: D200 from Best Buy. 600 bucks if you can find it in stores. Sold out online.
    Lens: Sigma 60MM F/2.8 or the 70MM F/2.8. Most will recommend the 105MM F/2.8. Any of these will suffice. About 500 bucks at the max end.
    Flash: If the intent is to do macro shots with this camera primarily, you REALLY want to look into the Nikon R1 macro flash kit; two flash units that attach to the ends of an adapter that goes around your lens. About 500 bucks.
     
  5. Jerad

    Jerad TPF Noob!

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    I saw the R1 macro flash kit, but that thing looked like it was from outer space, I need to see one in person. Remember most of my patients are scared and uncomfortable to begin with, I don't want to elevate that too much.


    Also, why the D200 over the D90, lower cost? or is there something better about it? I'm really hoping to learn how to use this camera for all situations, so I don't want to start out with a lesser camera unless it would be advantageous for some reason.
     
  6. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Something you might want to consider too is how much space you have, and how close you want to put that camera to the patient. A 60mm lens might stick you right up in the patients face, and the 105mm might put you too far away.

    As far as the "which lens" question. The reason for the price difference is two things. AF-S, and VR.

    "AF-S" means the lens has its own internal focusing motor called a silent wave motor. The AF-S lenses were designed mainly for cameras without a internal AF drive...like the D40/D60. Most of the higher end Nikon camera's have a internal AF drive, so AF-S isnt really needed. So your need for this would be mostly dependant on which camera you choose.

    "VR" means vibration reduction. This might be beneficial to you, since most likely many of your shots will be handheld, and not with a tripod. (Im laughing right now thinking of a tripod over the top of a dental patient..LOL) The vibration reduction will help to get rid of camera shake from your hands moving the camera.

    "ED" is Nikon's way of saying its got higher quality lenses in it. Basically better performance in the color fringing areas.
     
  7. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    As far as the Sigma lens. The "DG" designation tells you it can be used on either full frame or cropped sensor cameras. The "DC" models are only for cropped sensor cameras.

    If you go with Sigma, Id recommend looking for a "APO" lens if they have one available in the size you want. The "APO" designation means apochromatic, and the lenses in them are comparable to the nikon "ED" lenses.
     
  8. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AF-S lenses have been out before cameras without an internal focus driving motor. Long before. AF-S lenses were produced to move the mechanism OFF the camera body and into the lenses, supposedly making focusing faster.

    As for the difference between the D90 and the D200 - the D200 is a four year old camera. The D90 just came out. However, for hobbyist shooters, you'd have to be really screwing **** up to notice the difference in image quality. Some folks will come along and talk about CCD sensor and CMOS sensors - blah blah blah. Ignore them. They are technobators. . .you will get stunning shots out of either camera, so long as you put a nice lens on it.

    As for the R1 kit - I assume you will trying to get shots up close and personal correct? A macro lens has the benefit of having a very short focus distance, somewhere in the range of a few inches. Of course the trade-off is depth of field. But if you're shooting teeth, you're really not too worried about that I'd imagine. But lets say you're going to be getting 6 inches or less to the teeth; YOU are going to be blocking light. And if you are blocking light, even if you are out in the sun, not enough light is going to be hitting your subject. This is where the SB-200 comes in - to provide a way of illuminating your subject. So you have a couple options, either tell your clients ahead of time "Relax dummy, it's just a camera", or find another means of lighting your subject.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    For interoral work with a DX format DSLR 60mm would be a hard minimum focal length. 105mm would leave you with longer working distances (read: less confrontational from the patients point of view).

    Your budget is tight and your requirements are no challenge to any current DSLR body. I would suggest that you also consider a D60 or possibly the new D5000 so you don't blow too much of the budget on the body. For this specific use, the only advantage of a D90 (or older D200 or D80) would be the viewfinder, slightly better do to the use of a solid glass prism instead of mirrors. In fact, the image quality of the D60 is a match to the D200 & D80 (same sensor system) and the D5000's sensor system is a sister to that in the D90 and D300.

    The D5000 also has focusing system in the class of the D90 (the D60's is a bit simplified but shouldn't imact this use) and beats the D90 with a positionable rear LCD making the Live View practical. Using this can help the patient anxiety as you won't be hiding behind the camera. You can maintain decent eye contact with the patient and not make the situation seem like an assault.

    I would recommend a true ring light instead of macro-lights like the R1 system. True 300-360 degree rings pose fewer problems with shadows. What ever you get it must be as small and close to the lens as possible. This is less important if all you will be doing is shooting frontal shots using lip spreaders. the small close to the lens placement is important when shooting deep in the mouth.
     
  10. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If the goal is to "get in and get out" with these pictures, I would not suggest a camera that forces you to manually focus each and everyone one of your shots - which the D60 and D5000 would with any of those lenses.

    As for focusing distance, if the goal is true 1:1 macro images, then you HAVE to be up close and personal to your subject. That is the point. Even with my 105MM, true 1:1 is only achieved at a subject to lens distance of like nothing. Othewise, all you've got is a standard to semi-telephoto lens that just so happens to have a pretty lenient focusing distance.
     

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$1,500 for a new camera