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Basic Camera Settings

Discussion in 'Intra-Oral and Dental Photography' started by JonB, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Basic Settings

    For all camera brands, the same basic settings can be used to ensure a good starting point and to have solid, well exposed intra-oral photos.

    Set your cameras to the following settings:

    • Aperture priority (AV or A)

    • Aperture set to ƒ 22 or higher for all shots inside the mouth (intra-oral)
    ƒ 4.0 to 5.6 for all full face / head and shoulders shots

    • ISO: 200 (200 is native to Nikon, while 100 is native to Canon - either will work fine)

    • White Balance: Set your camera to the flash symbol or the Average White Balance (AWB) setting.

    • Color Space: Adobe RGB

    • Be sure your flash is set for TTL (Nikon) or ETTL (Canon).

    • Do not worry about the shutter speed - if your camera is actually on Aperture priority - the camera will set the shutter for you.

    • If you know what it is - leave your "Exposure Compensation" dial set to the middle of the scale. If you check your histogram, and you should, and its showing the hump to the middle left, then move the exposure compensation up a notch or two and check your histogram. You want your histogram with the hump to the middle right with it tailing off before it gets to the right side. Its always better to overexpose a digital image than underexpose. (unlike what we learned with film)

    •*For now, do not change the output of your flash head - let it work at the basic -out-of-the-box- settings. Always use fresh batteries!

    Go forth and burn pixels!
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  2. Bobby Orr ceramics

    Bobby Orr ceramics Member

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    Jon, very good approach to setting a camera up !!! However, I respectfully disagree with your recommendation to overexpose...... the most valuable part of an image for a ceramist is to capture accurate colour and value..... with value taking a precedent over colour. Overexposing an intra-oral image will blow out colour with an artificial higher value. I also suggest the cameras to be set to Adobe RGB Colour Mode 2 when able. This colour mode has the widest range of colour output capability.

    For the Nikon's with a 105mm Nikkor lens, R1 flash, I'll take a shade at a focal distance of 1:1.6 and a 45 F-stop. perfect exposure with no exposure compensation. Smile shots are taken at a 1:3 focal distance and a 32 F-stop . Nice depth of field and exposure. Another key setting if possible is to set the Kelvin to 6700K.

    If you have a technique how to manage an image that's slightly overexposed, and get good value and colour , please share..... I know there's always more than 1 way to skin the cat!!
  3. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Here is the thing - most of the time I see dentists submit images that are underexposed. Probably 9 times out of 10. Add to that that sometimes even I get under exposed images, due to any number of reasons - incidence of light, low batteries, ambient light - who knows. While your suggestions are good ones - they are one way ( a good way) to skin a cat that we already have on the rack. I always tell people to check their histogram to see if their exposures are good - and with that to be sure your right hand side of the histogram has more information than the left hand side. Simple as that.

    If you have edited many digital images either from Nikon or Canon, you will know that underexposed images always have digital noise. Noise obscures color every time. As good as the Nikon is at low noise at high ISO, and as good as Canon is on this - it has nothing to do with the noise introduced by underexposure. You can get crummy images out of either platform if underexposed. Ideally perfect exposure is the best option... that even the best of us absolutely must deal with underexposure occasionally.

    Now the reason for overexposure of digital images is simple and one you can research on just about any good online photography forum or thread dealing with digital images. The fact is - there is far more clean digital information recorded in an overexposed image than there is in an underexposed image. If you shoot in RAW - as I always do - and you should, then you have far more latitude in bringing the exposure down to perfect and bringing out those details that are already there. There is no such rescue path for an underexposed image. Please note - I am not suggesting we try to rescue an image that is totally blown out on the right side of the histogram. I said put the hump to the right side of the middle and you will always get good useable and accurate enough images.

    It is a myth that ceramists can reliably get "colour and value" from any digital image. That is for any number of reasons. How many dental technicians use a monitor calibrator? I doubt very many even know they exist. How many who do - actually use them correctly? How many are trying to calibrate an iMac screen (next to impossible) and how many have invested in color accurate monitors that cost nearly $10,000 just for the screen? I think claiming someone is getting colour accurate images are barking in the wind - with all due respect. We may get close - but accurate? A myth!

    Add to that that if your doctors are submitting prints from their computers, or if you are doing what I once did, printing them on high quality paper through a very color accurate and calibrated professional Epson printer, and finding that "colour accurate" is a myth, you will soon enough find the best we can hope for is an approximation of color and value with a great deal of valuable information about surface texture, characterization, facial features and architecture and so on.

    I do not believe I have ever heard anyone say they can pick a shade from a digital image alone. The nuances of color, the way the light is transferred through the enamel and dentin, the way natural light bounces through a tooth structure which is very unlike how a twin light or a ring light blows light through them in a very unnatural fashion. As you suggest, finding the correct kelvin temp is a help... but it is like juggling oil under water. Kelvin temps are dependent upon a consistent distance between subject and light source, battery power, flash tube condition and life, flash lens color, lens coatings and glass, as well as the capability of the camera body being used - with the sensor technology incorporated - that has the best algorithms for colour accuracy.

    As to your focal distance recommendations - which are probably quite good (i haven't tried them to know) but you have left out some critical information that would render them useful. Actually focal distance is somewhat irrelevant except for framing the subject. But because you are not also telling us how to extrapolate that distance for using a 100mm or a 50mm macro or a 60mm macro or even a 180mm macro - since people have all kinds of lenses and not always a particular one by one particular brand - we'll leave that aside. Using an ƒ45 stop will get nose to molar depth of field, but doesn't affect colour or value at all and even has nothing to do with exposure when all of the other parameters are not taken into account. ISO? who knows... flash power/guide number? good question... is that on AV? don't say... what shutter speed are you getting if in AV mode at ƒ45... cause if you're shooting with a 105mm with a crop factor body that actually bumps the effective focal length to over 150mm - you have to have a shutter speed of 1/160 or there abouts to keep from having camera shake blur. (which renders the image virtually useless)
    Now in my experience, to have an aperture at ƒ45 and a shutter speed of 1/160 or faster - I've got to blow an awful lot of light on the subject... and a camera capable of high speed shutter sync to get an image at all. Yes we can skin cats all day, but the old Occam's Razor - must be applied - "other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one." We are trying to help people from all skill levels achieve the near unachievable. So keeping it simple and easy as pie may not stroke the ego, but it will get great results. Results matter and doing it without spending all day experimenting makes money for the already underpaid dental technician (no matter what you charge for your restorations!)

    The most important thing to take away from all of this is: Check your histograms!
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Member

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    Hello JonB

    What do you think about xrite ColorChecker Passport?
    Can it be useful?
    Regards
  5. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Hello Jorge,
    I don't have any first hand experience with the ColorChecker Passport, but a photog friend of mine swears by it. Says it is really helpful getting true reds - which is a very difficult color to get right in the digital realm. Nothing wrong with giving it a try and for no more than it costs, its going to get tried out eventually.
    That said we should be familiar with the gray sampler tool in Lightroom or Photoshop which will help to identify what is "gray". Often times that is all you need to bring things back to good color. I sometimes shoot with a little hand held black/gray/white card in the frame and then batch process based on setting those points.
    jon
  6. paulg100

    paulg100 Active Member

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    im always changing the exposure. If your taking shots of bright shades you must bump it down otherwise you loose detail.

    Its why i prefer the Dxx cannon models to the xxxd models as you can change the flash on the fly with the wheel rather than having to do it through a menu.
  7. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Hi Paul - i know a lot of Nikon shooters who really love the ergonomics of the newer Nikon bodies. Its like this though, what fits some - doesn't fit all. I prefer the way i change settings on all of my Canons - from the oldest to the newest, as its intuitive and natural - for me.
    I think the thing is each person needs to try different camera bodies and see what fits and makes sense to them. That always works if you also spend time getting to know the camera and its functions.

    These new bodies from either brand are so far advanced, that I've heard very well paid professional photographers remark that even they don't shoot up to their camera's potential. If they don't - we don't. Google Paul Bowen Air to Air or Jim Wilson Architecture and aviation in Dallas if you want a taste of two of the best in the world - who are just regular guys who have "made it."

    For me, i set the control switch on the back of the Canon so i can bump the exposure up or down with a simple roll of the control dial on the back. I don't have to look at anything. Two indents up and I'm two steps over and visa versa. Nothing simpler than that.

    Your point is a good one though - find a camera that's easy to use for you. Both major platforms are great!
  8. paulg100

    paulg100 Active Member

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    "For me, i set the control switch on the back of the Canon so i can bump the exposure up or down with a simple roll of the control dial on the back. I don't have to look at anything. Two indents up and I'm two steps over and visa versa. Nothing simpler than that."

    yep ditto.

    going to have to trade up from my faithful D20 soon as it dosent work properly with windows 7.

    i have a D500 as well but having to go through a menu to change flash is a pain in the butt.

    i just ordered these for my dual flash. Will post how they work out once they arrive.

    2 Pieces Flash Diffuser Cap for Canon MT-24EX OM-24X | eBay
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  9. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Oooohhhh I like! I've been looking for something like that for years. Be sure to let me know how you like them.
    Here is the link for us in the US: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pieces-Flash-Diffuser-Cap-for-Canon-MT-24EX-OM-24X-/261005976393?pt=Camera_Flash_Accessories&hash=item3cc52b2349#ht_3715wt_907

    I still shoot most of my dental stuff with a 20D. I shoot raw files and the only problems with ACR are the updates to the system that can make recognizing them a problem. Its the same with the 5DmII and 1DmIV files. The OS has more to say about it than the camera. Be sure to check the Adobe website for any updaters you might need so your OS will properly recognize your files. The Canon software that came with the camera should have no problem recognizing the images. You can get updates on Canon software too.
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  10. Bobby Orr ceramics

    Bobby Orr ceramics Member

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    Jon, can you post a few images you would use a reference for shades and use when doin a build-up ? appreciate it !!
  11. paulg100

    paulg100 Active Member

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    "Be sure to let me know how you like them."

    will do, ill post some pics with and without when they turn up.

    I have my cameras linked to PC and DSLR Remote Pro.

    Free standing 20D via LOOONG USB cable.
    and 500D mounting on a copy stand on me bench, so i can use live view with it.

    Problem with 20D and win7 is you have to keep switching between the 2 different transfer modes on the camera. 1 to transfer (PTP i think) files. and 2 (normal mode) to work with DSLR remote pro.

    It dosent fire up DSLR remote properly like the 500D does either, or like it did with XP.

    There is no proper win7 driver for the 20D, they have stopped supporting it now. Im using the Vista drivers.

    I hated the Canon software. DSLR remote is heaps better i found.
  12. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Not many people I know like the Canon or the Nikon software that comes with the cameras. The companies do however know their own algorithms to get the best possible image out their cameras. I don't use them either - but its good to keep in mind.

    I have DSLR remote too - but don't use it much. I guess I need to get into the habit. I had a corp headshot session last week and tethered the 5DmII to my MacBook and shot directly into Lightroom. Camera was on a tripod and I used a Canon remote on a wire to fire the shutter. Worked well enough. I tried using the DSLR software but due to the building's public wi-fi restrictions - it prevented setting up the network connection. Hadn't had that come up before, and since I was on their schedule and not mine, I didn't try to fix the link.
  13. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Honestly - I don't see where a pissing match has any benefit for this forum. I've answered your complaints with my initial post. If you have a technique that works for you, go with it. My results work for me, yours you say work for you. The important thing is to get everyone else on board using BASIC settings so they get useable images. It doesn't have to be rocket science and a penis measuring contest doesn't really help anyone.
  14. NicelyMKV

    NicelyMKV Well-Known Member

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    JonB, I hope I'm not asking a question that has already been answered. How in the world do you recommend photographing full contour zirconia restorations. The always look super bright and slightly absent of color in my photos. I have to manually turn the flash waaaay down and produce a dark
    Image to see any color contrast etc. is it due to the reflective, opacious properties of the material?

    Thanks,
    Jason
  15. Al.

    Al. Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it's a reflective material to make it worse is the surface stain. Surface stain photographs terrible.
  16. NicelyMKV

    NicelyMKV Well-Known Member

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    No kidding! I'll have a descent looking restoration I want to photograph and the stain looks awful in the photos. Looks very different from the naked eye. I just suspended some Emax stain in GC lustre paste and it gave a nice slightly layered look I was wanting to photograph.
  17. Al.

    Al. Well-Known Member

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    My guess is no flash using some light box set up or putting filters on your flash.
    Press and stain emax don't photo well either.
    They can look great by eye but terrible in pics.
  18. paulg100

    paulg100 Active Member

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    Photographing highly reflective things can be tricky.

    Had a bar case to photograph yesterday.

    Was really having reflection/flash back problems to start with. This is where i ended up so far:

    aimg836.imageshack.us_img836_7258_img0012vo.jpg

    This was taken in a soft box, with external light to upper rear as a fill light.
    Put white tissue over my twin flash as a diffuser (until the plastic ones ive ordered turn up)
    Set flash to evaluative. Usually use centre weighted for shade photos.

    Dont have enough room around the softbox to set up more lights unfortunately so cant eliminate the shadows
    completely.

    Just ordered a polarizing filter as well:

    Hoya 58mm CPL CIR-PL Circular Polarizing Filter for DSLR | eBay

    should help some more, and sounds just the ticket for taking shade photos.

    Think im on the right track.

    a search on google for" how to photograph reflective objects" will give you plenty of ideas.

    Oh: and this was my first milled bar from biomet 3i. Have to say it was a beauty, and the fit was awesome.
    aimg836.imageshack.us_img836_7258_img0012vo.jpg
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  19. NicelyMKV

    NicelyMKV Well-Known Member

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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1336680601.429474.jpg
    This is with flash cut waaaay down
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1336680601.429474.jpg
  20. paulg100

    paulg100 Active Member

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    how does that look once you bring the exposure back up on the raw file in photoshop jason?

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