Flash and Focus
Craig Andreiko, DDS, MS
Loma Linda, Calif

I use a Fuji S2 DSLR with a 90-mm lens and a SB29 Nikon Flash. Here are my pearls.

1) The SB29 flash is not really powerful. Coupled with the 90-mm lens and a focal-length adjustment of about 1.4x, I am often a little further from my intraoral shots than when I used film. The flash, which does do TTL metering, is often weak, especially when using mirrors. To compensate, I shoot at ASA 400 as opposed to a normal (for me) film speed of ASA100. This essentially makes the flash four times more powerful and more than makes up for the increase in distance. There is no discernable loss of quality at this film speed, and the flash has plenty of power.

2) I do not use autofocus. It does not work well intraorally and causes all photos to be a different magnification, which is a nuisance. With manual focus, I take the first frontal intraoral with a margin for cropping. I then do not move the focus ring and proceed to just move in and away for the other shots. This makes the magnification the same for all shots, which simplifies using the shots together.

3) On most DSLRs there is a small knob close to the viewfinder that allows the user to adjust the focus screen to their eyes. Most do not know this exists, but if you take a minute to adjust it to your own eyes, it makes focusing easier and more accurate.

Pictures Made Easy
Robert Chastant, DDS
New Iberia, La

I have been using the Sony DSH1 for the last year. It has great optics and has a large capture screen. It is easy to use and economical. We use the Digi Ultra ring flash for the intraorals. We bought six of these for just over $400 each. We use the Epson Picture Mate as the card reader and to print the passport-size photos for our new-patient and finished-patient board. This solved many issues in staff utilization and is very cost effective. The Epson prints beautiful images with almost nonfading results.

Do you have a pearl to share with your colleagues? Please send it to [email protected], along with your headshot and any other pictures you would like to include.