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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:10 PM   #1
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Dental Video camera needed!

Noob virgin here, first post so go easy on me please!

I am a dentist, and wish to use a video recorder, with an attached light source, to look inside my patients mouth while i am working on them. There would be a screen in front of me, and I would be sitting up straight, looking at it. This is an excellent posture, and many dentists are using microscopes (which cost 20-60k) to work like this

There is a company called magnavu which has something that i would love to buy, but its US30K, and as far as i can see, is just a glorified video camera with four lights attached to it. I have contacted the company to try to get some specific specs, but they have not yet replied

In their system, the end of the lens is between 6 inches and 18 inches from the patients lips. I would prefer it to be about 18 inches away.

I would need a lens that, at the most, would be about the width of a smile (ie say four inches), that could zoom in as much as possible, ideally optically, but also digitally. Widescreen output would also be good, as the mouth is wider than it is high

I would also need some sort of remote focusing device, ideally with aperture, and the ability to take pictures as well (not all that important, as the video feed will prolly go through a computer that could take them anyway)

You can see what i am talking about if you go to Magnified Video Dentistry

In the magnavu system, there are four lights (which i think are led lights) surrounding the lens. These need to be a cool light (in a temperature farenheight/celcious sense) so they do not make the patients face warm or hot

The actual colors are not all that important, it is really an issue of the large optical magnification of a mouth, eighteen inches away

Unit would have to be able to be mains powered, and price is not really an issue, (after all a manufactured system is 30+k, which is not worthwhile, but if i can make one cheaper out of sticky tape, string and duct tape.... .... ... .....)

It sounds like their system may have a number of different lenses, to accommadate their different mag levels. The company claims to get from 1x to 46x (not sure how much is optical/digital/different lenses), so something that changes lenses relatively easily would also be nice

All help much and comments much appreciated!
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Old January 14th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #2
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There are tons of lipstick and micro cameras out there, and a good number of LED ringlights, which you might combine in some fashion. Here's a source for a start: TOSHIBA IK-HR1D True 1080p One-Piece CMOS High Definition Camera at a low price! There are also lots of ringlights, here's a sample: . Unfortunately I do not know of sources specific to Australia, but this may give you some ideas.....

The camera in the example is a full res hd camera, in a very compact size; the lens listed alongside focuses to o.1 meter. This is just a start, Google is your friend. Hopefully someone who has actually done this will chime wishes!
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Old January 14th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice.

I was really looking for something that had an integrated light source, preferably a ring, or even better, four led lights around the camera

My feeling is if i buy a few things and try to put them together, it will look less professional, and will have more issues
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Old January 14th, 2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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I'm not a dentist, but I spent much of October on a humanitarian aid project in Central America, documenting the trip with photos and video, and wound up spending a lot of time as a dental assistant.
I have a pretty good sense of what you're looking for ( I have a close relative who is an oral surgeon) be completely honest, I don't know that you're giong to find what you want for every day use in the commercial FPV market.
Dental imaging is ( as I very quickly discovered) a highly specialized area, with very specific needs with respect to focal length, zoom and focusing ability and lighting. Most of the commercial lipstick cams, sports cams, etc. are simply not designed for the type of shooting you need to do.
We had probably the best success overall with imaging procedures using a gopro HD on a head mount. This doesn't give you a light source, zoom, adjustable focus or live monitoring. it is very useful for "post procedure" analysis of technique for training purposes, but offers nothing for live view.
I've played around a bit with my relatives imaging system, and it's's also worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars, so I would expect the quality to be there.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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On eBay there is over 700 items listed as “intraoral camera”.

Anything there you can use?
Most are cheap, home care, but some are as much as $2000 and more.
Just another place to look…
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Old January 14th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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Intra oral cameras are totally different different to what i am looking for. They are basically pen held devices, and would show a good view of what i need.

Unfortunately, you need one hand to hold them, and unfortunately I am not an octopus!

I think the only thing that would work is some sort of decent video with a decent (preferably multiple) light source that i can mount myself onto a bracket on the ceiling

Since what i am trying to film (ie 18-24 inches away, and looking at something from two to five inches wide) is really small, i would assume that i could get some sort of decent mid range system, throw another lens on it, and maybe another light source
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Old January 14th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #7
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Hi, Paul...................

Well, from what I've been able to find, I can see why any pro system you could buy complete would be 30+k$.

The cameras are rediculously expensive, the lenses ditto and the control gear - camera controllers, arms, etc start racking up exponentially.

Take this as an example:

Iconix Video HEAD-RH1 Compact HD Camera System Head HEAD-RH1 B&H

Add lights, a case to house it all, power supply, a decent zoom lens, screen, cables, ceiling mounts, articulated arms yada yada yada and you're right up there.

Then there's the elephant in the room.

There's gotta be a reason why every fangquackter I've ever known is glued to that little mirror on a stick to get to the places the eye (and camera) simply can't.

Unless you can find some way to operate the camera positioning and zoom/ focus practically by thought control, there's got to be a shed load it simply can't see without you disengaging from the job at hand to get the above spot on, by hand.

Yes, I deliberately picked a HD unit as I can't see an SD unit doing the necessary.

You sure picked one heck of a project for a bit of DIY!

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Old January 15th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #8
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Paul, just to be clear...what you're trying to view I think I understand...what I'm not really clear on is the purpose. Are you looking at a system to serve you as a disagnostic device, an after-action overview/review system, or something that you would be actively referring to during a procedure?
After I made my initial post, I was talking with my cousin ( the oral surgeon) who has a lot more knowledge about the dental imaging systems and their relative worth.
He's been in practice for 25+ years, so I respect what he has to say; over the years he's gone through several different systems, all intended to serve as "extra eyes" during a procedure. He's by no means technologically shy; he really quickly embraces anything that improves his ability to address a patients needs.
He said that overall, everything he has tried has been less than satisfactory...they get great images, but they all need interaction by the dentist, and tend to be in the way more than they are of assistance.
He too dreams of something that will read his mind, position itself in the best possible location to see what he needs to see, and not be constantly banging him on the head. He hasn't found it yet...

I think a lot depends on whether you specialize in one aspect of dentistry or have a general practice. He has an associate that spends 90+% of his days cutting crowns. He uses magnifiers for hand work, and an intraoral camera for exams. But, that's a narrow element in a broad field....

I asked him if he felt that he'd gotten his money's worth out of the various systems he's tried over the years, and he said "not even close" the aggravation factors in long term use far outweighed the minimal benefits they offered.

Surprisingly, he said that he found that some of the video we shot with a head mounted Go-Pro camera in Central America was very useful as a teaching tool, but obviously of no value during the procedure.

I'm just not sure if there is a cheap solution...or even an expensive one...for what you want to accomplish. I'd sure be interested in having you keep us updated on what direction you decide to go...It's an area that interests me a good deal.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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Effectively, i want a stationary video camera, suspended by a ceiling bracket, that would have its image on a screen just behind and above the camera.

I would be looking at the screen, while working on the patient with my two other hands.

Us general dentists need much more magnification and light than oral surgeons. They basically remove wisdom teeth all day (and occasionally do difficult fractures, cancers, etc) We gp need more magnification and much better lighting because we are often looking at a minute part of a tooth ie a crown margin, or the gap between a filling and a tooth.

Most oral surgeons i know work with just their eyes, and no light. I personally use 2x loupes (magnifiying lenses on my glasses) and occasionally have a led headlight similar to a miners helmet (but costs over a grand)

A lot of dentists try magnification, and give up on it, then justify their work that they dont need it. Not saying your cousin is like this, but the standard of care for dentistry is getting raised all the time, and i dont think my 2x cut it anymore

I need more magnification, probably 3 or four. The problem with this is it will cost me a few grand, and is heavy on the bridge of my nose.

Additionallly, if i can get the video camera setup, every other dentist/hygeinist/specialist can use it, without buying their own 3000dollar magnification setup

The magnavu system has gotton rave reviews and the pics are amazing (not as good as a microscope, but thats another story)

The system is effectively a video camera, attached to the ceiling by a ceiling, some lights, and a monitor, and goes for about 30K+

Realistically, i am not dumping 3 or 10 grand into an untested system, I am trying to copy enough of an existing system that is way beyond my reach financially

Breaking it down, i think i can easily sort out the bracket to the ceiling, the monitor, and the lights.

So, all i think i need is advice on how to get a camera to give me a long macro shot
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Old January 16th, 2011, 01:22 PM   #10
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Are you actually intending to record the procedure, or just after live view out? This may sound a bit off-the wall, but here goes...
I have a sony Nex 5 with an 18-200mm zoom mounted on it. Its a very small platform with significant zoom and good resolving power...something on order of 11X magnification, with an APS-C size sensor. It will output live view via HDMI in 1080i resolution...some very un-scientific testing on my part using a LED ring light that I use for macro photography it would "seem" to fulfill most of your needs.
-zoom/magnification; yes...more than enough I should think since you said you were looking to increase the maznificaiton to about 4X
-lighting. Ring lights for stills work are color-correct, and cool...may be adequate, especially if you're combining it with conventional dental lighting.
-small; yes. not as small as a lipstick camera, but still a pretty petite package. overall, probably about the same size as the magnavu
-pros would be the ability to also record stills and video. It does have IR remote capability so you would be able to activate the camera without risk of contamination.
there are a couple of downsides to something like this though; one is the potential for overheating in extended use, and if you are recording you are limited to about 30 minutes of video before shutting down, and restarting the recording. The camera doesn't seem to heat up to any degree when simply monitoring though.
cost. You'd still be looking somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500-1700 to buy camera, lens and ring light, plus some sort of mounting system.

I really have no idea whether something like this would meet your needs day to's more thinking outside the box since the function is so specialized. I suspect something like this may well be "workable" recognizing the limitations inherent in the fact that its not designed for this application. It may be worth a look though.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 02:48 PM   #11
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So, all i think i need is advice on how to get a camera to give me a long macro shot.

Hi Paul,
Have you considered a close-up lens? i.e. a lens that that you attach to the regular lens. These are available in various strengths usually measured in diopters. A 2 diopter lens brings your maximum focusing distance down from infinity to 0.5 m or about 20”. The minimum focusing distance is related to the close focusing distance of the regular lens, for example if your regular lens focuses to 1 m the minimum distance you will achieve with the close-up lens added will be 0.33 m or about 13”. That is you could expect a working distance of 13 - 20” in this case.

I use a Canon 77mm close up lens 500D that screws into the standard lens of my EX3. There are cheaper 2D lenses available but the Canon is highly corrected and gives good results.

The working distance is limiting and there is vignetting at wide angle but neither feature should worry you. I would be more concerned with how keep the camera pointing in the right direction with a long working distance and narrow field of view.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the help

In reality, i wont ever really be recording what i am doing, only viewing on the screen.

Mounting is not an issue, existing hardware should be fine

Two features i think I would really need are manual focus, and a manual focus on the remote switch.

Not sure about depth of field, focusing off dental mirrors, etc. Even if i couldnt remote focus, i could just manually focus by moving the camera (in reality, i would only need to do it once or two times per patient)

Even if waynes price were tripled, it would still be excellent. After all, this is 30+k which i cant believe is even remotely close to what it could be!
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Old January 16th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #13
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you may well want to have a look at the NEX then...specifically the NEX 5 since the NEX 3 doesn't have I.R. remote.
It does have both auto focus and manual, however I don't believe that focus can be accomplished remotely. You do have full manual control of the shutter, aperture, white balance, etc.
It is capabale of some pretty impressive video, given it's size. If you search vimeo, utube, etc. you'll get a sense of what it's capable of.
Again, my only concern would be the overheating issue, but who knows? it may not be an issue with no recording happening. In any event, it doesn't cost anything to investigate
let us know which direction you go...I'm intrigued.
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