21 July 2017
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Dental Photography: ISO, Shutter Speed…F-stop?

Dental Photography: ISO, Shutter Speed…F-stop?

Picking up a massive DSLR for dental photography can be daunting. For one, it’s huge and has cost someone a lot of money. The other thing, it has just so many buttons! This article aims to introduce some of the jargon, and to suggest a few settings that have worked for me!

ISO, Shutter Speed…F-stop?

Like everything in life, the more you research something, the more jargon gets thrown in your direction. What I’ll try to do is explain the three relevant ones as simply as possible.


    How “sensitive” the lens is to light, low number = lower sensitivity. The more sensitive the lens, the more visual “noise” (graininess) you’ll get in the picture.

    Shutter Speed

    How long the shutter opens exposes the lens to light for before shutting again. Quick shutter speeds means the picture will be a snapshot of when you took it. Longer shutter speeds are more likely to blur.


    A measure of “aperture or depth of field”.

    High f-stop numbers (f/25) give a large depth of field, where things that are further away are more focused.*

    Smaller f-stop (f/1.0) give a shallow depth which means that only a small part of the picture will be in focus.

Dental Photography Settings

I’ve been trying to get the best out of the new practice DSLR for 3 weeks now and have had some unpredictable results. But more recently I’ve come into some settings that work for me!

  • ISO:100
  • Shutter Speed:1/200
  • F-stop:f/25

I use a small ISO to reduce graininess, quick shutter speeds to reduce blur and a nice large depth of field to pick everything up.

These work for my intra-oral shots, I am not currently taking extra-oral shots but you can try changing the f-stop for a smaller number e.g. f/8.0.

To change your camera settings you’ll be best off changing the camera and lens setting to Manual or M. This will allow you more control of the settings and you can tinker around to your heart’s content!

If you have any tips for our budding dental photographers, please do not hesitate to post in the comments below!

* – Thank you to Sheffield student Jamie Rutherford for the correction!