Swords Orthodontics
17 Main St, Swords, Co Dublin, Ireland

Dental Photography in Dublin: The Cameras of Swords Orthodontics Part 2

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ 70

This is the third Lumix DMC TZ (the TZ stands for Travel Zoom, apparently) that we’ve had in the practice. Although not an obvious choice for dental photography, its predecessor was very handy when we needed to shoot video and we didn’t have an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with video. It’s also handy for blogging situations like events when the camera on a phone isn’t suitable.

The later models have a feature macro zoom which enables a limited capacity for dental photography but the flash is built into the body of the camera and not ideal for illuminating both sides of the mouth at the same time (or any object close to the camera) unless you have a means of modifying it.

The TZ 70 has been superceded by other models, but reviews tend to favour it in lower light situations over the subsequent models like TZ 80 and TZ 90, and I tend to prefer digital cameras with less megapixels packed into a given size of photographic sensor. As I understand it, the new TZ 100 (in Australia that’s TZ 110 and USA that’s ZS 100) has a sensor about 4 times the size of this camera's sensor, but it’s considerably more expensive (more than double the price as I write) and – for my money - offers little extra benefit as a work camera: I’d be using one of our SLRs for anything more demanding than this TZ 70 will handle.

In its favour:

  • Exceptional lens – Leica “branded” 24mm which gives a very good wide angle and a massive optical zoom (I don’t like digital zoom)
  • Manual focus which (once in a blue moon) can be critically faster if you’re taking photos of something moving fast
  • Video – though I’d prefer the capability for external microphone
  • Cost – intermediate price
  • Reliability – well, to be honest, this is yet to be seen, but going on my experience of its predecessors, I’m expecting it to do well
  • SD Card – I don’t know if anyone uses other memory cards nowadays, but this is clearly the mainstream one
  • Production numbers – Panasonic make lots of cameras, so there are plenty of them about if you need to get spare batteries or repairs
  • Portability – fits easily in a pocket and reasonably easy to set up if you need to hand it to someone unfamiliar with it. They should be able to take a good photo with it more easily than if they were using a strange phone.
  • Features – I don’t use it, but it’s got wi-fi

Against it:

  • Intermediate performance – it’s not going to compete against SLRs, ¾ cameras, or big sensor compacts for picture quality
  • Video – no external microphone, so if you’re doing video with commentary make sure you’re talking near the built-in mics and avoid too much background noise
  • Flash is close to hand grip so sometimes it can be obscured by your fingers if you’re using it. I rarely use flash, but if you are then you need to check you don’t have a shadow over part of the picture. This makes it of limited use for taking teeth photos.
  • Size – if you’re taking pictures in favourable conditions, maybe a good camera in your phone would do, so it’s one less thing to carry
  • Unusual charging adaptor – I’d have preferred a micro-USB so I could just connect it to my phone charger arrangements

If you want to find out more about Basic Dental Photography and what camera is best for different situations then come to our next Dental Photography Bootcamp.

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