Photography in Dermatologic Surgery: Selection of an Appropriate Camera Type for a Particular Clinical Application

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Photographs are an essential tool for the documentation and sharing of findings in dermatologic surgery, and various camera types are available.

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the currently available camera types in view of the special functional needs of procedural dermatologists.

METHODS

Mobile phone, point and shoot, digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), digital medium format, and 3-dimensional cameras were compared in terms of their usefulness for dermatologic surgeons. For each camera type, the image quality, as well as the other practical benefits and limitations, were evaluated with reference to a set of ideal camera characteristics. Based on these assessments, recommendations were made regarding the specific clinical circumstances in which each camera type would likely be most useful.

RESULTS

Mobile photography may be adequate when ease of use, availability, and accessibility are prioritized. Point and shoot cameras and DSLR cameras provide sufficient resolution for a range of clinical circumstances, while providing the added benefit of portability. Digital medium format cameras offer the highest image quality, with accurate color rendition and greater color depth. Three-dimensional imaging may be optimal for the definition of skin contour.

CONCLUSION

The selection of an optimal camera depends on the context in which it will be used.

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