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Support Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday thru Friday
appointments may be scheduled outside of coverage hours
No image displays on the screen and the camera LEDs are not on.
Check the connecting cable is correctly connected to the handpiece and to the computer.
An image displays, but it is not clear (blurry).
Check the hygienic sheath is correctly positioned on the camera.
An image displays on the screen, but the quality is not satisfactory.
Camera driver conﬁguration.
Check the camera conﬁguration in the Imaging software (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.).
Video image is slow or choppy.
1. Slow/older computer
2. Unsupported display card drivers
1. Lower the camera resolution output size
2. Install the latest display card drivers
An image is displayed, but the button will not capture.
Camera button software not install and/or configured.
See installation section of User Guide.
Imaging application reports that the camera is not detected.
1. Connection problem
2. Incompatible USB chipset drivers
1. Check the connecting cable is correctly connected to the handpiece and to the computer.
2. Unplug and re-plug the cable from the handpiece
3. Install a powered USB hub between the computer and the camera
4. Update the PC’s USB chipset drivers for the motherboard
Click the button below to register your HD1 Camera Online
Is it possible to use REALCLOUD HD1 in several operatories?
Is it possible to use REALCLOUD HD1 on an older/analog video monitor or TV?
Is the magnification power of REALCLOUD HD1 higher than a microscope?
Can we sterilize REALCLOUD HD1 in an autoclave?
What is the recommended configuration for Windows®?
Processor: Intel Core i5
RAM: 4 GB
Hard disk: 1TB
USB Ports: 4 USB2 Hi-Speed ports
USB Chipset: Intel
Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080
What is the recommended configuration for MAC ®?
Computer: iMac 27″
Operating System: OS X El Capitan
Processor: Intel Core i7
Is it possible to use REALCLOUD HD1 with my current imaging software?
Is REALCLOUD HD1 compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10?
Types of intraoral camera optical focus methods (Fixed Focus, Variable Focus, Auto-Focus)
Even when taking images from within the fixed focal range of the optics these types of cameras cannot produce true razor-sharp focus as the optical design trades image resolution for the ability to have a longer focal distance (albeit still a short distance) where the camera remains “relatively” in focus. On the other hand, fixed focus cameras do produce images of some of the desired dental anatomy and are typically easy to use because there are no adjustments, but as noted with the tradeoff of a limited range of the pictures/images that it can produce; and even the images that it can produce in the limited focal range are lower image quality as compared to other intraoral camera designs.
Fixed focus intraoral cameras are the lowest cost cameras available for several reasons including because they have no focus mechanism nor optics to move. These cameras typically do not utilize custom optical designs/systems optimized for intraoral camera use and rather they utilize standard off-the-shelf low-cost plastic pin hole/security camera optical lenses and/or lower quality web cam lenses. Neither pin hole lenses nor low quality web-cam lenses can truly resolve the HD imagers resolution/capability and these lenses cannot achieve the resolution or color fidelity to truly take advantage of high definition (HDTV) video. By re-using available off the shelf optics, it does reduce design cost and product cost, but at a trade-off of a non-optimized more limited intraoral camera which can’t acquire intraoral and extraoral images thru the entire desired focal range.
Additionally, these types of camera use low cost plastic housings to reduce cost. These housing typically are not very durable and fade/change color within a short amount of time. These lower cost cameras typically have a standard USB cable that does not disconnect from hand piece and/or if the cable does disconnect it utilizes a standard USB cable/connector which is not designed for that quantity of connections/disconnections required in a multi-op dental workflow. If the cable doesn’t disconnect then multi-op use requires moving the entire camera and standard USB connection cable and will wear out the standard USB cables prematurely. You can try to add 6” extender cables to both the PC and the end of the camera cable so at least the camera and PC USB connectors are not wearing out and the 6” extension cables can be replaced as they wear out. But this still causes intermittent issues as the extension cables wear out and esthetically having more cables to plug in/unplug is not optimal.
These cameras are also marketed as a “4 megapixel” or “8 megapixel” cameras which is accurate info but what they don’t tell you is these cameras will produce WORSE images than older standard definition 640 * 480 cameras (less than half a megapixel resolution) because of the size of the pixels are so small on 4 and 8 megapixel images relative to the optical lens quality resolving capability that most of resolution is lost, and additionally the color fidelity suffers with noise when pixels are small and less than 1.5um in size and which as stated means most times these cameras image quality is not even as good as the cameras from the 1990’s.
Note: Many times, foreign and/or eBay companies will market these types of cameras as “autofocus” and which is incorrect, they are fixed focus cameras and do not auto-focus anything. They use the term autofocus because there is no focus capability, but again it is incorrect to say they are auto-focus.
Variable Focus – Variable Focus cameras are cameras with the ability to focus the image either by moving the optics and/or by moving the imager. Moving optics can achieve the best results but is the harder to design and adds significant cost to implement versus a fixed optical assembly because the optics in intraoral cameras are very small and mechanically achieving and controlling movement reliably is challenging.
To achieve razor sharp images at HD resolution the F# of the optics must be relatively low allowing full resolution to pass thru the optics. Variable focus cameras can be operated at lower F#’s because they are focusable, and which allows for dramatic increases the image “crispness”. Image quality is the combined result of both resolution and contrast and a variable focus camera operating at a lower/medium F# can achieve much higher values of CTF (Contrast Transfer Function) and MTF resolution (Modulation Transfer Function) versus a fixed focus camera optical design and which is what makes an image appear “razor-sharp” to the user.
While variable focus cameras can and do achieve greater focal ranges and which translates to the ability to cover the entire desired focal range of dental anatomy including very close and/or macro images of teeth, well focused and illuminated smile and arch images, and even full-face images the trade-off is that the user does focus the camera to take the picture.
For a variable focus intraoral camera, the placement and design of the focus mechanism the user interacts with becomes a very important factor dictating ease of use. Many cameras that have a focus mechanism have implemented it in a low cost “direct drive” method and which equates to the focus travel/movement required to focus is so minimal that moving even .5mm changes the focus dramatically – and which makes the camera hard to consistently/accurately focus and hampers the overall ease of use of the camera.
To address this the REALCLOUD HD1 has implemented a variable focus mechanism that was designed using a relay lens approach and long focus travel/movement. This allows us to control/tune the amount of focus travel and means a REALCLOUD HD1 camera has a long travel range (6mm) focus and which makes focusing razor sharp images possible as well as easy. We know of no variable focus intraoral camera mechanism that works as well as REALCLOUD HD1 focus mechanism.
Auto-Focus (AF) – Auto-focus cameras are variable focus cameras that move the optics/imager via electronic means rather than by the user interacting with a focus mechanism, and hence the name Auto-Focus (AF). This sounds perfect and would combine the advantage of a variable focus camera regarding image quality and focal distance capabilities but would achieve it 100% automatically for the user.
However, when applying autofocus methods/principles to the design of an intraoral camera there exists challenges to implement true autofocus actuators that can be small enough and yet achieve the huge magnification/optical power changes that are required. For example, this desired functionality would be similar to trying to create a tiny pencil sized instrument that can focus automatically from microscope (80-100x) magnification levels all the way out to digital camera extraoral smile/face ranges (infinity) and performing the focus fully automatically regardless of image content, and without losing image quality in the images. This is very hard to achieve and has not even been accomplished in cell phone/digital cameras to date.
Intraoral cameras are too small to use active AF sensors that measure the actual distance to the object electronically via infrared/lasers and then focus optics based upon that information and therefore intraoral cameras must use passive AF technologies and which don’t measure distance/focus at all. Rather passive AF techniques can only monitor the image that comes in, compare it to the previous image and then judge whether the content of the image is sharp and if not then move the optics one way or the other and evaluate the next picture to see if it improves.
Unfortunately, passive methods of AF do not translate well to be used for measuring focus on dental anatomy that is made up highly of only one or two colors (White/Red) and won’t work/achieve true focus reliably. Using these passive technologies means anything under 5-10mm object distance (a tooth or less) will many times not be in focus because the passive method doesn’t know what portion of the image to measure sharpness from and at the very high magnification portions of the image will appear to passive AF to be in focus while others will appear out of focus and which means there is no reliable way to know in the image what the dentist’s desires to be crisply focused. The lack of full color range and “soft” white teeth results in either out of focus images for what is desired to be in focus in the image and/or the AF algorithms will continually be “hunting” for the focus which to a user means continually in and out of focus.
True autofocus technology such as utilized in a cell phone and which uses actuators in combination with active AF sensors to measure and then move multiple elements including lenses, Iris, and zoom optics do not exist in intraoral cameras. And even if they did because they are not designed to focus at the extreme magnifications/ranges required for intraoral cameras (1-150mm) and rather actuators/cell phone type lenses focus from around 100m to infinity and which doesn’t work for intraoral cameras.
To create an optical design small enough as well as able to have a method of auto-focus capability is very challenging by moving real optics mechanically and therefore the autofocus intraoral cameras available today utilize a “liquid lens” technology that allows a liquid to be used in place of a traditional glass optical element and electrical current of different voltage value can be applied to the liquid which deforms the liquid causing the optical properties to change and which indirectly achieves changing focus of the optics. While this is very “neat” technology and it was once thought this technology might be used in major cell phones it has not been successful and has only found minor acceptance in security and inspection applications. Liquid lenses, at least in our testing never lived up to the hype and we found the images produced were either not as sharp as traditional glass optics and/or most designs for cameras that implemented them were soft and the entire image was not in focus. They also have a very strange effect in that when the focus because it’s a liquid is focuses like a “wave of water” this is hard to describe but once you see it in a liquid lens it can be quite distracting to see that every time the camera focuses which as you move around the mouth is more than once per second. However, for smiles/arches/couple teeth the liquid lens technique works reasonably well, albeit produces soft pictures that are not razor-sharp.
It is possible to buy an intraoral camera at a very low cost from eBay and it may “kind” of work for “some” basic patient education.
And any intraoral camera is certainly better than nothing, and very low-cost intraoral cameras do have a place.
If you can find a good eBay/other vendor the low-end cameras are typically fixed focus (even though many call that autofocus) which means, they have a quite limited focal range of what distance they will be in focus. See FAQ section covering Fixed Focus cameras for more details. In addition, the eBay type of cameras typically utilizes “pin hole” lenses or web cam lenses that cannot truly resolve high resolution images. They use low cost plastic housings and typically cables do not disconnect from hand piece and/or if they do they utilize a standard USB cable which is not designed for that quantity of connections/disconnections. Many times, they market a “4 megapixel” or “8 megapixel” camera/imagers which in most cases produces even worse images because of the size of the pixels relative to the optical lens quality.
Many of the low-end cameras also only operate at low res 640 * 480 resolution and which is a tiny image on today’s high-resolution monitors and would only fill about ¼” of the screen without the software sizing/stretching the live video which reduces the quality even more. 640 * 480 was the standard definition before HDTV became standard in the USA more than 10 years ago.
Also, many of the “eBay” camera companies are not actually legal to be used in that the camera which is regulated by the FDA is not manufactured using actual FDA QSR QMS rules. Foreign manufacturers can “list’ with the FDA and this doesn’t mean they comply with the laws at all, it means they paid the fee to list to FDA, there is no inspection. You should ask any intraoral camera company if they have a QMS (Quality Management System) that has been audited by the FDA and/or an accredited 3rd party external auditor. This will help ensure they are legal cameras and won’t cause you legal issues later with patients and/or insurance company for not utilizing FDA approved products.
Many low-cost eBay and other cameras don’t have safety approvals on the products or have “smog shop” approvals from Korea, etc.… In fact, many of these cameras could actually void your practice insurance if the building burned down (when the cameras don’t have real IEC or UL approval). We do not state this to scare anyone intentionally and some of these companies are fine – but buyer beware.