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The DermLite Carbon gives clear visuals of the skin surface and deep structures with the push of a button.
Just a touch of either side of its "split button" sets off one of two groups of LEDs - each with different polarizations:
Eight LEDs produce cross-polarized light, ideal for visualizing deep structures; eight others give you instant visualization of superficial details (total of 16 LEDs altogether).
Similar to the DL100, it uses a long-lasting lithium battery which is available both online as well as in most larger retail stores.
Each package includes one DermLite Carbon, one 2CR5 lithium battery, and one Silicone Sleeve with lanyard.
Tim's DermLite Carbon Review
Alright, ready for a quick “Cliff’s Notes” summary of the DermLite Carbon?
The DermLite Carbon is essentially a DL100 with linear polarization option.
Now, just to be clear, “linear polarization” is a form of polarization which allows visualization of the surface, whereas “cross polarization” is really what most of us think of when we think of polarization in dermatoscopes.
To be clear, it's “cross polarization” which allows us to visualize deeper at the level of the melanocytes, without the use of oil for contact dermoscopy.
So with that clarified, the Carbon is otherwise very similar in overall size, shape, and specs as compared to the DL100. In fact, you can hold them side-by-side and easily see this.
But as mentioned, the DermLite Carbon directly addresses one of the DL100’s most significant disadvantages, which is the lack of surface visualization. By selecting from either of these two buttons on the Carbon, you can choose to view surface features, or you can look deeper, which is really how most of us spend 99% of our time when it comes to using dermoscopy for evaluating skin lesions, particularly pigmented skin lesions.
But just to play devil's advocate, for many of us working in dermatology, most of us hardly (if ever) use the surface viewing features of our dermatoscopes. Instead, we're of course using these to look deeper in the skin, primarily at pigmented lesions or other deeper changes associated with non-melanoma skin cancers, like basal cell carcinomas.
So, in other words, one could argue that having the extra “linear polarization” option for surface viewing may not necessarily translate into greater functionality for the vast majority of your exams. Though I'm sure most of you know what I mean, let's just show an example. It's cool to see the very superficial lines and dermatoglyphs like we see here, but how often do we really need to do so in clinical practice?
So at least for me, and I think for many others, not being able to visualize superficially isn't necessarily a “deal breaker.”
Also, in another review we talk about the relatively small lens diameter of the DL100. Well, the Carbon specs are similar. So if you're currently using a larger-lensed to dermatoscope allows for a wider field of vision, particularly for larger lesions, and a greater “working distance” --- if you're used to that, then you may need to still consider looking at other units.
And similar to the DL100, another issue to take into account is the “build quality.” The Carbon does feel slightly sturdier than the DL100, but not by much. And the same issue of what can happen if you drop the unit is still a concern. That is, the issue of this filter and tension ring popping out.
And then finally, the battery is also similar to that of the DL100. It's not rechargeable, but instead used the “2CR5” battery which needs to be replaced as needed.
Who should purchase the DermLite Carbon?
Honestly, I'd have to say that the Carbon is best for those who would have found themselves choosing the DL100, but hesitated when they discovered that its capabilities for visualizing surface features were limited. The specs are otherwise similar to the DL100. So in the end, that's the real deciding factor as to why you may choose the Carbon over the DL100.