This paper describes an automatic detection method for small dents on a metal plate. We adopted the photometric stereo as a three-dimensional measurement method, which has advantages in terms of low cost and short measurement time. In addition, a high precision measurement system was realized by using an 18bit camera. Furthermore, the small dent on the surface of the metal plate is detected by the inner product of the measured normal vectors using photometric stereo. Finally, the effectiveness of our method was confirmed by detection experiments.