Camera Oddities: Yashica Dental-Eye Dental 80s medical camera.

Last weekend in Boston while visiting the girlfriend, I came across an older woman selling a few cameras. Most were your typical junk --- plastic point and shoot cameras, and then I came across this case:


I opened it and saw a massively wide lens on what looked like some kind of modified Yashica body. At first look, I thought it was one of those undesirable mirror telephoto lenses, but upon further inspection and research, it turns out that this is actually a ringlight (and the only kind I know of that is actually built into a lens).

yashica dental eye

A bit of history about the Yashica Dental Eye: There were a few different models, the one I located being the first production model. As the name suggests, this camera was a medical tool used to take images of teeth. Because of this, that massive lens is a 1:1 macro. I don't think I've ever been able to closer to a subject before. It's kind of unreal, you shouldn't be able to focus that close with a 55mm lens.

I took some photos of my friends Kara, Dave, & Anna with some Ektar 100 film (developed at home in my sink so excuse the dust):

The built in ringlight certainly came in handy, and I've found that sliding it to the off position (on the piece that looks like a battery film winder, but it actually the power for the flash) doesn't always quiet turn it all the way off, and it's difficult to plan your shots accordingly. Seems to be easier to just leave it in the "ON" position.

As far as the digital date readout, this was for some reason only applied on certain photos. This may have something to do with the fact that winding the shutter didn't always seem to work, and I didn't want to force it.

yashica dental eye back

As far as focusing on things that aren't uncomfortably close, this is the furthest away Kara could be to stay in focus:

I've always wanted to be able to get closer to my subject than what my Mitakon 85mm allows. Also, this fabric is a piece of a fancy vintage lampshade.

This quirky little piece of history was a fun camera to mess around with, and I'd like to give it another try in the future. Maybe I'll find some ladybugs when it finally stops snowing in Jersey.