When it comes to weird cameras, they were surely made during the film days. And if anything is to be believed, the Yashica Dental Eye series had to be one of the strangest and most specialized cameras out there. It was quite literally a fixed lens camera with macro capabilities and a built-in ring flash.
So why was it called the Dental Eye? Ring flashes were originally developed for dentists who needed to shoot photos of teeth and other ailments of the mouth and needed direct lighting. The ring flash was developed to solve this problem and worked for many years. But then photographers started to use them for macro shooting and eventually for portraits to get that signature ring in someone’s eyes.
According to the Analog photographer when talking about the first version:
“Almost everything is automatic, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it turned out from my first tests: you can only select whether you activate the flash or use ambient light only (you can also set flash under/overexposure by 1 stop). But there is no flash TTL metering. Instead, it has a simple yet brilliant solution-the flash output remains constant while the aperture gets smaller as the reproduction ratio gets higher. Two problems are solved this way (may be even three, considering the high reflectance of teeth): the photos are always correctly exposed, regardless of shooting distance, and the compensation of the diminishing depth of field. Genial, isn’t it?”
This camera can shoot incredible images in the hands of a skilled photographer and with the right film, the original camera had a 55mm f4 lens while the later versions had a 100mm f4 offering.
Talk about weird, huh?