What is it?
This is a Canon DL Professional 35mm camera made in Japan. The DL is a top of the line camera boasting well over 30 features that are essential for all pros such as a very large flash, an Optical Lens, Motor Drive, Red Eye Reduction, and many, many other features. The Canon DL was sold in various markets for well over a decade. This wasn’t just a state of the art camera, it also represented one of the biggest bargains the photographic industry has ever seen, selling with a list price of ONLY $!
Film Type: (35mm)
Lens: f/ Focus Free Optical Lens
Viewfinder: Scale Focus with 35mm Projected Frame Lines and Waist Level Finder with Fresnel Matte Screen
Exposure Meter: Works with the Metric and Imperial Systems
Battery: Triple Voltage Power
Flash Mount: Very Big Flash with Red Eye Reduction
As a camera collector, I have had the pleasure of shooting quite a number of excellent cameras that have been made over the past years. I’ve shot Leicas, Rolleiflexes, Voigtlanders, Nikons, and countless other models that when they were new, were very expensive and desirable.
There gets to be a point when handling such a variety of great cameras, that you wonder, can it ever get any better than this? Well folks, I am here to tell you that yes, it can, and it has.
I present to you the “Made in Japan” Canon DL professional 35mm camera. Designed to bring you a lifetime of memories in a body that has every feature you could ever imagine. It has not one, but two different viewfinders that are so big, that one might describe them as a “Big Royal Viewfinder”!
The Canon DL being reviewed here today is likely from the late s and was available in other markets under a variety of names, but those other names do not carry with them the “panache” of Canon. There isn’t a collector or photographer who hasn’t at one time owned a Canon camera. From the original Leica Thread Mount Canons, to their excellent F-1 series, all the way to one of the most popular cameras ever made, the AE-1, the pinnacle of cameras with the name “Canon” on them is this DL model.
For starters, this camera is absolutely glorious to look at and has only what can be described as “perfect ergonomics”. It’s almost like the designers of this camera had my hands in mind when creating the mold for this body as it fits perfectly into my hands. The smoked chrome top plate exudes elegance like no other camera. Why settle for black paint or brushed chrome like everyone else when you can have this truly luxurious finish! I also can’t talk about the body of the camera without mentioning it’s weight. Neither too heavy, nor too light, the weight of the DL is sublime, almost like there was a lead weight in it!
I could literally spend an entire day talking to you about how beautiful I think this camera looks, but cameras are designed to make photographs, and what a photograph machine this is. This is a pro camera, you can totally tell by the huge flash that mounts to the camera. If you’ve ever seen any movies or old TV shows from the s or 60s, the best photographers always had cameras with large and bright flashes mounted to the side, and the DL is no exception. It’s such a shame that NASA didn’t have the foresight to bring with them a DL on their Apollo missions and instead went with an inferior Swedish camera, as the flash on this thing would have allowed the International Space Station to have been built in half the time.
A quick glance over the camera reveals a laundry list of professional and helpful features including:
- Focus Free Japanese Optical Lens – Inferior cameras require you to focus the image yourself. What a waste of time! In the case of auto focus cameras, you have to trust some electronic gizmo inside of the camera to “detect” what you want to focus on. Does it always get it right? No! Does the auto focus work well in low light or when shooting through glass windows? Of course not! With the Canon DL, everything is in focus the first time, all the time!
- Telescopic Flash with Red Eye Reduction – I already talked about the flash, but its worth mentioning twice that this thing puts the pro, in “professional”. The three position telescopic function allows you three choices of flash styles. Never again will you have to settle simply for “Normal” flashes. But now you can choose between “Tele” and “Wide” for all those times when you’d need that. No one will doubt your skills or complete mastery of photography if they see you coming with this thing. In fact, I am surprised that upon the original release of this camera, that wedding and sports photographers didn’t completely dominate the market with these things.
- Twin Viewfinders – Most 35mm cameras whether they’re “pro” or “not pro” only have one viewfinder. The DL is not most cameras, however. You get a big and royal see through viewfinder with projected frame lines indicating your exact image, but also a waist level finder with Fresnel screen. Cameras like the Nikon F-series, Canon F1, and Pentax LX require you to remove one viewfinder and install another if you want to swap between different viewfinders. What a waste of time!
- Motor Drive – Motors have been responsible for some of mankind’s greatest achievements, can openers, electric toothbrushes, garage door openers, and so on. Of course a pro camera like the DL has a motor inside of it!
- 3 Volt “Triple Power” – I made up the term “Triple Power” myself as I haven’t actually seen the DL advertised like that, but had the designers of this camera consulted me prior to releasing this camera, I would have been happy to suggest this term which describes the amazing power capabilities of this camera. Some cameras are only capable of v or even v power, this is more than double of that with 3 VOLTS!!!
Single Element Meniscus Lens – By using a simpler single element lens, the geniuses who designed this camera were able to keep the price of this camera at the incredibly low price of $! Other manufacturers from Japan and Germany commit what amounts to highway robbery by tricking you into thinking you need their fancy 4 and 6-element lenses. Sometimes they even have more than 6 elements. SUCKERS!!!!
- Ergonomics – Okay, so this isn’t actually a feature, but you cannot talk about the merits of this camera without talking about the layout of the controls and the large and glorious hand grip which allow any photographer to carry this camera with them literally all day without any fatigue. It’s almost like the designers of this camera just knew exactly how the human hand worked and perfectly designed a camera to fit it.
- All Plastic Body – Finally! A camera you can take through airport security check points and not suffer the embarrassment of flashing lights and loud alarms going off as TSA agents rush you, wondering if that metal gadget in the bag is a bomb or a camera! The all plastic body of the DL is guaranteed to not set off any alarms, and in the unlikely event you want to replace one DL with another DL, the entire camera is fully recyclable. Yes, that’s right, you are helping to SAVE THE PLANET by buying this camera!
- Twin Strap Lugs – The merits of this camera extend beyond the glorious body and the luxurious smoked chrome top plate, but you also get not one, but TWO strap lugs. Never again will you have to just settle for attaching a strap to just one side of the camera. Now you have both!
- Self Timer with Beep Capability – Can you believe that there was a time when cameras didn’t include self timers, and when they did, most of them didn’t beep when they were counting down? Come on!
- On/Off Switch – How frustrating is it to use a Leica M3 or a Crown Graphic and keep searching for the power switch! Never again will you have to guess “is my camera on”? The Canon DL has a large and easy to see power dial prominently located on the top plate of the camera right where you expect it.
- Flashing Red Light – This mesmerizing blinking LED located on the front of the camera is how people you plan to photograph know that you mean business. Studies have shown that humans are attracted to bright blinking red lights and when you point your DL at a group of people, you are GUARANTEED to get a perfect image every time as they become mesmerized by the gloriooousss.r..reeeeeededed…lligiiiiiiii………..
- Chrome Shutter Release Button – Sometimes less is more, and in the case of the chrome shutter release button on the DL, the designers didn’t clutter this critically important part of the camera with other dials, exposure compensation buttons, mode selectors, or other confusing buttons that just get in the way.
- EZ Load Film compartment with Curved Film Plane – When its time to load (or unload) a new 35mm cassette, the back of the DL opens to reveal the EZ Load System. Other camera manufacturers are keen to advertise their systems as “Quick Load” or “Speed Load”, but those systems are not “EZ”. Furthermore, the curved film plane is curved because everyone knows that the surface of the planet is curved, and not flat. This is a camera for the whole world, and the world is round, not flat.
- Passed QC 10 Sticker – The DL was built to the utmost highest quality control standards known to man. This thing is built to provide you with a lifetime of memories and in order to do that, it had to achieve the gold standard of Quality Check stickers, the illustrious “Passed QC 10” sticker!
- Handy Flash Distance Chart with camera settings this camera isn’t capable of – The makers of the DL have included a really nice chart on the top of the flash to show you the confusing settings with things like f/ and f/32 that you might have to deal with if you were not using a pro camera like the DL
I could go on and on and talk about the countless other features like the tripod socket, textured lens grip, “CAMERA LENS CAP”, exposure counter, film transport indicator, fake button below the self timer, little window in film door so you can see what kind of film you have loaded, red power light on the flash, and many, many others.
As you can see, the long list of features of a professional camera like the DL are in a class of their own. Sure, there are some cameras with some of these features, but not all of them, and certainly not at the amazing bargain price of $!!!!
When it came time to test this camera, it wasn’t enough to simply load in just any old crappy film like Kodak Ektar, Fujifilm Velvia, or Revolog Special Effect Film. How could one ever hope to capture the essence of a photograph shot on a groundbreaking camera like the DL with simple Kodak or Fuji film? For my inaugural roll of film, I contacted some Military-Trained Scientist Doctors from NASA and asked them to send over some of their moon film that Stanley Kubrick used when filming the moon landing.
Each of the photos above are amazing masterpieces. The Canon DL is also a masterpiece. If you need any more evidence that the Canon DL is a game changer, I don’t know what else I can say to convince you. This camera can stop time, transport you to other dimensions, freeze moments in time for all eternity. In human history, there have been some amazing achievements, Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, the Moai on Easter Island, and now the Canon DL!
I really appreciate that the company that made this went all out by including so many wonderful features in an elegant and easy to use camera like the DL I know I’ve said it a bunch of times, but for the low, low price of $, or 20 easy installments of $20, you can have yourself a legend.
Run, don’t walk, to the nearest computer, and get online and purchase one of these cameras fine cameras at your nearest local online auction marketplace. If, upon receipt of your package, you do not feel an overwhelming feeling of “what did I just spend my money on”, then see your doctor and get your head checked. Seriously, get your head checked.
|My Final Word|
How these ratings work
|The Canon DL is without a doubt, one of the greatest photographic achievements that mankind has ever known. With a dizzying array of features, perfect ergonomics, dual viewfinders, huge flash, and one of the most flexible lenses ever made, this thing is without a doubt the best camera I have ever used in my life. I’ll likely stop writing reviews after this one because it will only go downhill from here.|
|Images||Handling||Features||Viewfinder||Feel & Beauty||History||Age|
(for both VFs)
|Bonus||+1 for blah blah blah|
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Canon DL “The Scamera”
Although branded as a Canon DL, this camera was made by a Taiwanese company called New Taiwan Photographic Corp. who produced a dizzying array of inexpensive knock off “scameras” or “trashcams” that mimic the design of professional quality SLR cameras, but with far worse quality. New Taiwan produced cameras have appeared with brand names like Canon, Sony, Mitsubishi, and many, many others. Typically sold by mail order or given away as gifts or door prizes, it’s almost impossible to know how many were made or for how long. Many of them show up in garage sales and in online auctions in mint condition because they were hardly used. Despite their look, the camera is extremely poorly made, with a very limited feature set.
Film Type: (35mm)
Lens: f/ Focus Free Plastic Lens
Focus: ~6 feet to Infinity
Viewfinder: Scale Focus with 50mm Projected Frame Lines and Waist Level Finder with Fresnel Matte Screen
Speeds: Single Speed, the Manual says 1/ ~ 1/, but I don’t believe it
Exposure Meter: None
Battery: 2 x AA cells for camera and 2 x AA cells for the flash
Flash Mount: Hot Shoe
Weight: grams (w/ flash), grams (camera only)
How these ratings work
|This summary is usually the very last thing I write when creating reviews, and I’ve already spent far too much time with this camera, that I’ll just simply say this thing is a complete piece of shit. Don’t buy one for shits and giggles. The only thing that “shits” about this camera is your life after having subjected yourself to it.|
|Images||Handling||Features||Viewfinder||Feel & Beauty||History||Age|
|Bonus||-1 because although the straight through viewfinder is sorta cool, everything else is so terrible, I can’t in good conscience give anything higher than a zero score|
According to www.phrases.org.uk, the saying “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”, dates back to the early 19th century with variations on that same message going back even farther. It would seem that mankind has a long tradition of copying other things that are seen as successful.
Such is the way of the Canon DL, a cheap plastic camera with a body and flash that somewhat resembles a professional SLR camera. Of course this camera is not at all made by the same Canon that has made quality photographic equipment since the s. The use of the name and stylized “Canon” logo is a blatant ripoff and trademark violation that Canon probably would have fought if there was any chance they could stop it.
Canon wasn’t even the only major photographic company to have it’s name used on a ripoff like this. There exist models claimed to be made by Sony, Mitsubishi, and Argus. Sometimes, there are names used that aren’t exactly like a real camera company, but come close, like Canomatic, Olympia, Nikai, Nokina, Panasound, Tashika, and Mitsuba. Sometimes the names are just completely made up and mean nothing like Olempia, Gold Star, Cortland, Sonaki, Elco, Sana, Ultima, Akira, Cyber , Nikkei, Globus, Minotar, Yoshita, Yunan, Impac, Fukai, Meikai, Orion, Polo Sharpshots, Millennium , Magnamate, and many others.
Regardless of what name is affixed (often via a sticker) to the product, every one of these trashcams are of very poor quality and made entirely of plastic. The lenses are fixed focus, plastic, and have claimed focal lengths of 50mm with apertures of f/ or on occasion f/ Although made entirely of plastic, the cameras usually have quite a bit of heft, but only because of three metal weights that were glued inside of the camera, giving a false sense of quality.
The name “Canon DL” on the model being reviewed here is an arbitrary name that is one of many used for similarly designed cameras that have been sold all over the world and produced in Taiwan, by a company called New Taiwan Photographic Corp who was founded in and has a long history of producing knock off cameras and other photographic products. On occasion, New Taiwan Photographic Corp. produced products using their own brand name of Ouyama on models like the Ouyama H. Collectiblend has a huge list of many different known models produced by New Taiwan which probably isn’t even complete.
This class of camera is generally considered to be a “toy camera” but have also earned nicknames such “Scamera” or “Trash-Cam” for their clear attempts at pretending to be something they’re not.
The earliest trashcams were usually given away as free gifts for signing up for things like magazine subscriptions or by signing up for a credit card. These early promotional cameras had specifications similar to later models like the DL with a single element plastic (some sites suggest that some were made with a glass element) focus free lens, with a single shutter speed and adjustable apertures.
Two such common examples are the Time Magazine camera given away in the mid s to US subscribers of Time Magazine and the nearly identical Barclaycard camera given away in the UK to those customers who signed up for a new VISA card.
Check out the commercial below from for TIME magazine, where they entice people with great gifts, such as a 35mm camera, just for signing up
It would seem that New Taiwan had enough success building and selling these early promotional models to expand their offerings directly to customers by making models that gave the illusion that they were more than a simple toy.
When a company is in the business of ripping off someone else’s design, it is in their best interest to not keep good records of their history, so finding information about this company was quite difficult. Some sources on the Internet suggest that the earliest products were made in , but I believe that to be earlier as there exist Akira branded names that bear heavy resemblance to the Minolta AF from suggesting the first models were from this time.
As the years went on, the design of the camera evolved, featuring curved lines, a more modern looking lens, and stickers claiming to be made in Japan. Later models bearing a brand name of “Big Royal View” upped the feature set to include an f/ lens (which I doubt), and features like Red Eye Reduction, telescopic flashes, self-timers, zoom lenses, and hilariously, something called “BipBip Blinking”.
Although the packaging of New Taiwan cameras often had stickers claiming to have Suggested Retail Prices as high as $, there is little evidence to support that these cameras were ever sold through traditional retail channels. They were likely given away as gifts or were promotional items offered to people for signing up for a credit card or listening to some telemarketer’s speech. In my research for this article, I was not able to find a single advertisement for these cameras or any type of literature that explains how someone would come across such a camera during their peak of popularity. I couldn’t even find conclusive dates to when they were made.
Amazingly, there were a ton made as these things show up with regularity on auction sites like eBay and shopgoodwill.com. People report seeing them at garage sales, thrift stores, and for sale on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Most sellers acknowledge that these are cheap cameras, but the occasional seller lists it as a professional type camera with prices well over $
My best guess is that the bulk of New Taiwan models were likely produced from the mid to late s through the end of the s or possibly even early s when consumers started to shift away from film cameras to digital models.
The company doesn’t seem to exist today, as they have no current web presence. A few Google searches for their name returns a site which describes the company as:
New Taiwan Photographic has designed and manufactured photographic equipment for over two decades. Our mainland China production facilities boast plastic injection machines and more than 1, skilled workers. This gives us a monthly production capacity of more than one million units. We at New Taiwan Photographic also welcomes your OEM/ODM projects.
The same site suggests the company can be found on the web at www.ouyama.com but the website is no longer maintained. A search through the Wayback Machine at web.archive.org suggests the original website was abandoned sometime in , possibly suggesting the company ceased to exist after that. At the time, their website listed the company’s products as USB hubs, PC web cams, MP3 players, and a few others.
It’s not likely that anyone will ever come up with a more conclusive history about the company simply because the market was so saturated with these types of mass produced cheap consumer goods products made in China and it’s provinces. New Taiwan was likely one of a million such companies that just so happens to have a history making a lineup of cheap cameras that still show up for sale.
Today, there is a small market for collectors and users for these cheap trash-cams. People enjoy running a roll of film through them, not knowing what kind of unique defects they’ll get in their pictures. Odd color casts, light leaks, scratches, and other imperfections that would have otherwise reduced a quality camera like a Nikon or Canon to a repair job, are embraced when shot through these types of cameras. Despite this limited appeal, their values still remain quite low. There are literally hundreds of these for sale online at any moment and many go unsold for prices cheaper than it costs to ship them to a buyer. Still, for as unscrupulous as the company might have been, there is a general curiosity about this camera that just might make them worth checking out…assuming you don’t pay too much.
Last year for April Fool’s Day, I thought it would be fun to post a review for one of these cheap “Big Royal View” scameras pretending to gush over it’s amazing feature set, and then quickly follow it up with an honest review. As it would turn out, “quickly” turned into a whole year as I found it incredibly difficult to get through a full roll of film for some actual sample photographs to share.
My struggle with the camera was in it’s use. This thing is ungainly to hold. In it’s effort to look “pro”, the camera is not a very good “everyday camera”. I could have removed the flash and only carried the camera itself, but I felt obligated to keep the whole lot together which added to my frustration.
We know that this camera was sold under hundreds of different names with different cosmetics but largely the same features. Despite only handling this one Canon DL, I feel as though I can draw conclusions that are true of most New Taiwan cameras, and the first is that this thing is garish. It’s big, and surprisingly heavy. The weight of the camera suggests that there’s quite a bit of complex electronics, metal gears, and levers inside of this thing.
With the flash, but no batteries, the camera weighs grams. Take off the flash and the camera by itself weighs grams which is still a far cry from a fully loaded Nikon F5 with lens, extended battery grip, and auxiliary flash might, but for the target market, this thing does have some heft…
…but where?! This thing is made almost entirely of plastic, there is absolutely no glass anywhere, not the lens, not the viewfinder, nothing. The weight has to come from something though, it’s almost like as if there are lead weights inside of the camera.
In a very laughable, yet totally unsurprising revelation, after removing a few screws at the bottom of both the camera and the flash, not one, not two, but three metal weights were found to be contributing to the DL’s heft. Weighing a total combined grams, these weights make up almost HALF of the entire camera’s gram weight. After putting the bottom plate back onto the camera body without the flash or any of the weights, the camera itself weighs only grams, a weight much more in line with it’s cheapness.
The build quality of the camera is as cheap as you’d expect with plastic panels that don’t quite match up with other plastics on the camera. You can see casting marks all over the body from the injection molding machines which made them. The top half of the camera has some type of smoked chrome plating on top of the plastic that scratches easily and shows pretty much every fingerprint that you put on it.
There’s two viewfinders, a waist level finder that’s on top of what would normally be a pentaprism (which the camera lacks) that offers a pseudo-TLR experience through the “hole” above the main taking lens of the camera. The other viewfinder is a straight through reverse Galilean type on the back of the camera that is quite large. The rear viewfinder is pretty much the only part of the camera that pleasantly surprised me. The viewfinder has a bluish tint to it with projected bright lines not unlike a quality rangefinder from the s or 70s. Although this is a focus free camera, and there is no way to gauge distance when looking through the viewfinder, for a very brief moment, you can actually forget that you have a crummy plastic camera to your eye when looking through it.
As soon as you pull the viewfinder away from your eye however, that all goes away again. Comparing the two viewfinders, the rear one is far more useful, and predictably offers a very different view than the waist level one which offers a heavily distorted and completely useless view of your image. I don’t think that New Taiwan made any effort to provide a viewfinder that correctly shows what a 50mm lens would capture on film. In fact, even though the sticker on top of the lens says it has a 50mm lens, I doubt very much that anyone took the time to measure the actual focal length of the “lens”.
Loading film into the camera requires a lock on the camera’s left side to be unlatched, allowing the door to open. The right hinged door is extremely flimsy and brings into doubt the light-leak preventing capabilities of the door. Loading film into the camera is a mostly uneventful experience with a new cassette going on the left and the take up spool on the right. Conveniently, the DL has a clear plastic window on the back door allowing you to read the text on the side of the 35mm cassette, like most cameras from the late 80s and 90s did.
Although the DL offers automatic film advance, the camera lacks a modern film quick loading system where you pull out the film leader to a certain point, close the door, and let the camera handle the rest. You still need to attach the leader to the spool and fire the shutter a couple of times to make sure it captures the leader correctly. Thankfully, the shutter fires as normal with the door open. If you are still unsure as to whether the film is advancing properly after closing up the camera, there is a film travel indicator on the top plate of the camera that rotates each time the film is advanced.
Other than the sole exception of the “sorta good” rear viewfinder, shooting with the camera is not a pleasant experience. The camera constantly creaks in your hands while holding it. The front aperture ring has absolutely no dampening and rotates as you might expect two pieces of injection molded plastic rubbing against each other. The shutter release requires varying degrees of pressure to fire. I found that sometimes it would fire with a gentle press, other times, I needed so much force, I could hear the entire body creaking in my hands. The film advance motor literally sounds like a dying cow each time the film advances. There were many times I thought that it was about to completely short out before it could make it to the next exposure. I used the same freshly charged NiMH Panasonic Eneloop AA batteries that I use to power my Nikon SB Speedlight, and I know these batteries have a strong and powerful discharge rate, so any failure of the internal motor couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with a shortage of power.
The Konica AiBorg can finally breathe a sign of relief as it is no longer the worst camera I have ever shot. I went into this review with as low of expectations as I think I could possibly have, and somehow Cano…I mean New Taiwan has managed to lower the bar even farther. I am confident that you could take a time traveler from the 14th century, an alien from an uncivilized planet, a newborn baby, or even a scarecrow, and show them this camera alongside the crappiest s fixed focus Vivitar point and shoot camera, and ask them which was the more capable photographic tool, and they’d correctly pick the Vivitar each and every time.
Quite simply, using this camera sucked. It sucked more than I thought a camera could suck. My life is worse now after having used this camera. I am currently seeking counseling…
The Canon DL, along with every other New Taiwan product is not a serious camera, but I wanted to approach this review as if it was. I loaded in a roll of fresh Fuji film because I am very familiar with it and I know what to expect from any images I got from it. I wanted to give this camera as good of a chance as possible to show what it could do. I made an attempt to set the correct aperture setting for the scene I used it in. I used the flash a couple of times, shot indoors, and outdoors.
Although I shot a 24 exposure roll through the camera, a good half of the images didn’t come out at all. They were either completely black or just blurry blobs of nothingness. Of the ones where there was an image on them, many of them were heavily blurred, suggesting either the shutter stayed open way too long, or that body shake caused significant blur to the photos. Nearly all of them had light leaks, some which can be seen here. Quite simply, the images I got from this camera were the worst I’ve seen from any camera I’ve ever used.
I realize these cameras were meant to be built as cheaply as possible and were likely never going to be marketed towards a real photographer. I doubt the designers at New Taiwan had any illusion that anyone would pay $ for a camera like this, but I wonder what they might have been able to accomplish had they tried a bit harder.
Instead of making “ripoff” cameras pretending to be made by someone else, and boasting things like “Made in Japan” lenses that weren’t, and mimicking a large SLR camera that required three metal weights to give some heft to, the company might have found a real market for a cheap, but good camera that could have been marketed towards children or beginning photographers.
A few changes like a much smaller body would have been a good start. There’s just no reason a camera needs to be this big. A majority of the insides are hollow plastic, so why not shrink the body down to that of a smaller SLR like an Olympus OM-series. The through the body optical viewfinder is actually decent, and could stay, but the waist level finder is completely useless and doesn’t even correctly show a 50mm frame, so it should have been omitted. Since there’s no need for a prism, they could make the camera even smaller than an Olympus OM-series.
Next, they could get rid of the gimmicky plastic covering like the smoked chrome top plate. Just make the whole thing out of matte finish black plastic that wouldn’t scratch as easily or show fingerprints. I think that the money they could save by not putting in the three metal weights could have been used to make a more solid and durable body.
Finally, replace the single element meniscus lens with a glass one. I’m not talking a Tessar here, meniscus lenses can have their charm, and on 35mm can look pretty decent but even a glass doublet would have been a huge upgrade from what this has.
That’s really it. Get rid of the gimmick garbage, give it a smaller and better designed plastic body, and put in a glass lens. Oh, and a real user manual too so people could actually understand it. I think a cheap camera like this could have been produced and sold for $20 – $30, and I bet people would have bought it. But no, they decided to keep churning these things out for well over a decade.
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Camera Review: The DL aka The ‘Scamera’ by Joe Aguirre
Guest writer Joe Aguirre found an interesting camera a while back and told me about it. He mainly told me how there was no info on it anywhere, so I asked him to write about it…and he did. Check it out.
The DL aka The ‘Scamera’
so, where do I begin? First I guess is an apology for my grammar…Moving along.
I recently came across a very curious looking camera,the size of a DSLR with a bit of weight to it, but made mostly out of plastic.
The front of the camera says “DIGITAL” with the model number “DL” I can assure you this camera has no digital anything.
After seeing all this I started searching the internet for photos from this camera and maybe some info. I figure I wasn’t the only one that had seen or attempted to use this toy camera…
Basically What I got was 2 photos on Flickr, and one 1 article on a random camera enthusiast blog.
The information I gathered basically told me that this was a re-branded camera under many names, including Canon, Nikkei, and Olympia. A modern day Diana F, or something like the 35mm Time Magazine camera. The Most interesting thing about this camera isn’t the camera or even the interesting, imperfect pictures it makes, it’s the fact that these things are selling for dollars on eBay!!!!
SCAM CAM ALERT. Basically they are trying to market this thing as an entry level “digital” camera and when you get it, it’s a plastic lens toy camera worth about 8 bucks at most. I feel very happy having found this in a free bin at a thrift store.
So what do I talk about now? Specs?
35mm film camera
Auto advance/auto rewind
square aperture adjustable from ff
recessed 50mm lens
fake UV filter covering lens(non removable)
fixed focus, you have to guess whats in focus depending on what aperture you are using.
single pin hot shoe
comes with detachable flash and bracket
After using it I found I actually like this camera and will use it when I feel like experimenting with a toy camera. Its very odd, every picture comes out a little different, I think it has to do with the take up spool not holding the film tight enough allowing it to curve, giving a soft and selective focus to things, as well as making some shots look like a tilt shift camera almost.
The fake UV filter adds some flare and ghosting to the shots as well. Also on most of my photographs if you look at the edges you see a hard triangle vignette in the very corner and some sort of lines along the edges as well. I think that has to do with the square aperture. I wasn’t expecting much from this camera to be honest, I don’t think anyone really would, but I see something really unique in it. The quality makes me think of old Vivitar point and shoots but, with tons more unpredictability.
Now I wouldn’t take this to a wedding, but I would definitely shoot this on trips and at bars just screwing around, I think I may even take this out to shoot a landscape soon…The photos you see here are from 3 different film stocks, Lomography brand iso film, Lomography brand iso Sunset strip xpro film, and Kodak b/w cn iso they were all processed and scanned at the local 1 hour lab, I feel if you are gonna shoot lofi you might as well keep it cheap.
If it came down to it, this would never have a place in my camera bag compared to an old Yashica or Vivitar p/s but it definitely wins over a 35mm holga any day. It may not leave the shelf a lot from now on, but when I do I think I will be reminded why I kept it and why I love toy cameras. They have a time and place just like any camera film, digital, iPhone…whatever. In the right hands these “TOYS” could be an amazing tool to create art, I mean you don’t build a birdhouse with a sledgehammer right?
Any-hoo I just thought I would write a little something about this camera I had never seen, that yielded some pretty interesting results. As with all toy cameras I suggest putting slide film and cross processing or good black and white film and always pushing it! I wish I had more time to shoot true black and white in this camera but I decided I wanted consistent results and for that I had to use c41 process and a 1 hour lab. I hope you enjoyed the photos and the write up, maybe one day you will stumble upon one or another interesting camera that I will one day read about. I hope this at least stops people from buying them at a price over 10 bucks!
Thanks for sharing that Joe. Very interesting results.
Check out Joe’ bag, his work and his thoughts.
Some more pics with the Scamera:
Camera dl 9000
.I #Bought A #Fake #Counterfeit #Canon #Q8200 #Camera! I #Tear The #Fugazi #Apart! #AndreReese
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