Camera Review: The DL-9000 aka The ‘Scamera’ by Joe Aguirre


by Bellamy /

4 min read

Camera Review: The DL-9000 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-9000 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-9000” 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 200 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 f16-f6.3
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 100 film, Lomography brand iso 100 Sunset strip xpro film, and Kodak b/w cn iso 400. 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:

18 comments on “Camera Review: The DL-9000 aka The ‘Scamera’ by Joe Aguirre”

    ZDP-189 October 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm / Reply

    LOL. It looks like a Contrarex Bullsh-t.

    Good photos though. It just shows that a poor camera in a talented photographer’s hands is a potent tool.

    Tom October 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm / Reply

    Yeah, these are interesting cameras, not in terns of optical performance, but in how they were sold and branded. Another interesting fact about these cameras… they have lead weights in them to make them feel more like the substantial, higher quality cameras they aren’t! Helps reduce shake though.

      John D October 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm /

      I heard these cameras had weights put in them, but I would doubt if this was lead as this would substantially increase the value of the camera!! A bit like the old joke about doubling the value of a Lada car by putting petrol in the tank.

    Thumpr455 November 9, 2012 at 1:57 am / Reply

    I see these all the time for sale in flea markets here in the US, usually for $10-20 USD. I don’t think too many people are fooled into thinking that they are quality cameras if they see them in person. Online it could be different.
    I’ve only seen one of these Scameras in use once. It was at an auto race (NHRA), and a gentleman spent about 4 hours fiddling with it trying to get it to take a picture. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was just a junky plastic toy camera. He looked like he had bought it thinking it was something good.

    Wayne Hall-Bey July 23, 2013 at 1:32 am / Reply

    i have a nikkei DL-9000 and i trying to finded out how much it’s worth

    Vincin January 21, 2014 at 1:29 am / Reply

    I just used this camera this past Saturday. I had none of the issues with the film, that you spoke of. My issue seems to be that what I see in the view finder is not what is actually being framed. It seems like I have to guess at an angle. for example, this was a group of three friends that I saw clearly through the viewfinder, but it came out angled off like this:

    jerika March 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm / Reply

    OK I just got one these cameras at a yard sale for $4 I can’t get it to take pictures anybody know where I can get a manual

      shemina March 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm /

      same here, i got one (didn’t buy it though) that says Canon DL-9000 and cant figure out how to work it. i hear its a rip-off but i would still be interested in seeing what quality pictures it produces. i’m no photographer so I have no clue how to operate it.

    Obasesam April 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm / Reply

    I love OLYMPIA cameras to the last.

    Gene Brinkley July 24, 2014 at 8:28 am / Reply

    I, also, would like to find an owners manual. I got mine at a garage sale for $5.00. Thought I was really getting a deal. Now I’m worried. Would like to have a manual though, just so I can try it out.

    Angelique Woods March 1, 2016 at 8:55 am / Reply

    Hi! i just obtained one of these cameras and i’m having problems getting it to feed the film. if anyone has any advice that’d be awesome :D

    Farlando Diengdoh April 30, 2016 at 9:59 pm / Reply

    My mum was also cheated by this camera. The model she got was named PENTAX DL-9000 nothing Digital was written, but the sale person told my mum it was a Digital so she bought for Rs 1800 (approx $25) few years ago. It was only yesterday that I found it lying in one corner and just did a search about the model no and I stumble here on this website. The camera works, but considering the fact that film are not in stock nowadays so, it useless as of now. The flash though is good. I tested it with my Nikon D5200 and my dad’s Canon 1000D and it was compatible with both.

    Arman Bakhshi May 21, 2016 at 9:48 pm / Reply

    My father had bought the same few years back with the model number Pentax DL 9000
    Could you tell me how to operate.
    Do they work with normal batteries.

    Kenny Harreslon December 13, 2017 at 5:24 pm / Reply

    I read elsewhere that it uses batteries for the “motor drive,” so that would be the first thing I would check on the camera. I’ll have to hunt one of these up as they seem to take better than normal trashcam pics.

    Howard Maryon-Davis March 6, 2018 at 4:20 am / Reply

    These used to be sold new on ebay in a cheap aluminum “professional outfit case” under the “nikkei” brand for around £200 UK Pounds ($300 US). God only knows who bought them, and I wonder how the sellers managed to sleep at night with so much guilt. I saw one in a flea market, before the whole Lomography thing happened and I was astounded how badly it was made. The previous owner put black tape all over it to keep the light out!

    AHC McDonald March 14, 2018 at 8:19 am / Reply

    I would love one of these!

    David Miller July 28, 2018 at 3:43 am / Reply

    If you wonder how these used to be sold, the “Polo D7100 Sharpshots” is an equivalent digital scamera currently on the market: Really slick advertising, and prices up to $300, for a chunk of cheap plastic.

    Finola Jennings Clark October 6, 2018 at 4:38 am / Reply

    I just picked one up at our local thrift shop here in Saint Lucia – the ladies called me because they knew if it was a good camera, I’d be interested. I knew immediately it was some kind of toy or pretend camera of course, but thought it would be fun to see what it can do – like my awful cheap knockoff GoPro :)
    Unfortunately film is not so cheap here, but I plan to play around with it a bit as you did, see what it does. Mine is called Olympia…no pretensions to being digital and the ‘UV’ filter falls out – haha! However it has a full ‘User Manual’ which itself is a LOL and it has a case! real pleather trim don’t you know!

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