With a camera expert like Joe on the Lomography Gallery Store San Francisco team, you always know he'll be in the store with some cool new camera. Recently, we found out he was rocking this very odd "scamera" and couldn't help but find out more. Below is Joe's review of this very interesting, and sneaky, lil camera.
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 figured I wasn’t the only one that had seen or attempted to use this toy camera…
Basically what I found 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, it’s the 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 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. It’s 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 Color Negative 100 film, Lomography 100 Sunset strip X-Pro film, and Kodak B/W CN 400.
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?
As with all toy cameras I suggest putting slide film and cross processing or good black and white film and always pushing it! 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.