Canon DL-9000

What is it?

This is a Canon DL-9000 Professional 35mm camera made in Japan. The DL-9000 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-9000 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 $399.95!

Film Type: 135 (35mm)
Lens: f/6.3 Focus Free Optical Lens
Focus: Free
Viewfinder: Scale Focus with 35mm Projected Frame Lines and Waist Level Finder with Fresnel Matte Screen
Shutter: Yes
Speeds: All
Exposure Meter: Works with the Metric and Imperial Systems
Battery: Triple Voltage Power
Flash Mount: Very Big Flash with Red Eye Reduction
Weight: 912 grams
Manual: http://www.cameramanuals.org/minolta_pdf/minolta_autowide.pdf

My Thoughts

Canon has made many great cameras over the years, this is a fact that cannot be disputed.

As a camera collector, I have had the pleasure of shooting quite a number of excellent cameras that have been made over the past 100 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-9000 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”!

Canon made some pretty good cameras, but none like the Canon DL-9000.

The Canon DL-9000 being reviewed here today is likely from the late 1990s 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-9000 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-9000 is sublime, almost like there was a lead weight in it!

You can always spot a pro photographer by how big his camera is.

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 1950s or 60s, the best photographers always had cameras with large and bright flashes mounted to the side, and the DL-9000 is no exception. It’s such a shame that NASA didn’t have the foresight to bring with them a DL-9000 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:

    • This is where the magic happens!
    • 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-9000, 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-9000 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-9000 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-9000 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 1.35v or even 1.5v power, this is more than double of that with 3 VOLTS!!!
    • Look at all the science in this elaborate illustration of a meniscus lens!

      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 $399.95! 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-9000 is guaranteed to not set off any alarms, and in the unlikely event you want to replace one DL-9000 with another DL-9000, 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-9000 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-9000 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-9000, 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-9000 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-9000 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-9000 have included a really nice chart on the top of the flash to show you the confusing settings with things like f/2.8 and f/32 that you might have to deal with if you were not using a pro camera like the DL-9000.

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-9000 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 $399.95!!!!

My Results

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-9000 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-9000 is also a masterpiece. If you need any more evidence that the Canon DL-9000 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-9000!

The Canon DL-9000 crushes all of it’s competition.

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-9000. I know I’ve said it a bunch of times, but for the low, low price of $399.95, 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-9000 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
9999 E+999 2 30 4
(for both VFs)
2 All DIV/0
Bonus +1 for blah blah blah
Final Score Googolplex

8 Comments

  1. Brilliant Mike, a lot of thought obviously went into your review of this fantastic feature rich camera. IF it came in any other colour except black I’d buy two just in the extremely unlikely event that one turns out to be crap. 🙂

  2. People panicked over HG Wells War of the Worlds broadcast. People haven’t gotten any smarter, in fact there are quite a few more today that are as sharp as the broad side of an ax then there used to be. Remember the pet rock? Now we have bottled water and soon air. You need a disclaimer at the beginning at least as large as the title or even larger for those poor unfortunate idiots.

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