135compact.com       35mm half format cameras       Kyocera (Yashica) Samurai Z2

The Kyocera Samurai Z2 was first released by Kyocera in 1990. It has an unusual body format which looks like compact video cameras of those days. The camera is a true SLR, giving 18x24mm half-frame images, 72 pictures on an ordinary 36 exp. film. The Samurai was marketed with both, Yashica and Kyocera branding. It's vertically orientated, so that the format appears in usual landscape mode whereas most half formats use portrait mode.

The camera is fully automatic, exposure, focus, film wind. There are nearly no manual settings. There were several predecessors, a X 3.0 first, quite big, a X 4.0 with a longer zoom, with an even bigger body and a redesigned Z model, quite a bit smaller with quite some manual settings. The Z2 is a Z minus some settigs.  All were also made as left-hand models. And there was a smaller APS model, which is a cheaply made non-SLR.

The camera's main features are:

35mm film half-frame camera, picture size 18x24mm (~17x24)
Yashica Zoom Lens 1:4.5-5.6/25-75mm, 12 elements, closest focus 1m at wide, 0.7m at tele setting

Shutter speeds 2 to 1/500
Size 108 x 119 x 63 mm, Weight : 530 gr. with battery
ISO 50-3200, sequence shooting, self-timer, data imprint, diopter adjustment for the finder

Camera with cap, flash folded.

Front. Big lens
(filter thread: 43mm) and flash unfolded.

Back view. Finder with diopter adjustment. LCD sreen, no date imprint set. Date format choice and setting. Mode setting: Auto flash (default), night mode (flash off), slow shutter sync and flash on. No proper flash off mode. Mid roll rewind. Drive modes: Single mode
(default), continuous, self timer and self timer 3 shots. Film presence window taped due to bad light seal.

Back with film presence window open.

Left side. Tele/wide switch, shutter release. The battery compartment lid has an integrated hand strap.

Compartment open, takes an unusual 2CR5 battery. There is a
backup battery (CR 2025), not easy to access (see end of the page).

Right side. On switch, unfolds the flash. To shut the camera off, push the flash slightly towards the back an fold. The bottom has a tripod socket and a switch to open the back.

Back open.

Full zoom. It doesn't extend a lot.

Camera, pouch and shoulder strap.

Camera in pouch.

Pouch closed

Size comparison to a X 3.0.

Yashica Samurai Z2 is still big and quite heavy, it's not a compact camera properly speaking. Nevertheless it was a big success in those days and it's still sought after by collectors.

It takes sharp pictures, no doubt about that. Wide or zoom, it's sharp. It's completely automatic, but it gets it right even under difficult circumstances. So this is point and shoot at a very high level. If you can deal with its bulky body, it's a nice find.

The backup battery is often a problem, if it's empty (indicated by a blinking date) , the camera won't work properly. The X 3.0 is the easiest for a battery change. The Z cameras are more complicated, I'll explain below. I have read that on the X 4.0 the battery is solderd and very difficult to access. Do not try to change the backup battery without some basic DIY skills and understanding.what you do. It's at your own risk.

Camera apart on my work table. You have to take off the finder housing. It's 2 longer screws, keep all screws apart. There is a sliding plastic part which seems to be a dust protection.

Then unscrew the bottom plate, it's 2 thicker screws.

The cover has 4 screws, 2 at the bottom, one in the front housing (the hole is between the capacitor and the lens barrel) and one near the strap lug. Do not touch the capacitor! Try to wiggle the cover free, beginning at the bottom towards the back side, then wiggle towards the top, still towards the back side, then try to lift it a bit without forcing anything and keep tearing and wiggling towards the back. It will free itself with a snap.

The battery, a CR2025, is now accessible. Make a photo how it sits to remember where to put it exactly. It sits between 2 metal connectors and can be cautiously pushed towards the bottom. Pay attention not to damage the flat wires. To put the new one in, hold the inner (+) connector down with a small screwdriver and shove the battery under the outer connector. Have a look at the  LCD screen, it should be alive again and blinking should have stopped. Put back the cover, begin by inserting it into the front housing. A bit of wiggling again and it will snap back into place. Rescrew, put viewer housing and bottom plate and you are done.

If necessary, you can reset the camera via the mid roll rewind.