135compact.com       35mm half format cameras       (Kyocera) Yashica Samurai X 3.0

The Yashica Samurai X 3.0 was first released by Kyocera in 1988. 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 was a X 4.0 successor with a longer zoom, with an even bigger body and a redesigned Z model, quite a bit smaller with quite some manual settings. 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 1:3,5-4,3/25-75mm, 14 elements, closest focus 1m

Shutter speeds 2 to 1/500
Size 120 x 126 x 67 mm, Weight : 609 gr. with battery
ISO 50-3200, sequence shooting, self-timer, data imprint, diopter adjustment for the finder

Front. Big lens (filter thread: 49mm) and flash.

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

Left side. Tele/wide buttons, shutter release. These 3 buttons sit in a separate plastic piece which is held by just one screw. If unscrewed, you will find the backup battery (CR 2025). Fiddle it open from the bottom, it's hooked at the top. Do not try to change the backup battery without some basic DIY skills and understanding what you do. It's at your own risk.

On the right towards the bottom: battery compartment, takes an unusual 2CR5 battery.

Right side. on/off switch.

Top. There is an accessory flash connector available which covers the built-in flash.

Bottom. Tripod socket and switch to open the back.

Back open.

Full zoom. It doesn't extend a lot.

Camera and leather case.

Yashica Samurai X 3.0 is a very big and heavy camera, it's not a compact 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 (see above). If necessary, you can reset the camera via the mid roll rewind.