Saturday, February 18, 2012

The User’s Review: How many versions of Kyocera/Yashica Samurai X3.0 released since 1987

I saw an old Samurai X3.0 invoice that priced the camera with a case at USD 342.88 in 1988.

Yashica was one of the most active manufactures in production of 35mm half-frame cameras. Among its half-frame models, Samurai X3.0 is Yashica’s first with autofocus. As I understand, X3.0 indicates the zoom range (25 – 75mm, 25 X 3 = 75). Inside X3.0, film runs vertically, making the SLR body like a video camera. However, the vertical transportation of film was not new to Yashica, which had a Sequelle (1962) with a similar system.

The author, , wrote a wonderful blog article on Samurai  in Chinese language at This review talked about the functions of all four models of Samurai. By following the Samurai X3.0 online, I found that there were also many versions of X3.0 out there. As I learned, X3.0 was first sold as Kyocera Samurai X3.0, which had at least three color versions of main switch, zoom buttons and lens ring in either black, red or green. Soon later, Yashica Samurai X3.0 took the place of the Kyocera. Yashica Samurai X3.0 also has the color versions, but they are different from the Kyocera ones by having a flash mount on the top.  Some Yashica Samurai X3.0 missed the flash mount plate on the top. However, the four screw holes should still be seen there. To me, the attached flash capability should not be in the original design because, with the extra flash installed and the in-body flash blacked by the plate, the in-body flash still fires when using the external flash.

There are also three versions of battery cover for X3.0, making the camera look different. Most importantly, an unique version, specially assembled for me, equipts a hand strap with a pad on the battery cover. Yes, this version of battery cover was manufactured by Yashica, but for Samurai X4.0. I find that its cover with hand strap fits onto my X3.0 and is more comfortable to hold the camera.

As both Camerapedia and Subclub mentioned, there were both left and right hand versions available. I see only the right hand ones. If you happen to own a left hand version, please confirm me. BTW, the X3.0 manual says that two hands are needed to hold and operate the camera. If the zoom button were moved to the finger pad by the lens, one-hand operation/hold was possible. Moreover, a clear version was also made for demo, Subclub also says.

Finally, what I want to mention is the so-called golden model of ‘Grand Prix 88 ’. Actually, it IS the Yashica Samurai X3.0, and is a special version with the golden buttons and ring, produced after the model won the 5th Camera Grand Prix in 1988 (  Now called the Camera of The Year since 2008). 

Three versions of battery covers

The shoe-mount flash in 'off' position
The shoe-mount flash in 'on' position
The eyepiece cup is listed for X4.0 in its manual,
but can be used on X3.0 

Two versions of Samurai X3.0 cases. The hard case with a
wider shoulder strap on the left is for the golden X3.0.

This should be the original Kyocera Samurai without
flash mounting plate and screw holes on its top.


  1. Great info on a great camera! Thanx!

  2. Any idea how many Grand Prix 88's were made, I have two at the moment, both came from USA and have similar serial numbers (less than 20 apart).

  3. Just sold my set of three Yashica Samurai X3.0 and a Grand Prix 88.

    1. Thanks. Saw your TRANSPARENT version. Wondering if you can send me a few images and let me use them here in my blog? Thanks.

  4. Set of three Kyocera X3.0 (black/green and red) coming soon. Hope to be selling a set of Samurai digital and APS cameras soon.

  5. Did I ever send you the photos. Feel free to get in touch if still interested?