Welcome to "That Gear Page" where today we will be taking a quick first look at a recently acquired Yashica Samurai X3.0 '88 Grand Prix Edition. If you are here looking for a lengthy in-depth review I'm not your guy. I personally get nothing out of reading all those specs and numbers so I'm not going to bore you with them, however, you will get my unbiased thoughts about the camera and the results obtained with it.
I've been trying to track down a Samurai for a year or so now without much luck. There always seem to be a few models on Ebay but with the upswing in interest in film photography, they go for some pretty ridiculous prices in my opinion and I have never been willing to shell out the money. In the end I did wind up paying more than I wanted to ($40) but I had never come across the gold accented Grand Prix edition before so I went for it. The camera also came with the original hard case that was in really good shape other than the velcro latch needing to be glued back into place.
The camera itself arrived with a dead battery and a mystery roll of Kodak 800 speed film loaded in it. Other than the average wear marks the camera looks to be in good shape and once it had a fresh battery loaded it proceeded to fire right up. Ergonomically you hold the camera just like you would a video camera which is fairly easy to do with the hand grip that sticks out from the right side. The hand grip piece also does double duty as the battery compartment cover. Now this where my two biggest complaints about the camera come from. First is the fact that instead of the zoom buttons being placed where you natural rest your fingers by way of the hand grip they are placed above and behind your hand so that you are forced to use your left hand to reach over the top of the camera in order to use them. Completely dumb and a major design flaw if you ask me. Second is the fact that the shutter button is also located behind the hand grip and while I can reach it with my thumb (barely) it's not comfortable to use at all. Now with that said the one feature I do really like is that the Yashica uses the "landscape" format just like you would see in a normal SLR instead of "portrait" like you find in most half-frame cameras.
Now for some quick specs and pricing history. This camera came out in 1989 with a price tag of $239 which would have been pretty expensive back then heck it's expensive even in today's world. Now if we convert that $239 into 2016 funds it comes out to $465. Maybe this is where some folks come up with their Ebay pricing.
Format : 17 x 24mm
Lens : 25 - 75mm F3.5 to F4.3
Shutter : 2s - 1/500
Metering : TTL
Film Speed : DX Range 50-3200
Battery : 1 2CR5
Once I get a roll or two of film put through the camera I will post the results both good and bad as well as my final thoughts on using the Samurai. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below.