The Yashica Samurai X3.0 camera came out of left field to me. I have run the #halfframeclub for almost 2 years, but this camera never fit my idea of what a half frame camera should be. It’s big and clunky with full auto, zoom, weird bridge design SLR, it looks like an old mini camcorder and unlike the majority of half frame cameras out there, it shoots in landscape mode. But, throw in some quality Yashica glass, and some of the #halfframeclub members have been producing some amazing images with it. So over time I became intrigued and eventually I decided to take a gamble on it. Maybe it would be like a half frame T2, 3, 4 or 5…
I test all my new cameras with either HP5+ or Superia 400. I have used Hp5+ as my primary B&W film since college photography classes back in ‘03, but I have only been using Superia for the last few years or so… When I got back into film photography, I ordered a K1000 on eBay and when it came I realized I didn’t have any film lying around except some old rolls of Scala. I went down to my old photo store and Superia 400 was the only color film they had in stock under $10 so I went for it. I was really surprised with the results and found that with a bit of overexposure (news flash c-41 likes to be overexposed!) the results were really nice. These days I always have at least half a dozen rolls in the fridge ready to go in case a new camera falls into my lap.
It was warm and sunny Memorial Day weekend. I had some family and friends hanging out all weekend. It was a full-on beach scene, suns out, buns out. So I loaded the Samurai with a roll of Superia 400, used a strip of electrical tape to hack the DX code to 100 and went about my business. I carried the Samurai around my neck all weekend. I used a polarizer sometimes but didn’t take notes on which frames because I was just having too much fun with the camera. I got a lot of questions and a few dirty looks.
I put the date stamp on most of the images because I have recently become infatuated with date stamps thanks to @londoncameraproject. I took the roll down to my local lab North Coast Photographic Services, herein are the results…
The images are by no means perfect. There’s some weird vignetting on the bottom of some of the shots. The focus isn’t always good, especially in low light. The flash looks pretty solid, but I shoot with a flash < 5% of the time. I was stoked enough with these results that I decided to shoot this camera all summer. I also wrote a full review on the camera for the halfframeclub website (www.halfframeclub.com)
If you dig this check out our website or @halfframeclub on Instagram for more half frame shots.
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9 thoughts on “5 frames with a Yashica Samurai X3.0 and Fuji Superia 400 – By Dan Marinelli”
I had one of these. Definitely an odd form factor when compared to other cameras. However there was no need for the designers to make it look or feel like a ‘normal’ camera. I like it because they retain the landscape aspect and make it one handed operation. Canon did it similarly with the even more quirky Dial 35 which was clockwork 🙂
Landscape orientation is clutch indeed, as is a one-handed operation. Surprisingly the zoom can be pretty handy as well.
Excellent. Always been interested in one of these but they’re the absolute antithesis of stealth!
Completely true, but they are great conversation starters. People always stop you to ask what it is 🙂
Dan, thanks for the mention.
I can’t believe you got your review out before me! Great article though mate. You know I love this camera. The shot of thebougainvillea is beautiful. The half frame facility is obviously awesome. I got 75 shots from a roll of Superia last week and I’ve put a couple of rolls of Lomo slide through it this week.
Have you tried it in low light? I’ve stuck it on a tripod and shot with the flash off. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Ha, there’s room for more reviews and I am sure we have different perspectives to share. Haven’t tried a tripod yet, I was planning on doing night project soon though…But the slowest shutter speed is only 2 seconds I think. Be sure to send over the results with the lomo slide film. Thanks!
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Anyone know how to change the internal battery on these? I have one, have loved it, but need an internal battery swapped out. Thanks in advance!
I know it’s like 3 years later but LOVED the photos shared her, especially the umbrella. What a quirky camera