Yashica FX-3

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The FX-3 was a very popular, manually-operated, 35mm single lens reflex camera, released by Yashica in 1979. It has a vertical metal-bladed mechanical focal plane shutter with speeds up to 1/1000, an exposure meter with a simple 3-LED reading in the viewfinder, and no automatic metering or focusing modes. The camera is very compact and lightweight for an SLR design, and weighs about 1 pound (450 grams). One of the camera's greatest attributes is that it will accept all manual-focus Contax/Yashica lenses, including the superb Carl Zeiss T* lenses intended for the Contax line. The FX-3 was available only in black, though there was also an otherwise identical FX-7 model that came in a chrome finish.

In 1984 the FX-3 was replaced by the FX-3 Super, that added a vestigial grip to the body, a flash-ready indicator in the finder, and moved the meter switch to the shutter release button. It too was only sold in black finish. Kyocera (which had acquired Yashica in 1983) released the FX-7 Super in 1985, exactly the same camera finished in chrome.

In 1986 the FX-3 Super was in turn succeeded by the FX-3 Super 2000 with a shutter speed range extended to 1/2000, and a wider ISO range from 25 - 3200 ISO instead of 12 - 1600. This final succesor to the FX-3 was produced until 2002; after millions of this model had been made.

These inexpensive cameras have developed a reputation for reliability, mostly due to their extremely simple construction and durable metal chassis with plastic outer shell. The leatherette exterior covers of the FX-3 tend to disintegrate after a few years, but are easily replaced. Later Super 2000 models were sourced from China, and some components were changed to lower costs.


FX-3 FX-7 FX-3 Super FX-7 Super FX-3 Super 2000
Introduction 1979 x 1984 1985 1986
finish Black Chrome Black Chrome Black & Chrome
Shutter Speed 1-1000 of a sec 1-2000 of a sec
ISO 12 - 1600 25 - 3200
Finder Flash LED X O
Grip X O


According to a 1980 review in UK magazine Practical Photography, Yashica/Cosina skimped on the FX-3/FX-7 metering circuity. Readings are accurate through the whole range at 100 ASA, but with higher film speeds they become incrementally inaccurate at lower shutter speeds. So for example, at 400 ASA, otherwise correct exposure at 1 sec displays as under exposure; at 800 ASA, otherwise correct 1 and 1/2 second speeds each display as under exposure. The ethos at work here was that most users don't shoot below 1/30th.