Does anyone remember the Pentax K1000?
Classic All Mechanical Camera
Back in the mid-80s when I took a high school photography course, the school's camera stable was filled with Pentax K1000s. These were very basic cameras with no bells and whistles. They were toughly constructed out of heavy metal, leather and glass. They were ugly and not all that exciting but for learning the basics of black and white photography they were great for teaching photography. For schools they were perfect because they were inexpensive, tough and easy to operate.
Everything on this basic 35mm film camera was manual - manual film advance, manual shutter speed, manual focus - nothing automatic here.
The only thing electronic in these cameras was the light meter. The light meter was a simple needle that went up and down as you adjusted the shutter speed or aperture. But the camera itself didn't have any intelligence so it was up to the operator to change the shutter speed and/or aperture to get the needle to line up in the proper exposure setting.
My new camera a Panasonic DMC-G2 comes with a 200 page owners manual. These Pentax K1000s could be figured out in a few minutes. In other words the camera did not get in the way of taking pictures and moving on to film development and darkroom work. The Pentax K1000 was the number 2 pencil of the high school photography course.
In so many ways it was the perfect way to start learning photography, capturing light on film with the least amount of distractions between the photographer's vision and the subject.