The first camera I can remember owning took 127 roll film. I bought it with a combination of money I had saved from my allowance as well as mowing yards. I don’t remember the brand, but it might have been an Ansco.
Film processing was expensive, at least relatively so. I had a succession of other cameras — mostly Instamatics — until college.
Once there, I took a number of photography courses, and bought my first real Single Lens Reflex, a Sears SLR which was really made by Ricoh. It took the Pentax screw mount lenses and was totally manual. The biggest problem, the back latch wasn’t as sturdy as one might hope and the back would pop open at inopportune times. Black electrical tape solved that.
My sophomore year, I happened to sell a book about auto racing to a major publisher. The book included photos and I needed better equipment so I moved to Minolta. The bayonet style lenses were a major advance, and my first Minolta was an SRT-100 that I picked up used.
I went through a succession of Minolta cameras from the SRT-101 though the X-700. Minolta around this time began to lose its way. It was slow to market with an autofocus system and slower still with some lens improvements.
Through my newspaper days, we had a variety of equipment, ranging from Pentaxes through Nikons. I know everyone in the newspaper business loved Nikons, but it seemed like we were always having to have them repaired.
Around this time, I ventured into medium format and became a huge Zone System photographer. I loved the larger format negatives, and a Mamiya C330 was the camera of choice. I shot with some view cameras but found them to be incredibly cumbersome and gave up on them fairly quickly.