My first camera was a Brownie Hawkeye. It was a point-and-shoot medium format (620 film) camera with no adjustments. My mother used similar cameras to photograph my sisters and me. We put the sun behind us and let our subjects look into it. But, in spite of our cameras' lack of light meters, zoom lenses, and program modes we created some wonderful images. And photography was easy and intuitive.
Several years ago I bought a new Seagull twin-lens reflex for what I considered a modest price ($200). It's a fun camera, one I use with both black and white and colour film. It's the sort of camera one uses for family photos in the back yard on a Sunday afternoon. It uses 120 film and produces sharp images. As I learned earlier large negatives compensate, a least somewhat, for inexpensive lenses
The Seagull has an adjustable lens and shutter speed, but no light meter. One either guesses at exposure (which is almost unheard of in this technological time but which can be quite effective) or uses a light meter.
While the Seagull is fun to use and inexpensive, another medium format camera – the Holga – has recently created a lot of interest. It's plastic and costs $25. The LensCulture blog today featured an article about the Holga, including an audio interview with Michelle Bates, photographer and author of a new book Plastic Cameras, and Toying With Creativity. She explains why this idiosyncratic camera has become popular with new and experienced photographers. It's fun to use, and the photographs have qualities and characteristics which are unique.
Sometimes photographers feel a need to do something new, to create a new project or to buy a new camera or a new lens. The next time I feel that need I think I'll buy a Holga.