Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
Anything requiring mercury batteries, apart from the inconvenience of futzing with ill-fitting zinc-air cells, is also verging on being a relic with a good chance of age-related problems affecting reliability/functionality. After the usual chorus of counter-claims, testimonials and CLA recommendations dies down, remember you'll still be relying on a 40-50 year-old camera whose reputation for toughness will be cold comfort when it breaks or produces poorly-exposed negatives. Forget about retro fashion statements. Get the newest, most reliable gear you can. There seems to be budget enough according to the OP.
Rubbish... The only cameras that have ever left me completely in the lurch were electronic marvels...

Meters can be very easily tested for accuracy at home and a roll of film can guarantee that a shutter is operating normally.

Classic cameras go *slowly* out of adjustment with age, whereas electronic marvels can drop dead suddenly and without warning.