I have a very different take on this. If you are a beginner, start with good quality, fresh stuff......brand name SLR, 50mm lens, fresh Kodak/Ilford/Fuji film, Ilford MGIV paper, and fresh chemistry for every session with stock within date. If you do that while learning, the quality is all about you. This stuff all works and the quality control is perfect. There is no second guessing. After you learn, you can do whatever you want. Crappy cameras, old chemistry, etc can be part of the creative process if you know how it all works. Personally, I only use material and equipment I know well (crap or otherwise). I prefer to be creative with the stuff I can control than random chance. Random chance more often gives me crap than art!