Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791
So my advice is Pentax K1000, and you can always sell them when you want to move on as a lot of courses stipulate students should buy K100's.
The K1000 is certainly a good learning camera; however, it's pricier on the used market than similar cameras from other manufacturers, and even than some other Pentax cameras with similar or more features. I'm not sure if that's nostalgia value or demand from people who are told to buy K1000s for photography classes. In any event, you can check the K-mount reference table I referred to earlier to find models with features similar to the K1000.

That said, cloud9 says s/he's aiming for the $150-$200 range, and a used K1000 can be had for much less than that. On eBay, $150 should get a K1000 along with some accessories, such as a couple of lenses, a flash, and a carrying bag. Alternatively, you could buy something new for that money. Among K-mount cameras, the Vivitar V3800N costs $140-$170 at B&H, depending on the package you buy; or the Pentax ZX-M costs $160-$260. (I've got a V3800N and it seems to be a solid manual camera. I don't have a ZX-M, but based on the specs, it's got a lot more automation.) As I said in my first post, though, IMHO it's better to get an inexpensive used camera first, so that you can learn the basics and figure out which features you do and do not want or need. After you've used a ~$50 used camera for a few months, you can spring for something pricier if you decide you need (or just want) it.