Pentax M series is the upmarket version of the Pentax K1000. Any
photography student would have used a K1000 by default (I'm sure
K stands for Kingswood - meaning rugged durable and impervious to
a few dings and dents from learner drivers).
have had two different Pentax M series bodies. An MEsuper and this
MX. They have both been as rugged and reliable as a K1000. Howver
the much better coloured dot exposure metering system allows for
lowlight photography and is very intuitive. The MX has an auto setting
for aperture priority - besides that, its all manual.
M series cameras uses K-bayonet mount lenses, and the best lens
is the stock standard 50mm Pentax (it is definately worth getting
the 1:1.7 not the 1:2.4 just for that extra f-stop).
went through a stage of doing black and white rock & roll photography
in sweating jostling crowded pubs and venues, and my Pentax took
thousands and thosands of shots never skipping a beat or even needing
a new battery.
While Nikon gear would be great, I've had Pentax gear
around forever. If photography paid my bills rather than creating
them, then it might be worth changing - but no need just now.
Pentax MX with 50mm 1:1.7 cost $220 AUD second hand (about
$100 US, £70 GBP)
go to a camera dealer to get one of these models. Its worth noting
that there are many other types of camera of the same quality and
age that will do the same thing for the same price. Consider what
other accesories you have if any, will they fit, and how expensive
are they. Put a test roll of film through it as soon as you can.