As a 15 year old I got my first ever SLR for a Christmas present. It was a Soviet made Zenit and served me well for a while. When I opted for ‘A’ Level Photography at school, I decided to upgrade. With a small budget made up from part-time work, the only new camera I could afford was a Praktica, the latest model being the MTL5b. Literally made in their millions in the old GDR (or East Germany as we knew it), Prakticas were relatively cheap and had a decent reputation for reliability. And perfect for learning with. Others in my cohort also had Prakticas. One class mate had a neat, sleek SLR which looked rather impressive. I worked out years later it was an Olympus OM.