I recently posted in the Canon forum asking for suggestions for a fully manual second hand SLR (see post "Canon - Going Manual"). Bi-partisan lot that they are, I got a number of non Canon recommends and ended up the proud owner of a Pentax MX with 50mm f1.4 lens. I also promised I'd let them know how I got on with it, but for logical reasons would be relocating to the Pentax room. Having only previously used auto SLRs, I was a little apprehensive as I took it out to run my first film through it (the rather lovely Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color 100). But I needn't have worried - I had a great time. First thing I noticed was how much more I had to think about what I was doing before firing the shutter. Sure, the camera's light meter tells me when I've got the correct exposure, but I still have to physically set the shutter speed and aperture, which makes me think about the creative consequences of both. This is in contrast with the AV or TV priority modes on an auto SLR where it's easy to forget the one the camera decides for you. Also, setting the aperture by mechanically turning the lens ring brings me more in touch with what I'm actually doing rather than setting a number on an LCD screen. I also have to consciously think "what am i focussing on?" and don't have those tricky moments when the autofocus picks something else or goes into an indecisive spasm. After a great snapping session on the South Bank, I had a slight crisis of confidence when I'd apparently taken dozens of pictures with no end to the film in sight. Had I screwed up the very manual film loading? I put the lens cap on and fired off the last few shots until the crank would crank no more, then rewound it. The results came back from the lab a few days later and I was gobsmacked. The pictures are just as good as those from my EOS3, and one of them (a surreally coloured Big Ben) is amongst the best I've ever taken. Despite being pretty old, all aspects of the camera seem to work except the self timer, but I can live without that. Not tested the hot shoe yet due to not having a flash, but that'll happen soon I'm sure. Conclusion - I'll keep my hi-tech autofocus SLR and will probably buy a digital camera soonish too. But the crusty old blokes who slaver over elderly cameras have a point after all.