The Praktika MTL5 is a 35mm manual SLR camera, produced in West Germany during the 1980s. It features TTL metering, self timer, shutter speeds from B (bulb) to 1/500th of a second, depth of field preview and a hotshoe.

This is a very basic camera, and as such it is ideal for anyone learning photography. It uses the popular M42 lens mount which means there are literally thousands of cheap Zeiss and Pentax prime lenses to be found on eBay for as little as £10. I bought an entire setup (camera; 35mm Zeiss, 50mm Pentax, 135mm Zeiss lenses) for about $60. To put this in perspective, this is about the cost of a second hand 50mm Nikon prime lens. Being manual, you will be forced to think about depth of field, exposure, focus etc and you learn much more than if you have a fully automatic modern camera.

It is also a good choice for foreign travel; if it is stolen, the loss is minimal, and it will also function perfectly well (minus metering) with a dead battery - ideal for those out of the way places where camera batteries are hard to come by.