I'm lucky enough to have a near pristine copy, minus some dust of the Fujica STX-1 SLR. My dad got this camera from his grandparents when he graduated from high school, around 1978, and I in turn inherited it from him around the time I completed my B.A. It holds a special place in my heart; it's the camera I learned to shoot film on, and a camera I continue to take out and use on quick jaunts. I plan on buying another one or two for friends interested in photography to use as a beginner's camera, rather than a Canon A-1 or such (although I plan on buying one of those as well.) Here's a few reasons why.
Film Format: 135
Mount: Fujica X, flange 43.5 mm (not compatible with modern Fuji lenses without an adapter)
Focus: Manual with split circle viewfinder
Exposure: Manual, average coil metering
ASA: 25-3200 in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter: B, 1/2s-1/700s, 1/60 x-sync
Features: Timer, DoF preview button
The STX-1 is a shockingly small SLR, measuring about 5 1/2" wide and 1 1/2" deep from viewfinder to lens mount; my Yashica MG-1 rangefinder is much bigger, although Yashica rangefinders are on the large side. I'll frequently get asked if it's a mirrorless ILC and camera geeks are surprised when I tell them it's a film SLR. Its size makes it ideal for street photography as its retro looks combine with its diminutive stature to allow it to go unnoticed when shooting pedestrians. Thus, it overall is easy to carry and maneuver to get the shot you want. However, its blocky nature means your hands can get sore quite easily, especially if you have hands on the larger size like I do. My ring and middle finger often are forced to wrap around the bottom edge of the camera and over long periods of shooting this gets quite irritating. Additionally, the right side of the top plate is quite crowded and it isn't easy to quickly access the shutter speed control knob, since the film advance lever and shutter release are right by it. I often simply leave the shutter speed at approximately 1/ASA speed and adjust aperture until I have a correct exposure because of this.
This camera does not let you get off easy when it comes to composing an image. Being a manual-everything camera, the STX-1 forces you to work to compose, meter and take your image. It's a bare bones experience, but a very rewarding one. The svelte frame definitely compensates for this, and doesn't punish you for moving around to try to get the perfect shot, and gives you some support while you do all the rest of the work. Really, this theme continues throughout the shooting experience: the built-in, still-accurate(!) meter means you don't have to rely on an external meter or the Sunny 16 rule, but since there's no autoexposure the camera still forces you to do the work of picking an appropriate aperture and shutter speed. There's no live view, obviously, but the DoF preview button gives you some vision of your DoF. The wide ASA and shutter speed ranges work similarly too: they are small advantages that make shooting easier without completely holding your hand. The split screen viewfinder means you have some help achieving perfectly sharp images, but it's certainly not AF either. The lens selection for the STX-1 is honestly superb, with very sharp stopped-down lenses, although not that fast. (I have the 55mm f/2.2, the 28mm f/3.5 EBC, and 135mm f/3.5 EBC; the 55mm is barely fast and the others not that fast at all, although the EBC coating is amazing. Most lenses are around this range of f-stops.) But I think this continues the theme as well: fast enough that your viewfinder isn't totally dark, but not so fast that you can ignore camera shake in low light.
To me, the STX-1 is the perfect beginning camera because although it forces you to own your shot, it doesn't do so brutally: you don't have to know every variation of the Sunny 16 rule and you don't have to guess the focus but you do need to know the basics about photography to get your shot. And for people who are interested in doing photography somewhat seriously as an art, this is ideal; they really can own their work and understand f-stops, exposure, and composition in a careful way. Film definitely slows me down; I'm more conscious of every shot I take, and this consciousness is an ideal mindset for a beginner to be in. I don't think advanced users can really say no to an STX-1 either: it's cheap, the EBC lenses are great, and there's some good fast 50mm offerings in the Fujica X lineup that are affordable as well. Adding in the tiny frame, who wouldn't want to throw an STX-1 in their bag and take it on the street?