What a wonderful read! I would so much like to reply with a series of thoughtful camera selections, but alas, the cameras I use were often the result of wilful self indulgence, plain vanity, nostalgia, misplaced pride or the inability to resist a bargain.
A New Mamiya 6 was meant to mend a broken heart. I was so intimidated by the thing, I left in the box for 20 years. Thankfully, age if not wisdom gave me some courage and it has proven to be an astonishingly good camera.
A thrift store Nikkormat and Pentax SV are pure nostalgia. The first for the one my brother dropped from a ferry into the Aegean Sea so many years ago; the second for one my mom had when I was a kid. Yet, the Nikon has a rugged simplicity and the Pentax an elegant beauty that few cameras can match.
Replacing the lost Nikkormat lead to a Leica. In the Ontario, Canada of my youth, Leicas were made along the shores of Georgian Bay, not too far from were I lived. It just so happened that the best conditioned used Leica I could find and afford happened to be an ELC M4-2. Dismissed by many, adored by me, it has been my main camera for 30 years now.
Last year, a deep discounted on the little Fuji XE-2s was irresistible and I joined the digital age. I even got an iPhone, made a photo with it, and joined the forum.