My first camera was some sort of Kodak 127 roll film box camera. No flash, no controls. But I've still got a scrapbook with B&W photos taken with it. Not real sharp, but better than on might expect.
My first 35mm camera was a Yashica J rangefinder that my dad brought back from a trip to Japan. I still have it! No meter, but a flash shoe and PC socket with x sync, a self timer, and shutter speeds (IIRC) of 50 / 100 / 300. An f2.8 lens, I think. (I'm too lazy to go look.)
My first SLR was a Miranda Sensorex. In some ways, ahead of it's competition. It was priced roughly like a Canon TL (or TLb--I don't remember the exact timeframes), but with a wider range of shutter speeds, a removable prism with available waist level finder, and full aperture metering. It had one uncommon feature that I really liked, and might still like: The shutter release was mounted on the front of the body, rather than the top. With thumb in back, and index finger in front, it was very easy to "squeeze" the shutter release, rather than push it. I could hand hold that body at lower speeds than any other mechanical release camera of the time.
After that, a variety of Nikons and Canons, a Leica M3 (I wish I still had that), a couple of Mamiya TLRs, and an old 4x5 press camera with lens movements that I used for an architectural project. Oh, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I had a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 60, a Rollei 35, an Olympus Stylus, and a Minolta underwater body. Oh, yeah, I still have my dad's Zeiss Ikon Contaflex IV, a leaf shutter 35mm SLR with some interesting features. Still one of the most precise feeling, solidly built cameras I've used.
I settled on Canon with the New F1, and Canon's USM lenses and all electronic mount kept me with Canon when I finally transitioned to AF.
The D300 & D3, and the new 12-24 lens, are the first offerings from Nikon that might make me choose Nikon over Canon, if I didn't already have a huge investment in equipment.