I will always, always say the latter. Even the cheapest stuff out there today is comparable, if not better, to what our predecessors had a few decades ago.
Case in point, say you come across a guy shooting with an old Konica film camera covered in goofy stickers:
You’d think he makes goofy pictures of his friends in Tokyo bars, right?
Yeah. Shinya Arimoto, you’re my new photographic hero.
(Thanks to John Sypal for the link from his most excellent Tokyo Camera Style blog, a film photo geek’s nirvana.)