This lovely picture was made by Bert Hardy in the 1940s, using the very entry-level Box Brownie camera, as proof of the pudding after having written an article about how an expensive camera was not necessary to take good photographs.
Of course some may argue that with a crappy camera, a good photographer is even more necessary, due to the camera's limitations.
And then again, especially in modern times, there is a wide margin between a "crappy" camera and an "expensive" camera. Fifty years ago a good camera cost several months income for most people, today you can get a good camera for a few hundred dollars.
There is something magical about vintage photos that I don't fully understand. Even a mediocre vintage photo has so much more impact than an equivalent contemporary photo.
There's something to that.
It could be nostalgia.
It could be generally richer grey tones in the larger formats then.
It could be that most images that are seen still were taken by accomplished photographers, and the knew how to get the most from B/W, since color was rarely used by serious photographers until after 1970. Using the right light to mold the forms and separated objects and so on.
It might be something else.