I started with a Lee Book and press combo and a Load Master, for 9 and 223.
Basically because those kits included everything I needed to get started. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the LM in 9mm and get 223 dies and a double disc kit. The other way around you're buying the whole disc powder measure assembly and double disc kit. At least 8000 rounds of 9, a few thousand 223, and a few others later, and I am still not convinced that this was a bad way to start. It works for me. On the other hand, all my prior experience was with the little Lee hand-hammer things.
As I keep telling people: Lee is the ultimate test of your ability to follow instructions.
While I don't know the people who diss Lee stuff personally, I am willing to bet that the large majority are unable to suspend the belief that they know better, and so can't stop messing with something. I even confess to falling into that group, especially when adjusting the primer handling system on my Load Master. Take a deep breath, watch the video again, print the FAQ again, and adjust it according to the letter - for me, that has always worked, without fail.
It's probably true that other brands are much more tolerant of being fiddled with. It's probably true that given the same criteria I would not have designed things the same way. And it is true that on the Lee progressives there are lot of things that rely on friction at the right time to work, making the whole contraption somewhat rubenesque. Lube the wrong place (as in, a place not mentioned as requiring lube in the instructions, the FAQs online, etc), and things might not work the way you'd expect.
Would I recommend a Lee progressive to friends known to be impatient gorillas? Nope.
Would I recommend one to someone mechanically inclined and patient? You bet.