I got a Calumet monorail view with an old Kodak uncoated lens for $70, with film holders. The bellows were like new. The lens was tack sharp but turned out to be for a 3.25 x 4.25 system and barely covered the 4x5 neg, no room for camera movement. So I had to pay over $200 for a decent lens right off. I got two Omega enlargers for under $100 combined...a Chromega medium format with the color head, and a D2 extended rail and autofocus system. The lenses were worth about $5 and I upgraded for about $70 total. The "drum processor" I got was a simple rotating drum for daylight processing of color and black and white, and I found that I needed to tray process one negative at a time to get any benefit from the zone system exposure which exploits LF to the fullest. I tried tanks and batch developing in trays but kept going back to single sheet at a time. When I picked up an Agfa/Ansco studio view 8x10 I was glad I had the patience and know how to do tray development at that point.

So the consensus here seems to be that the lenses are the real economic issue, and I agree. Another factor, however, is that there seems to be an uptick in student interest in film and LF, which has pushed low end prices back up in the last two years. Just an unscientific impression from browsing theBay.