I never did own anything resembling a large format "beginner" setup. I simply bought the best 4x5 camera and lens system I could realistically afford and never regretted it. But I did just get one lens
at a time - in fact, I worked with only one for about a decade until slowly branching out. I guess it
depends on what you expect. For about 2 yrs I worked in med format, but the quality jump from there into 4x5 was far greater than from 35mm into MF. Then 8x10 became my favorite format. But
I still shoot them all as occasion or whim demands.