Some interesting points. I never really considered going out with a group, I tend to be a pretty solitary shooter. I work very weird hours so it's difficult coordinating with people. My aim is going to be to try one of these out. I live in Los Angeles so there is no shortage of places that rent out LF gear, and I'm sure there are a few shooters around here. I know Sammy's rents some LF cameras and lenses so maybe I'll try that out to get a feel for it.
One of the things I try to do is that I make sure I want something before I start, and when I do I try to do it right. I prefer to buy a high quality system that is rugged and has room for me to learn and grow vs one that I will want to replace. So a couple of the cameras I've been eyeing the Camonix 45N-2...but that Tachihara sure does look beautiful. But like I said this is not a purchase that will be happening anytime soon