Are you nearby anyplace that you can rent equipment? I know that large format in stores seems to be getting as rare as hen's teeth these days, but if there's a Calumet store near you, they usually have a healthy rental department and could probably help you choose the equipment you want to settle on.

A lot of what you're talking about involves "style" rather than "substance" as far as actual production of images is concerned -- I love wooden Deardorff 5x7 cameras, but I was talking with a guy the other day who prefers metal cameras. They both do the same thing.

As for color rendition -- wow! You haven't indicated whether you process your own film or have it done; whether you print in the darkroom or after scanning, etc. and so on. So much depends on film type, exposure, processing, and how you print (analog or digital) -- I can only say again, you'll have to test, test, test to find what combination of lenses and films are going to do the job for your photos.

After all that, I must say that I do agree with the statements above as regards older lenses. They're more economical, they provide more than adequate sharpness, and often -- especially in the case of Schneiders and Rodenstocks -- if you settle on a brand and vintage, you'll often find that lenses of the same "model" will offer up consistent color across different focal lengths. So, if you hit the jackpot with a Symmar Convertible, you can probably rely on similar or same color rendition from similar vintage Symmar Convertibles.

As for cameras: Just be sure to get front rise, tilt and swing, and rear tilts and swings, minimally, from whatever camera you settle on, and you'll be able to cover any shooting situation you find yourself in.

If you want a good tutorial on camera movements, you can't beat the view camera chapter(s) in "The Camera" by Ansel Adams. Short and sweet and covers just about everything you'll need to know.

I hope this verbosity is helpful...! Good luck.