A Kodak 2D would be a great start if you're looking for a portable portrait camera. There's nothing fragile about classic wood field cameras. I have some that were in use for a century and I figure they're good for another century or two of use if I don't drop them too often. A Deardorff is a step up in terms of overall design and movements. They're well worth the $1200-$1400 cost for a good specimen.