The main difference between these plates and ordinary film is mostly from age, e.g. the darker spots and the stains on my uploaded photos. Otherwise there's no big difference when the plates are panchromatic. For homemade plates or really old ones that are orthochromatic you get a quite different look caused by the plates being sensitive only to blue light. You can use any view camera for plates, it's just the holders that have to be different. I found mine on ebay.
I've been using a Radionar 105 lens taken from a 6x9 folding Franka. Not the ultimate 4x5 lens, but I like the look it gives.
When it comes to coating your own plates there's a good article on alternativephotography:

You can read about carbon printing there too:

I hope this is to some help