All sounds perfectly normal to me. So you shed a little blood, suck it up, man! Just don't drip any in the developer. BTW, what makes you think things would be any different if you had a $2500 Canham 5x7? My first LF negs were with a brand spankin' new Zone VI view camera and Schneider lens and you have done a lot better than I did. 25 sheets already? In one day? Yikes. Did this camera have a motor drive? For me, 10 is a lot in one day.

One thing that will get you really hooked is when you don't have to tray process anymore. Trays get real old real fast without great music and wine, anyway. I got away from tray processing as fast as I could. I got a JOBO 4x5 inversion tank that had reels that held 12 4x5 negatives. Awesome thing, but it cost a fortune to fill it all the way with developer. So I started using Rodinal! Then I got a JOBO processor and some Expert drums and now life is so cool. Heck, I choose a developer with long development times just so I can eat\drink\surf while the JOBO spins away. Next thing, you might consider a JOBO drum and an inexpensive motor base like the Beseler or something that will spin the thing for you. Please tell me you're not doing DBI are you? I mean, a 15 watt green safelight? Didn't they know about time and temp back in the 1920's?

BTW, you have probably started out with the perfect format. I really don't recommend starting out with 4x5. I'd go with 5x7 or 8x10 and skip 4x5 completely. It's way too small. Now that you've shed your blood on 5x7, why step down? You see it ain't so tough after all, right? So stay big (I'm sure there are folks here that would consider 8x10 'small', but they all live in small shacks in the woods and mutter to themselves so we can discount their opinions). I love 5x7 and now I just shoot that and 8x10 in LF. 4x5's are too small to make a decent contact print and if you're going to enlarge them, why not enlarge 5x7 instead? 20 sq. in. vs 35 sq. in. - easy choice.

In the good old days, when fishermen went out to sea and caught their first tuna, they would wipe blood from the kill on the faces of the initiates. You have been baptized in blood, an honorable passage into the world of LF. Do you have the courage to enter the world of the Zone System or BTZS?

Bless you and welcome. You are a man now.

-Mike