Problem with vintage light meters is that they take vintage batteries. There aren’t any great options for my [Gossen Luna Pro](http://www.camera-archive.com/Gossen-Luna-Pro s) for example. Even if you can find a battery that has the correct voltage, the voltage over time drops off more quickly than the old mercury cells, so you end up with inaccurate readings. There are voltage controlled adapters that modern batteries fit into, but they’re not cheap. I generally use my modern light meter instead, even though I prefer my older one.
I have a late 40’s 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic that I love. If you’re thinking about jumping in, read the FAQs at graflex.org. Lots of good info there.
Most photo shops will not be able to process the film, not having the equipment to handle sheet film any longer. I can get still my b/w stuff developed locally at one or two places, but I have to send the color transparencies off to a place in LA now. The last place in town to handle that stuff closed up a couple years ago. I would assume that many of the places that can handle large format can scan, but I handle that myself, so I don’t actually know.
If you wanted to split the difference, you can get a roll-film back and shoot 120 or 220 which local places can still handle. I have the 6x9cm back for my camera, but don’t mess with it much as you can’t use the roll film in conjunction with the ground glass.
Couple thoughts then I have to run:
The mechanical shutters on most of the cameras you’ll find aren’t really to be trusted until you have the speeds tested at a repair shop. The springs have weakened and the lube has gummed up over time. The indicated and actual shutter speeds can be quite far apart. There’s a woman in California somewhere that still rebuilds these old shutters affordably. I can look up her info if you need.
If you’re looking at Speeds and Crowns, try to find one with the side mounted range finder, not the top mounted model. The top mount Kalart requires parts that are virtually unobtainable if you need to adjust it or wish to ever swap lenses.
I’ll be glad to answer more questions, so fire away!
eta: not mine, but just like it…