On the LF side of photography, I always preferred the 4x5, since it is the most versatile and easiest to find equipment for. With the decrease in the use of 4x5 for commercial use, you should be able to find some really nice cameras that were previously $5K or more for less than a grand. Also, you will have a greater selection of film with 4x5; I always used Tri-X, but did try all of the Ilford b&w film. Tri-X is great because you can shoot it in so many different ways, not just at ISO 320 (its native ISO). For my silver prints, I shot it at ISO 80 and pulled the development by 20%. For contact printing with platinum, I shot it at ISO 160 and pushed the development by 30% with Kodak HC-110.
Insofar as shooting, Ansel Adam's book "The Negative" is a great resource.
If you plan on doing any silver printing, you may also want to look into books by British photography Tim Rudman, who is a master of b&w printing and toning. His book, "The Photographer's Toning Book: The Definitive Guide," really is the best definitive guide to toning. I learned so many toning techniques by reading it. He also give formulas for any toner (except for Kodak Selenium Toner, which requires a serious chemistry lab and knowledge) you can buy, assuming you feel comfortable with raw chemicals like strong acids.