In addition to my petzval rule of "Long focal length, fast aperture, cheap price, pick any two..." there is another factor. If you just look for any reasonable petzval, regardless of recommendations, you'll find one cheaper and faster. If you decide you want a "XYZ 14" with Flange and Nickle finish" you may be looking for a year, or more. And when one pops up, you'll be in a bidding war with a few others that also read that recommendation. My advice is to keep looking at the ones that ARE available, especially the sleepers that are NOT being recommended right now. Those fads change.

In 2006 when I started doing wetplate, the two lenses most known were Dallmeyers and Darlots, mostly by Civil War re-enactor tintypers. The "two Ds" I called them, were usually the same price. That's right, a wholeplate Darlot that cost $23 in the 1800s, versus a Dallmeyer 2A of the same size that cost $180. But since they were both thought equally capable of taking sharp plates, the prices in 2006 were the same. Over the years people have realized the quality of a Dallmeyer is just a lot higher, and the Darlots founder. Yet....still great lenses. The top of the line for wetplaters back then were American radial drive petzvals, like CC Harrison. Many famous photographers from the 1860s until the 1920s advocated for them, and I've bought a lot from closing photo studios where they were still being used in the 40s and 50s!

Other great lenses were sleepers for years, as everyone chased The Two Ds. Wollensak Vitaxes, used to sell for half what a Dallmeyer 3B cost. Even in 2010 or so. Voigtlanders, the original petzval, were sleepers for many years. I used to buy them for about 2/3 what a 3B cost, or about $800 when a 3B was $1200. Nobody wanted them from 2006 until about 2012 or so.

There are some great Petzvals still out there for under $1000, you just have to look. And be willing to find your own path, and discover that most of them shoot equally well. You don't need to chase one brand that someone else likes. To show a difference between your current lenses will be easy. It takes years and lots of shooting to discern the difference between a Dallmeyer 3B and a Cone Centralizer. And that "unknown" petzval will take plates no one could tell the difference from.