You did not say what size vehicle you want to paint. Back in the days when I used to use acrylic lacquers to do my refinish work I would use about a gallon to a gallon and a half of paint and about two to three gallons of thinner for an average size car. Today Base/Clear urethane systems are the way to go though. The urethanes are more expensive but give you a much more durable finish than lacquer. I wouldn't even consider refinishing in lacquer any more.
I have to agree, lacquer is a done deal. It's hard to find and pretty expensive anymore, and unless you are trying to do and exact duplication of a factory finish for a high point restoration, it's not worth the time or effort to fool with. There are about as many brands and styles of paint on the market now as there are fish in the sea. My own personal preference is PPG, and I prefer base/clear (DBC base and 2021 clear) for finishes with metallic in it. If I am going to use a straight color, no pearl, metallics, etc, I prefer Concept urethane (DCC) Now, I'm sure everyone will have their own opinion about which brand, style, etc to use and which is best. I don't know the answer to any of that, I know what works for me as a novice without a high dollar paint booth. With base/clear paint, there is no "color sanding"...if you wet sand it till you see color coming off, you just screwed up a paint job! Not to say it can't be sanded and buffed to take out trash and orange peel....it can, just not thru the clear into the paint. With the DCC, you are actually "color sanding" and can see when the orange peel and trash no longer is there. Either style is fairly easy to "spot" if you have a minor screw up when you are sanding or buffing when the job is still new, but the DCC is tougher than the base/clear after a period of time to blend or match. You can also clear over the DCC for a bit more shine if you choose to, but it is kinda redundent to do so, as it is quite glossy as is. Until PPG changed their mixtures on paints, the DCC paint and 2020 clear used the same hardner and reducer in the same amounts, and you could put a couple of coats of paint on, then mix the last coat with about 1/3 clear in with the paint, using the same amounts and styles of additives as with the paint. This didn't change colors, just put more clear and less pigment on the last coat, which really made things shine...but PPG caught on to that trick and dicontinued the process so they don't use the same additive in the paint and clear anymore....Maybe this will give you some idea what you are faced with...above all, I'd really consider something other than lacquer....
Lacquer would be ok for small jobs, motorcycle parts, for instance. I'd have to agree with the others, the base/clear paint, the enamels are easier to use. base clear is a paint a beginner can use and get a decent job. Lacquers need to be color sanded between coats, buffed to get a show quality finish.
I...happen to like laquer but I'm an old guy and having done many many laquer jobs I kinda miss it,yes today base/clear is the way to go cause everybody is in such a damn hurry and thier attention span is so much shorter by the time that clearcoat dies the car is either gone or you get sick of that color anyway.I painted my corvette in laquer 15 years ago and if it weren't for the shop fire it would still look as good as the first time it was buffed...yeah I miss laquer
I use laquer very spairingly it is not very durable and it takes a lot to do a show quality job. There are so many other paints available now that are easier cheaper and safer to use that laquer is a serious thing of the past.
I am not certain but I think in certain areas Laquer has been outlawed because of VOC requirements.
I do however still use clear laquer on my cabinet and furniture making. way better to spray than polyurithane varnish.