I’ve written previously about my several Nikon 35mm film cameras, but I haven’t yet written about medium format photography. This is largely because I prefer the flexibility and portability of 35mm cameras relative to medium format, and because, while I’ve owned an off-brand, twin-lens reflex medium format camera since I was in college, that camera lacks a light meter and has some mechanical quirks that result in less-than-ideal negatives.

For years, I’ve considered making a more intentional and consistent reintroduction to the world of medium format, but I couldn’t decide which camera to invest in. A Rolleiflex? Mamiya? Perhaps a Hasselblad?

Indecision and apathy prevented me from reviving my enthusiasm for medium format photography…until now. Last week, I added the Asahi Pentax 6×7 (MLU) to my camera bag.

Large black camera with a lens attached, Asahi Pentax embossed on the front, 6 x 7 inscribed on right side, and knobs and silver accessory mounts

The Pentax 6ⅹ7 MLU Camera with Pentax Takumar 105mm f2.4 SMC Lens

About a year ago, I started seeing this camera in multiple blog posts, videos, and other film photography books and articles. I’m not sure why it was all of the sudden ubiquitous, but it continues to show up unexpectedly (as it did today when I opened up a book I ordered and there was an illustration of this camera on the inside cover endsheet).

I was immediately drawn to this camera, having as it does a 35mm-style body (albeit much larger and heavier than a 35mm body) with unusual features for a medium format camera, such as a film advance lever. Perhaps on account of my affection for 35mm SLRs, I knew this was the unique medium format camera I had been looking for.

Large black camera with a lens attached, Asahi Pentax embossed on the front, a large dial on the top right side, and knobs and silver accessory mounts

When I resolved to track down a functionally sound 6ⅹ7, I could at first only find them in Japan on eBay, with accompanying steep shipping costs. I decided to wait, hoping I could find one closer to home. About a week ago, I found one at my favorite Portland shop, Blue Moon Camera and Machine.

I won’t go into the technical specifications of the 6ⅹ7, as several comprehensive reviews out there are much better than what I could write (here’s one of the articles I reviewed before I bought the camera). But I will share some of my initial photos once I have them developed (I won’t be developing medium format film myself—as I’ve done with 35mm–because I don’t yet have medium format development reels).

It’s been a long time since I’ve shot medium format, and I’m excited to find out what this new, old camera can do.