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My local town on a 21mm

As I've said in a few places I've been really enjoying the Olympus 21mm f/3,5 lens on my Olympus OM4Ti. I've always liked wide views and panoramas so I suppose it's not too much of a surprise, I've enjoyed it so much so that I've been wandering around my local town of Ipswich trying to capture some scenes. I don't do "street" photography really as I don't like including people so we could call it non-architectural architectural documentary photography... 🤷‍♂️

The camera

I've been wanting a small SLR for a long time. I was intending on getting an OM1n as it was completely manual, but worries about batteries, age and "only" 1/1000 fastest shutter speed bothered me. The OM4Ti is the cream of the OM barrel, is it the best OM I don't know but it ticked all the boxes I wanted. Modern battery, reliable meter, spot meter, shadow/highlight spot feature, 1/2000 fastest shutter and inbuilt viewfinder correction.

I'm not going to review it other than to say I think I love it. It's small but fits my not so small hands nicely. It's solid but not heavy. It's simple to use but has enough "smart" features to satisfy my metering needs. It fits nicely in the bag and can be carried as a "backup". Very nearly perfect.

The lens

The Olympus 21mm f/3.5 is a classic. It's small, compact, and distortion is kept to a minimum. It's plenty sharp enough and captures more than enough detail for 35mm film. It is also very nearly perfect.

The combo

One of my historic and longest lasting photography prejudices is the 35mm film is not "good" enough, especially ISO 400 B&W because it's too grainy. What an idiot I was. I didn't know and wasn't "wise" enough to understand it was me that wasn't good enough. So the OM4Ti, 23mm and Ilford HP5 is my go to combo, and what a combo it is.

I pretty much use the combo as a point and shoot. f/8 and hyper focal focussing. Let the center weighted spot meter do it thing most of the time, only stepping in when I recognise a difficult scene to meter or I want something specific. The only problem I have with it is that is I keep moving the focus point. I'll probably gaff tape the focus in future to prevent that 😁

The images

This is a selection of images made so far. Interestingly I've been making mainly vertically oriented images despite my preference for panorama/wide scenes. You live an learn.

Next steps?

I had a plan of a project to "document" notable local towns and create some zines. This was going to be done with the Holga and HP5 and I had started working on images for Ipswich and Felixstowe. I hit some problems with the Felixstowe images as I had knowed the Holga into Bulb mode and ended up with 3 rolls of virtually unusable images... This project therefore might switch to the OM4Ti and 21mm as I'm using much like the Holga anyway (point and shoot), just with much more quality. 🤷‍♂️


Always question your prejudices and be open to learning and improving yourself. I avoided 35mm film photography for a long time because I perceived the quality was not good enough. Remember, it's not about the gear/film/developer, it's all about what's between your ears. Work on "upgrading" how you see and approach your photography and not "upgrading" your gear 🤗

I know that's easy to say with a sweet OM4Ti and lovely 21mm but I'm seriously considering bagging a couple of Reto 35mm Ultra Wide Slim. One for FP4 and one for HP5 and using those at the same time for my notable local towns zines 🤷‍♂️


I would love to hear you thoughts on my approach, images and plans. Also, what's your approach to this style of photography?

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