Sebastian Hilgetag

Editorial, Fashion | Last Updated: December 18, 2020

Hi everyone! My name is Sebastian Hilgetag and I’m 27 years old. I’m a fashion and editorial photographer living in Berlin (Germany), where I also get a lot of my work done.

After I started to study communications design at FH Potsdam I began to reconsider my photographic work. Thus I decided to move towards the fashion field and consequently began working with models.

I consider myself a lucky guy because photography is not only my work but also one of my hobbies, and I am grateful for being able to make a living out of my passion

In my work I try to be as versatile as possible since I love to experiment, I try to avoid having a flat approach of photography and also I like to push my creativity to new limits in order to enhance it.

At the same time, I prefer to keep certain things simple: The lighting. I love to use available light or a simple lighting setup with one artificial light: my Jinbei DM2-400 or (very seldom) my Yongnuo Speedlite YN-568 EX II. After trying different flashes I just decided that I need a reliable (not too expensive) solution which I don’t have to care about if it should break during the handling.

I’m still using my Canon 5D Mark II. I’m satisfied with the image quality but to be honest I cannot wait for Canon to produce a significantly better camera to jump to it.

On my Canon 5D Mark II, I prefer prime lenses most of the time. My favourite lens at the moment is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art followed by the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art. When I bought these lenses I compared them a lot to the Canon equivalents but ended up with the Art Series due to its incredible sharpness. After using lenses like the Canon 50mm f/1.4 I was tired of the lens not being sharp at its widest and of other minor problems. The Sigma Art Series produces a wonderful Bokeh which I also prefer quite often in studio shootings. I have the feeling that I can rely on those lenses. That’s why I use them without having second thoughts.

Besides those lenses I also own a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 and a Canon 85mm f/1.8. I’m thinking about selling them both since I don’t use the Tamron so much lately and I was never really satisfied with the Canon 85mm f/1.8 because of its sharpness and focus incapability. A few years back, the Tamron used to be my number one lens for every situation but now it feels a bit outdated for my work.

Besides all the digital equipment I love to work with, I developed an obsession for film cameras. This fact took me one step forward in my work. It helped me to slow down and rethink my photography in a different dimension.

One of the favourite film cameras I own is the Zenza Bronica ETRSI. It’s a 4.5×6 medium format camera with a Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8  lens. The camera is quite big and bulky but the images it produces on film are lovely. The best part of shooting with the Bronica is to hear the sound of this enormous shutter.

For 6×6 medium format shots I use my Yashica MAT124G, my first medium format camera. It’s a twin-lens reflex camera and I just had to buy one of these after seeing the movie about Vivian Maier one or two years ago.

In general I think film is a wonderful way to capture beauty. Even if you scan the film afterwards you can always distinguish a picture shot on film from a digitally produced image. For me, film is capable of capturing the soul of a certain moment in a more honest and beautiful way than a digital camera.

I also enjoy to work with my Canon A1 from time to time and with the Pentax Spotmatic ESII which – at least for me – is one of the most beautiful cameras ever produced. For both cameras I own a standard 50mm lens and a 28mm lens which I love to use for fashion shootings.

One of the last add-ons to my camera portfolio is the Polaroid Land Camera 355. Sadly they just stopped the production of the peel-apart film Fuji FP100C for this one.

Last but not least – Zenit 3. I have received it as a gift from my step grandfather and it is more of a toy for me because I’m still struggling to find the focus on its pretty dark focusing screen.
Last summer I bought the Mir-1b 37mm f/2.8 for the Zenit from Russia, on eBay. For me it’s always exciting to seek new equipment for those old cameras on eBay or in camera shops and I would not exaggerate to say that it is an addiction.

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Wählt on June 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Very nice write-up Sebastian. Great to see people advocating film. I have studied at the FH Potsdam too. A very fine institution dont you think? Best from Vienna,

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