The Gudak Cam photo app is inconvenient – but the Japanese love it

With nearly everyone in possession of a smartphone, just about anyone is now able to take a photo. Gone are the days of cumbersome film cameras, when you had to worry whether you had enough film and consequently, how many photos you could take. There was no instant reviewing of photos on the spot, and much less taking of multiple shots to find the right one.

Among all the fanciful camera apps in the market, one particular camera app called “Gudak Cam” developed by a Korean company has caught people’s attention in recent months.

No, it does not have amazing filters that help you create professional-looking photos. Neither does it have stickers to decorate your photo or add dog ears to your head. Indeed, it is inconvenient to use to say the least – photos take three days to “develop” – but yet, it is gaining in popularity.

브랜드의 의미 ‘구닥다리’ 카메라는 본래의미와 같이 ‘오래되어 낡은’ 카메라라는 의미를 가지고 있다. ‘Un do’가 만연한 디지털 시대를 살고 있는 우리들은 어느샌가 순간의 결정과 선택이 주는 ‘스릴’을 잃어…

Posted by Gudak Cam – 구닥 on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Developed by Screw Bar, which was founded in 26 October 2016, “Gudak Cam” was released on 7 July 2017. It was later introduced to the Japanese market through the media in August and September.

Once the app is started, a Kodak-lookalike instant camera interface pops up on the screen. It shows a small viewfinder, like the one in an instant camera, with the bottom right of the screen indicating the remaining number of shots. You can also choose to add the date of the shot to the bottom right of the photo.

So far so good, right? But what sets this camera app apart is this: One roll of film allows for just 24 photos to be taken. The photos cannot be developed until all 24 photos are taken, and “developed” photos will only be ready after three days. This means that you cannot immediately review your photos after they are taken.

When you finished the roll of film of 24 exposures and want to take more, you have to change out the film. This in turn takes an hour. The completed films of 24 photos each are then stored on the app.

A screenshot of “Gudak Cam” from the App Store.
A screenshot of “Gudak Cam” from the App Store.

As to why the app was made to be so inconvenient, Screw Bar mentioned it is because society is losing the thrill of extracting a particular moment in life and the beauty of waiting for the printed photos. The developers want to regain this old-school feeling by stripping the app of 95 per cent of a modern camera’s fanciful functions, and leaving it with the most basic functions for taking a photo.

Currently, searching for #gudak on Instagram renders a results count of almost 200,000 posts from not only Japan, but also Korea, China, Russia, etc. The Japanese users have commented the retro feel on the photos looks stylish, and “Gudak Cam” is really like an instant camera from the past, which makes it interesting.

#gudak with almost 200,000 posts on Instagram
#gudak with almost 200,000 posts on Instagram

Despite the inconvenience, the Japanese market has taken a liking to the results of “Gudak Cam”. Because good things must be shared, in addition to posting their “developed” photos on social media, Japanese users cannot resist recommending this uncommon app to people.

“The feeling like it is taken on a film camera is interesting. It is a paid application but highly recommended.”

Japanese editor and photographer @yriica tried the app during his trip to Fukuoka, and uploaded his photos onto Twitter, along with a link to download the app. The tweet has accumulated over 2,200 likes and over 1,200 retweets.

“Gudak Cam” also ranked third in the paid category of Japan’s app store last week, with generally positive reviews saying they like the app and the app is awesome.

In our modern society, which is so accustomed to instant gratification, waiting for one’s photos to be processed seems like a painfully long and outdated process. But that is precisely the charm of “Gudak Cam” – it keeps you in suspense and makes you look forward to the results!

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