For a period of time, “film” photos were all the rage on social media; I’m sure I wasn’t the only one seeing countless “film” photos appearing on my Instagram feed, right?
But, there was a catch — these photos were not actually taken with a film camera. Instead, they were shot using mobile applications designed to mimic the experience and look of film photography.
I decided to put one of the apps, Gudak, to the test and see how the photos shot on it fared against those shot on an actual film camera. For the experiment, I tested Gudak vs a Fujifilm Disposable Film Camera.
Take a look at the following sets of photos. Are you able to guess correctly which ones were taken with the app and which were taken with the disposable film camera?
The first shot of each set of images was taken with the film camera and the one beneath it was taken with the Gudak app.
Personally, I prefer the way the photos shot on the film camera turned out. The colours seem to have more depth and look more natural, plus the photos are brighter!
In the above set of photos, the tones in the film camera shot look more pleasing. The colour tones are more distinct, such as the blues of the door and the greens of the foliage.
In Gudak’s version, it looks as though a filter has been haphazardly slapped on it and thus the colours look uniformly… off because of the orange filter applied.
I think the film camera accurately captured the different colour tones while producing a vintage, retro vibe. On the other hand, while Gudak gives off a similar vintage vibe, some of the photos looked slightly unnatural.
One thing to note as well is that the film camera offers a wider angle than the film camera. When I stood at the same spot, the photos I took with the app became more cropped.
Working with film though meant that I no longer had the option of taking multiple shots and choosing the best option afterwards. With only 39 exposures in my Fujifilm film camera, each shot counts. It just wouldn’t be economically viable to waste a whole roll of film on essentially the same shot.
This threw me off balance since I only had experience with digital photography thus far.
After trying out both the Gudak app and the disposable camera, I found it easier to control my shots with Gudak. In Gudak, I didn’t have to worry about potentially overexposing some of my shots, which was what happened with my film camera shots.
The folks in the office suggested that there could have been some paranormal explanation behind these shots but I believe it’s just my lack of skills.
I found that Gudak did a pretty good imitation of the process of shooting on a film camera.
To mimic the experience of looking through the viewfinder, you can only see the image you’re shooting on Gudak through a small portion of the screen. There is also a “switch” to toggle the flash on and off, similar to that on a disposable film camera.
To simulate processing your films at a photo shop, Gudak introduced a system where users had to wait three days for their photos to develop. However, impatient users can easily hack this waiting time by resetting the date on their phones.
While I found the photos shot on Gudak to be less appealing than those shot on the disposable film camera, I’ll admit that Gudak is way more wallet-friendly. Bear in mind that the app costs less than two bucks while I spent a grand total of S$24.40 on the film shots — S$14.90 on the camera itself and S$9.50 to process the images.
Perhaps you can consider trying out a disposable film camera if you’re curious about film photography. But, this will turn out to be a rather costly hobby to pursue (just a heads up!).
For everyday photos or to just try out the hype, Gudak is a pretty decent alternative with a gentler learning curve.
Price: S$1.48 (Gudak app) – S$24.40 (Disposable Film Camera)
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