Canon’s Zoemini instant camera prints photos without ink

SWith a highly fashionable accent, the instant photo lives on as a special form of photo on paper alongside the digital image. The photo in hand or as a sticker is far from obsolete. When Fujifilm primarily targets young women with the Instax material in mini format and the Liplay camera, among other things in the candy color pink, Canon tries the same with the Zoemini series. A different technique of quick photos to touch is used: Zinc is, as the brand name suggests, “zero ink”, meaning no ink.

Canon chose thermal sublimation as the process for the portable, battery-powered Selphy photo printer: the white backing paper is pulled through the printer several times and with each pass, another of the three basic colors is vaporized onto a film; the last time there is a clear protective layer on top. The finished photo can hardly be distinguished from a standard laboratory print. Through the in-out of the print you can see how the image from the individual colors adds up. The gradual build-up of the image is also typical of Fuji’s Instax prints: When a photo is ejected from the camera, chemicals are squeezed from a reservoir at the edge of the image under the transparent cover layer over the entire area of ​​the initially empty image field. Outside, a chemical development takes place within minutes – the duration depends on the temperature. Because of the reservoir remaining on the photo, because of the thickness of the print and its black back, Instax prints as well as Polaroids integral film images differ significantly from other photos.

From the Zoemini printer, at least as leisurely as with the other two methods, a ready-made image comes out at the time of ejection. The zinc paper consists of several layers, three of which are emulsions with initially white crystals which, depending on how long and how high they are heated, change to the three basic colors of the subtractive light mixture yellow, magenta and cyan. A short pulse of 200 degrees Celsius leads to the color yellow in the top layer and a long pulse of 100 degrees to cyan in the lowest of the three layers of color. In addition, there are carrier layers and a covered adhesive back to use the Zoemini prints as stickers. The zinc paper for Canon’s Zoemini printer is made up in ten-sheet packs, which are enclosed with a “Smart Sheet” with which the printer is calibrated.

Canon has three Zoemini devices in different colors in the race: the smartphone printer for around 120 euros and the cameras Zoemini C and S (5 and 8 megapixels, around 120 and 170 euros), the S has just been upgraded to the S 2 with additional functions . There are also bells and whistles such as soft-colored bags or small albums for the pictures measuring just 5 × 7.6 centimeters (2 × 3 inches). The whole series is clearly aimed at young women who want photos to give away or decorate and who want a chic accessory as a device. All three printers can be loaded with image data from a memory card or via Bluetooth or NFC. Both cameras have simple recording functions. What is striking about the Zoemini S is the LED ring for illuminating selfies and the mirror surface around the lens. Of course, there is also an app for the smartphone that can be used to make settings. Images can be edited and the camera can be controlled remotely.


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