Using an instant camera at a party or at a special event always draws attention. Taking pictures and printing them instantly to share them is a concept that is fashionable, especially in this digital era where the pleasure of the physical object is multiplied tenfold because of its rarity.
But instant cameras are quite large, lack printing options and produce an image quality that is often disappointing. And why bother with a camera when our smartphones can now take pictures of increasingly high quality.
Taking this into account, the Zero Ink technology was created in 2005 wich is a printing process that does not require ink. Brands can then start manufacturing smaller photo printers that will offer an alternative for those who do not want to carry a camera.
What is a pocket printer
A pocket printer is, as its name suggests, a photo printer that fits in a pocket. Smaller than a smartphone, they are about twice as thick. Rectangular in size, they could easily be mistaken for an external hard drive except that they are often available in flashy or pastel colours to attract a young and trendy audience.
These printers are real extensions to your phone and only work with it. Paired with Bluetooth you can choose in the application any photo you want to print from your phone and even from Instagram or Facebook. The app offers options for customizing photos as well as some basic settings such as brightness, contrast level or colorimetry.
All imprimante photo de poche works with a rechargeable battery via USB cable. Depending on the models, the battery life can last between 10 and 50 impressions. All but a few use ink-free paper. Here’s how it works.
How does a zero ink printer work?
The Zero Ink technology developed in 2005 by the Zink company that gave its name to the paper allows photos to be printed without using ink. Cyan, magenta and yellow crystals are distributed in the different layers that make up the paper. These colourless crystals only react when in contact with heat. It is the printing roller that will emit this heat to activate the crystals. Each color is activated according to a given temperature and a defined heating time. This way all the crystals are not likely to be dyed at the same time.
This process allows photos to be printed in less than a minute. As soon as they come out of the printer they are developed and can be touched. While the photos are of correct quality, they still lack contrast and depth due to the absence of black crystals. This is why this type of printer is more suitable for portrait photos than for landscapes that we will try to enhance during printing.
There are also sublimation printers. These printers are a little thicker because they require ink that will be transformed from solid to gas under the heat of the printing roller. Although the quality is better than with Zink paper, the printing cost is twice as high, as is the printing time.