Can you use any Zink paper with Polaroid Snap?

A white Polaroid Snap with a cute dog
A white Polaroid Snap with a cute dog (Image credit: Polaroid)

Can you use any Zink paper with Polaroid Snap?

All you need is the paper

Zink is the company behind the technology and the paper that's often used with modern instant cameras. However, you need to make sure you have the right size to fit your camera. Zink paper comes in a variety of sizes but the Snap camera is designed 2-by-3-inch paper so if you don't have the right size, it won't fit...go figure.

What is ZINK?

Zink Zero Ink technology is a method of printing photos and other things that use, you guessed it, zero ink. It's pretty cool how it all works. In the world of traditional printing, printers spit out ink in specific combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to make your color image. If you have ever heard the terms "C-M-Y-K" (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) or "R-G-B" (red-green-blue), they are referring to the color combinations being used. R-G-B is used for digital images that will only be displayed on digital screens and C-M-Y-K is used for printing images.

Pretty much every office or desktop printer you have ever come across uses ink or toner to make the image. With Zink, all the coloring is done with just the paper without any need for ink or toner. Every piece of Zink paper contains billions of cyan, magenta, and yellow dye crystals that are arranged into the separate imaging layers which are placed between two outer layers with an inner layer separating the layers of crystals.

When the image prints, a thermal-controlled printhead applies just enough heat at just the right intensity and duration to melt the exact right combinations of crystals to create the color needed for that part of the image. I know, I know — it sounds complicated, but in theory, it's quite simple. The colors cyan, magenta, and yellow can be combined to create millions of colors so it's just a matter of melting the right crystal combo to get the color you need for that set of pixels. This incredibly cool technology is what allows all those instant cameras to help you capture those perfect moments.

Science is awesome.

Jason Cockerham