instantphoto.eu                 Kodak Mini Shot Combo 3


The Kodak Mini Shot Combo 3 is a digital camera/printer combination for 7.6x7.6 cm (3x3") prints. There are more printers in different sizes of the Kodak Mini Shot series plus other Mini size camera/printer combinations. They all use thermal sublimation technology, the photo passes 3 times under a film that "melts" a wax of each color on the special paper + a 4th time for finishing. The Canon CP series printers use this technology for quite some time and they have a very good reputation. The "inks" are apparently very stable, Canon is talking about 100 years of durability. The prints are kind of waterproof.

There is a Kodak website for cameras or printers. There are no precise specifications on the web. The official camera app comes from a South Korean firm. There is a Kodak Instant Square Camera Printer C300, wich looks the same. Obviously these are built by Prinics Co., Ltd
., a firm with an annual turnover of more than 1 Billion US Dollar. Prinics Co., Ltd. is a leading manufacturer and exporter selling photo printer digital camera goods and services in different parts of the world since 2013.

There are 2 apps, the Kodak Instant Printer app and the Kodak Printer app. If you download the first, it will launch and then download and open the second, because it is the newer version. Irritating. Although the newer version only lists the 2x3 cameras and printers, it works with the 3x3 models. More irritation... The new app is a printer app only. No way to remote control your camera. Irritation complete. More info about the app can be found in the handling section further down.

The camera only comes with a multiligual instructions sheet, only 2 A7 size pages in mini print for each language. I have collected a bit of information at the end of the page. There is a "Retro" version of this camera, a different housing of the same camera. It's the same housing as the identical Agfa Realipix camera, I tested 3 years ago.

The box.

What's in the box: camera, cable only for charging, short instructions sheet, strap. There is an 8 prints cartridge in the camera already.

A pack of 3 cartridges for 30 photos.

The front. Tiny lens with selfie mirror and LCD flash

The back: small LCD screen and control buttons, easy to use. Around the O.K. button there are 4 buttons. The camera always starts in "frame" mode, you have to switch to frameless.

Left side. Strap lug at the edge, USB charge socket with tiny lamp, reset button.

Right side.
Image ejection slot.

On/Off button, shutter button and 2 tiny LCDs for camera on and bluetooth.

Cartrige trap at the bottom open...

...and a cartridge.

The paper passes 4 times. Yellow first, magenta second, cyan third and finishing layer last. If you want to see pictures of this, have a look at the Agfa Realipix page, same for printing a photo from the smartphone app.

Camera ready for printing a picture.

Instructions. That's all you get.

The basic handling is very easy. The camera is relatively small and light. The plastic is OK. Switching the camera on is fine, you press the "On" button for a seconds and it lights up. The menu is easy, there is not much choice. With 4 buttons and the OK button in the middle you can access very few choices: white margin or not, some filters, among which a b&w filter which is not accessible via the app and flash or not. That's it. The screen is very small, not even 5 cm diameter. The captured photo remains on the screen, it can only be printed immediately or deleted. No way to adjust exposure, not before, not after taking the photo. Take it or leave it. No way to keep the photo otherwise than printing it. It's incredible
: even in 2023 there is a new electronic camera with no memory at all! As printing is very slow, it's a pain that you are forced to print on the spot, be it windy or whatever. And only then you can take the next photo.

There is no indication of the number of photos left. If the cartridge is empty, the camera tries to print and then gives a error message. The state of the battery is not indicated as well. If empty, the camera shuts down with an error message. These are basic camera features since ages, their absence sucks. If you use the app, battery charge status is accessible, so it would be possible...but no counter as well in the app.

The printed photos are fine for exterior photos with infinity distance, with less distance they are OK in good light down to ~25cm.
Obviously there is no focussing, it's rather fixed focus. In low light there can easily be some blur. For a year 2023 camera this is poor performance. You'll get what you saw on the screen, but as the screen is tiny, you can't see much. The printing speed is slow, heating the printer first and then passing the paper 4 times takes a good moment, 1m25 on mine.

The new smartphone app works fine, if you just want to print photos taken with your smartphone. But this is not what I want, I want to access the Kodak camera via my smartphone. You can still open the old app, it will launch the new app and easily pair, but as the old one is still open, you can return to the old app. Pairing is more difficult then, but it's possible if you insist. When paired to the old app, you have access to the remote shutter of the Kodak camera. Take a picture via the remote. The transfer to the smartphone takes a moment. Now  you have access to more filters and some more features, like post-treatment of the photo. You can even zoom into the photo and, very important, you can save the picture to your smartphone! Finally, you can print the picture via the app. The absence of a tripod socket is bad, the camera isn't very stable when it stands on its bottom.

If you save the pictures on your phone first, you will have
a 3840 x 2880 pixel file, automatically a 2160 x 2160 pixel section is chosen for print, indicated by a frame. You can move the frame if wanted. If you zoom or print and then save the file, you will get a 896 x 896 pixel file only. Probably only this size is sent to the print unit. That may explain why you can sometimes see  jaggies on the scans, hardly visible on the photo in your hand. The files have no EXIF information.

Compared to the Agfa Realipix from 2020, the quality of the prints has improved a lot. Some sample pictures scanned without post treatment at 400 dpi. The pictures look much bigger on the sceen, they are 7.6 x 7.6 cm (3x3") in reality. They look much sharper in your hand. So to be fair, first one about real size:

This is approx the size of the print, 76 x 76 mm.

Cologne, view from my office.

My Cologne veranda.

My Cologne house.

Photo via the app from my smartphone. Eupen, Belgium, main square.

Cologne center, main threspassing road.

Distance 1m, there is distortion well visible here, less on other photos, but it's always present. If you look closely at the photo of my house, you can see it nevertheless.

Cologne, St. Pantaleon.

Entrance to St. Pantaleon.

Cologne, new tax offices (1950s).

View from my atelier over the roofs of Cologne with Cologne Cathedral.

2.5m, interior photo w/o flash. I
n my Cologne atelier.

Photo taken via the app as remote for the camera. View from my office.

Zoomed into the photo and then printed.

~30cm, hand-held in low light. Quite OK.

Less than 15cm, that's a bit too near.

So the photos are ways better than those of the identical Agfa Realipix 3 years ago. That's a big improvement. Prices for cartridges are half as well, it comes down to 40c a print. One would still wish a better camera, at least a bit of memory. a counter and a battery charge indicator. And a new app for the camera AND the printer.

The camera specifications so far:

Image sensor: 10 MP
Effective pixels: 3840 x 2880, automatic 2160 x 2160 image section printed
No storage media, no memory
Focal length: 3.71mm (25.4mm in 35mm equivalent)
Aperture: F1.7
Focus range: fixed focus, ~ 1m to ∞
Shutter speed: 1/50 for interior photos
Sensitivity. ISO 125 for interior photos
Flash:  Auto or off, Auto is default

Printer Specifications

Photo capacity     10 prints per pack
Image size     76 mm x 76 mm
Coulors   256 gradation / 16,700,000 colors

Other Specifications

Smartphone app functions     smartphone image print, remote image capture, filter addition, post-processing
LCD monitor     1.77-in. TFT color LCD monitor
External interface     Micro USB Micro-B (for charging only)
Power supply     Lithium-ion battery 970mAh (built-in, cannot be removed)
Charging function     Built-in
Printing capacity     Approx. 20 prints (when battery is fully charged), tested and confimed with mine.
Dimensions     130 mm x 103 mm x 30 mm  (excluding protrusion, 7mm)
Weight     Approx. 380 g (including film pack)