The Canon Zoemini S2 – also known as the Canon Ivy Cliq 2 – is a fascinating device. One part smartphone-sized instant camera, one part pocket-friendly instant printer, it would seem to be the perfect gadget for those of us who demand instant gratification from our photography.
I make no bones about the fact that I'm a big Instax and Polaroid fan. I own many of the models on our list of best instant cameras, because I adore the photochemical process – as a child of the Eighties, there is simply nothing that matches the uniquely retro, bleached, contrasty vibe of an instant photo.
Perhaps it's for this reason that while I also own a number of the best digital instant cameras like the Canon Zoemini S2, I feel less attached to them. Rather than the decidedly low-fi grinding, whirring, chemicals-and-cartridge approach of old, these clever contraptions pack a digital camera in a body with an instant printer.
Which is, in many ways, much better; the image quality is technically superior, and the printed photos have a unique sticky back design that means you can easily affix them to your fridge, laptop, notebook, phone case or anything else.
Still, digital superiority isn't everything. It's why I still have a collection of vinyls to complement my MP3s – because crunchy analog things just, somehow, have so much more personality.
So I greeted the Canon Zoemini S2 with a small degree of trepidation. I expected it to be perfectly capable at what it wanted to do, but was it really going to make me give up the retro gratification of the Polaroid Now+? Or the hybrid print-a-picture-on-Instax-film wizardry of the Instax Mini LiPlay?
The truth is, no – it didn't. But it came close. The Canon Zoemini S2 is a delightful little device, and importantly it's packed with personality. The design of the camera looks straight out of a Pixar film; a sleek slab of color with a big giant selfie mirror on the front.
It's even more svelte than the tiny Polaroid Go, which means I can slip it in my pocket "just in case" I want to use it – a fancy that invariably takes me. Especially since the world has opened up again, and I find myself going to dinner and visit with friends, I don't just want a selfie on my phone – I want a little physical reminder to share with friends.
The fact that the Zoemini doubles as a printer means that I can snap a shot, then print out multiple copies to give to everyone at the table. And if the 8MP camera doesn't quite match the quality of my iPhone 13 Mini, no problem – I can just print out the shot from my phone instead.
I didn't think there was room in my life for a camera like this, but in our increasingly post-pandemic world I'm starting to wonder how I did without it.