Moment Lenses Review: Make Your Smartphone Camera Even Better!

9 min read

Nowadays, phone cameras are getting better and better to the point that phones are easily replacing point and shoot cameras, and the argument that phones will overtake DSLRs is even greater. Yet, even with the cameras we have on the Note 8, iPhone X, and Pixel 2 being so great, they can get even better and more equipped for all situations with lens attachments. The lenses made by Moment are what I’ve been using for the past month and they take those great photos by our smartphones to the next level.

Moment offers special cases, lens attachments, and accessories for several different smartphones that help them take different types of photos. The company offers a standard “Photo Case” for quite a few different devices which allows lenses to be easily attached. If you have an iPhone, on the other hand, you can also use a unique “Battery Case” option which is simply a photo case with an included battery. The lenses Moment offers are: an 18mm Wide angle, a 60mm Tele(photo), 170° Fisheye, and a 10x zoom Macro lens. We’ll dive into each in more detail soon.

I’ve been using the 4 lenses with both my iPhone 8 Plus and Pixel 2 and will compare the experience with them more in-depth afterward. First though, let’s start with the Photo Cases. Both of the cases I have were the walnut variant which has a plate of walnut wood design in the middle of the back of the case. As you can see the designs are different which help with the uniqueness of the cases. Surrounding that is hard black rubber, a slot for wrist/neck strap, and of course cutouts for the camera and fingerprint sensors. The power and volume buttons are covered but also are very slightly raised so that you can still easily find them with the case still on.

The cases don’t fully cover the phones, as there’s a cutout near the bottom for speakers, charging, and easy removal. Even still, the cases are heavy duty enough to protect your phone from drops (hoping that you don’t have a lens attached at that moment. Lastly engraved on the cases are the word ‘Moment’ and the company’s phrase ‘Long Live the Picture Taker’. Overall the cases are very high quality and durable enough that I actually use them while having no intent on using the lenses at that time. The Photo cases come in all black or the walnut variation for $30, while the iPhone-exclusive Battery case is $100.

Wide Lens

Let’s start with my favorite lens and Moment most lucrative lens yet, the Wide angle lens. The wide is the heaviest of all of their lens as well, just to state. What the wide does is enhance your phone’s viewfinder by up to 2x (I haven’t found any official numbers or specs for the lens). With this you can simply capture more with every shot. The best part is the extra area covered with the wide angle lens isn’t subject to any distortion like a fisheye lens.

One place I’ve found this lens to be immensely useful is when shooting videos on the Pixel 2. The video normally is cropped heavily, to enable Google’s stabilization, but the wide lens brings back all that removed area.

Just like me, this will likely be most people’s first and favorite lens. The utility is so wide and universal it’ll be hard to find a reason not to use this lens for most shots. The Moment wide lens is available for $100. Must buy.

Tele Lens

The next more versatile lens from Moment is their telephoto lens, which they call the Tele. The Tele is a 60mm lens that basically applies a 2x zoom on your viewfinder without you having to use digital zoom. This is especially useful for capturing far away photos without losing quality due to your phone’s built-in zoom.

An aspect that I wouldn’t have thought to be greatly improved using the Tele lens, is portrait photos for the Pixel 2. You’re able to farther away from your subject and still be able to capture their face and get a good picture for the portrait. Moment also has a bunch of tips and tricks for shooting using portrait mode.

I’m surprised by the utility of the Tele lens, which easily became my choice for the second most all around useful lens that Moment offers. The natural zoom is good in many situation and you don’t have to worry about quality dropoff. The Tele lens is available for $100. Great choice for second lens.

Superfish Lens

Now the Superfish lens, which is what Moment calls their fisheye lens, is more for specific use cases in my opinion. The Superfish is 170° which is very, very wide, meaning there will be distortion. That is to be expected from a fisheye lens, and anything straight on the left or right sides of the viewfinder will be curved.

I don’t see many shots where this is useful, except one place — videos. It could be a cool effect to use in videos but other than that, you’d have to be going for a specific type of shot. Vloggers may be in the category for users of this lens. The good thing is that you don’t get the black border that reminds me of early 360 cameras with this lens.

For anyone wanting to get these unique type of shots, know that Moment has you covered. Most people won’t be grabbing this lens first. Fisheye is a lens for specific use cases. The Superfish lens is $90. Useful for specific styles of shots only.

Macro Lens

Unfortunately, for me, the macro lens was the lens I was looking forward to the most. The macro lens for Moment is not only a tiny 25mm lens, but also incorporate a 10x zoom. This is where my disappointment hit.

With normal DSLR macro lens, I’m used to being a certain distance away and still being able to capture small objects. With the Moment macro lens, you have to be less than an inch away to get objects in focus. A lot of shots you’ll likely be getting won’t matter much to get that close, but for shots of say insects, you might be hard pressed for them to let you get so close.

I really actually like the macro, just not used to having to be so close to the subject to get the shots. The quality though is just as good with macro as with any other lens. While you might not want to use this lens all the time, it will really come in handy with any small detailed shot or just letting you know how dusty your other products are. The Macro is $90. Must be severely close, but still useful.

There are several differences between using the iPhone and Pixel that I wanted to include in this review as well, just so you all are aware. For one, the case for some reason is thicker for the iPhone 8 thank the Pixel 2, which made the phone more cumbersome to use with case than I’d like — I’m a minimal fan. The case on the Pixel 2 just feels so much more natural and comfortable. Also, due to the iPhone using two separate cameras and the Moment lenses being so large, a lot of features are disabled. You can’t use portrait mode and you can’t zoom past certain lengths when using the lenses on a Plus model iPhone. That fact and my opinions on the camera quality have me using the lenses more with my Pixel 2 XL.

One benefit the iPhone has over Android devices is a dedicated Moment camera app. Using the Moment allows you to easily swipe and use gesture to change settings on the fly. You can choose to only use one dedicated lens (normal or tele), change exposure or focus, and you can change file types (JPEG or Tiff), and that’s just the beginning. It also has preset setting built-in for the Moment lenses to further utilize their functionalities. Unfortunately, the app is only for iOS, but also you don’t have to use the app, you can stick with the stock camera app.

Overall, I think the Moment lenses offers great quality and functionality, and while expensive, they seem to be the gold standard in smartphone photography accessories. Once you buy a lens all you need to do is buy cases when you change phones and you can use that original lens on any new phone — the caveat being they don’t have cases for many phones yet. The competition is also creeping in from other manufacturers that are ready to make a comparable product for much less. Moment, being a small company, simply needs to keep expanding their portfolio. Doing so will be the best way to expose the brand even more and garner more unique customers.

I will state that Moment does a very good job of educating their public. If you visit the Moment website, you’ll find a section entitled “The Momentist” which has, How-Tos, Tips, Explanations, News and even more regarding Moment and the world of photography. They also have a growing Youtube channel where you can go behind the scenes with the team and see how they capture media using just phones and their lenses.

I’m loving using the Moment lenses and plan on incorporating them evermore into my smartphone usage for a long time to come. They simply push your photography game to the next level. Let me know down in the comments what you think of the Moment lenses and how they affect today’s smartphone photography.

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Thanks Moment for allowing us the chance to review your smartphone photography package.