Several times in the past few months, I’ve put up posts that include shots taken with Moment camera lenses. And I’ve been promising a review of the Moment system. So here it is.
The Trouble With Add-on Smartphone Camera Lenses
I’ve tried out a number of different lens solutions for improving a smartphone camera’s capabilities. I haven’t been particularly impressed with any of these. Some clip on, some attach via a magnetic mount, some use a special case. What they tend to have in common is poor quality optics combined with mounting methods that are either imprecise (clips) or prone to failure with use.
With a $20 lens kit, you get what you pay for. It might be fine for casual use, but if you want to seriously improve your smartphone’s camera, something better is called for.
Moment Lenses & Cases Combine Quality With Smart Design
Moment is a company with extensive experience in making camera lenses. That means 25 years of high precision, multi-element optics. Moment also sells camera cases—some with an additional battery to keep a smartphone shooting longer and a physical shutter button. The cases are designed to be photographer-friendly, with grippy material, and they include an integrated lens mount.
You start with the case (starting at $29.99 for the Photo case or $99.99 for the Battery case and offered for a wide range of current smartphones). Then choose lenses. Ranging in price from $89.99 to $99.99, current offerings are Tele, Wide, Superfish and Macro. Photos are taken using the Moment app instead of the smartphone’s native camera app (it’s intuitive to use and full-featured).
Moment also offers a range of accessories, including lens cases, wrist straps, and filter mounts.
I was sent a Photo Case and Battery Case for an iPhone 7 Plus, along with Tele and Wide lenses. The nice thing about that Tele lens is that it can be used on top of the iPhone’s second, zoom camera, effectively giving 4x optical zoom. Same thing with other dual camera smartphones like the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8.
The cases themselves do a decent job of protection from bumps while offering a nice grip and easy lens mounting—simply twist to lock into place and line up the markings to ensure the lens is secure. I really liked the Battery Case, which was easier to install and remove than most, nearly doubled my battery life, and also includes a really handy shutter button. You can even half-press the button to autofocus, just like a DSLR.
The Lenses themselves did a great job. The Wide lens seriously upped my outdoor photo game, capturing huge swathes of landscape in a single shot, with no noticeable distortion. With the Tele lens, I was able to zoom into action with my iPhone for serious close-ups. The photos taken were high quality, with the only issue being occasional minor purple fringing in some extreme lighting situations.
Here are two photos taken at Canada’s Wonderland showing the Moment Tele lens in action. Un-cropped and unprocessed, the one on the left is using the iPhone 7 Plus zoom camera, the one on the right adds the Moment Tele lens for a total of 4x optical zoom.
You can see other examples of shots taken with the Moment lenses in this post about Gary Numan, and this one about Happily Ever Esther farm sanctuary.
Who Are These For?
There’s no avoiding the fact that Moment lenses are expensive in comparison to the flood of cheap options on Amazon. If you just want to try out a zoom, wide angle, or fish-eye effect on occasion, many of these options will do the job.
But if you’re serious about upgrading your smartphone’s camera game and want add-on lenses that let you take high-quality photos, then check out Moment. I was amazed by how good the shots taken on my iPhone turned out. And with Moment’s ongoing offering of new cases, those lenses could well last you several generations of smartphones.
Disclosure: Moment provided lenses and cases for evaluation but had no input into this review.
9 thoughts on “GeekDad Review: Moment Camera Case + Lenses for Smartphones”
Thanks for the review! I’ve been looking for some kind of extra lens for my mobile phone. It seems that Moment case & lenses are the best options right now. In your opinion, what are the advantages of using Moment app versus the native camera app?
You don’t have a choice when using the Moment lens –the native camera app doesn’t recognize the Moment lens (at least it didn’t on a dual camera iPhone). However, the Moment app gives you much more granular control over setting like exposure, temperature and focus (you can separate them), and lets you save in RAW.
If you just buy the $30 case and take pictures with the case on a iPhone 8 plus do you have to have Moment lens also? Do you have an advantage over iPhone only in shooting with the Moment case? I was considering getting the case if it made camera easier to hold for shooting and the button would be easier. Does it make it any easier to take zoom pictures
The $30 case is a little grippier than average, so it helps –but it doesn’t have the shutter button. Only the battery case has that. You don’t need to use a Moment lens for either case (can use the case alone), you can always add one on later if you choose. The battery case definitely helps with shooting –the shutter button is easy to find and it can do a half-depress to focus lock. Not sure what you mean by “easier” on the zoom… It really doesn’t change the functionality, and when a zoom lens is mounted you can;t switch back and forth without removing the add-on zoom lens –it’s zoom only while that lens is on (but it takes two seconds to pop it off).
HI Brad, thanks for the review. I’m preparing for a 3 week trip to Europe of which includes the Swiss Alps and Italian Alps along with many other places in Italy. It’s a pretty intense travel trip from place to place and I just dont want to take my heavy DSLR. I want to up my game with my iphone photography for the trip. The Moment lenses look to be hands down the best quality lenses. My question is in regards to the batter case. How much extra battery life did it give you and how was the added weight? One review on youtube stated the added weight was significant. I will be hiking and feel I need the extra battery. Would you recommend the battery case or the regular case and pack an extra battery pack? (which is what I usually do). I would love a more detailed and in depth review specifically of the battery case and moment app. Thanks.
Hi, Tracy. The battery case for the iPhone 7 Plus is 3800mAh, so it basically doubled battery life. I’d recommend it. Easier to get on and off than most battery cases I’ve used, very good grip, there’s a slot for a wrist strap (that’s sold separately but you could probably use your own) and it has a two-stage shutter button –which is really useful. It’s heavy at 5.2 ounces, but no worse than other battery cases and didn’t bother me in all-day use. For the app, check out Moment’s website –they have videos that show it in action so you can get a good idea of how it works. I have a more detailed review of the lenses and cases here http://bit.ly/2BPxE79 if you’re interested, but don’t get into much more detail about the app itself…
Thanks Brad. very helpful.
Occasional fringing? Are you sure the free lenses didn’t have more of an impact on your review? I bought both the new wide and tele and both are unbearable.
What a mistake. I ordered a Tele Lens for my wife’s iPhone. When it arrived, it wouldn’t connect to the iPhone 12 Pro. So they told me to order a “mount”. I did that. It wouldn’t fit into my wife’s iPhone case. So I ordered a Moment case – they sent me the wrong one. Because I’m outside the 30 day window for “returns”, they are refusing to exchange. “We don’t do exchanges”. WARNING: These products do NOT work with iPhones unless you want to go down this rabbit hole of having to buy more and more accessories from Moment. To this day, I have all these accessories that I can’t use. VERY, VERY disappointing and frustrating experience. What a mistake to buy from them instead of getting something on Amazon.
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