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.
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.