Mobile photography has come a long way. The combination of better hardware and software have made our daily companions a little more than a toy when it comes to capturing random life moments. I dare to say, perhaps for many it has even replaced their need for a dedicated point & shoot camera. Obviously mobile phones still can’t replace a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses simply due to the lens limitations, same way a low range point & shoot can’t, but I can see they are getting closer. Software tricks to replicate depth of field effect is neat! and an important effort towards that goal, but not very practical yet. I can see a future not too far where interchangeable compact lenses are available for your mobile phone camera, and that future feels more feasible with products such as the Moment Lens.
I’ve had my fair share of fisheye and wide angle lens adapter for my phones, a good and fun way to experiment and take interesting photos, but they never felt like anything more than a toy. Flash forward to 2014 when a group of very talented people who believed in “photography is in our pockets” launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce high quality lens adapters for mobile photography. I didn’t back the project at the time. I was very intrigued by it, yet somehow it escaped my radar and by the time I came across it again sadly the campaign was ended, but fortunately successfully. I kept an eye on Moment and when they started accepting pre-orders I jumped right in and ordered a Moment wide.
I love working with paper, graphics design and packaging, so I pay a special attention to those factors when I buy a new prodcut. I was very excited to receive my Moment Wide lens although I had very moderate expectations. From what I had seen and read, I knew I am getting a quality product, but how good could it be? it’s a just a mobile phone lens after all! So needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I was finally faced with this little beauty.
I don’t remember the last time I was actually excited about unpacking a gadget. Most items come in a pretty standard packaging. They are usually nicely & efficiently designed but there are not many details and special attention to them to slow down the unwrapping! you just tear away to the product. Not the case here.
Everything is fitted inside a little box with the moment logo printed on it. Inside there is a black box with a card wrapper that has little moment logos printed inside, a nice touch. This wrapper is holding two boxes; one houses the lens and the other the mount plate. Here comes the big moment, the first encounter.
First thing I noticed as I picked it up was the weight! this is proper glass! and then the mount plate which is a great feature as you can use your lens with any phone, provided the support from Moment. There’s also a nice little printed card to complete this beautifully designed package. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you discover a little carrying bag gently hidden under the lens! voila! now it’s completed! But let’s dive into the lens quality and the images captured with it.
Most current lens adapters for mobile phones look nice and sharp in the center but degrade rapidly the closer to the edge of the frame it gets. Although that provides some interesting effects at times, you really want an image that is as less distorted and abbreviated as possible, and that’s exactly what Moment delivers; nice, clean, and in my case, wide photos that are indistinguishable from a photo taken with a proper SLR wide lens. It makes your phone all you need for landscape or architecture photography! can’t believe me? see for yourself! (I’ve taken these photos using Google Nexus 5 and Apple iPhone 6)
You need to be patient when installing the mount plate and make sure the lens will be sitting exactly on the center of the camera lens, otherwise you will end up getting some vignetting. It was fairy easy to install it on Nexus 5, but on iPhone 6 no matter many how many times I tried I still ended up getting some minor vignetting. I might need to try again but the point is installing the mount should be much easier than this. Also need to be careful when re-adjusting the plate as the edges could scratch the back of your phone, specially for gentler ones like iPhone, as you lift it up and place it back down. Lastly, be a little careful when holding your phone after mounting the lens as it makes the upper half much heavier, so don’t drop it!
Moment is compatible with most phone cases, so far anything I have tried has worked so you don’t need to worry about that.
What could be better
Although sticking the mount plate on the back of your phone with the provided adhesive works, I wish they would provide other options; a case for example with the mounting plate built in. A lens cap on both ends would also be a welcomed addition as right now it easily gathers dust.
And the final thought is on the price. Right now, Moment it is priced at $99.99. It’s a well made lens and I don’t think I paid too much for it personally, but since it is only a companion lens adapter for a mobile phone, this initial pricing could put many off. Anyone who I have shown the lens and the photos to were amazed by it, but the price instantly became a drawback! specially if you are interested in buying the Tele lens too. What would be more reasonable? not too much lower! I think $74.99 would hit the sweet spot with more people.
Moment is ,without a doubt, the best mobile lens adapter ever made. It matches the great build quality with great images it produces and makes your mobile camera a much more capable one. It can easily rank it as 2014 top 5 gadgets for me and a must have for any mobile or non mobile photography enthusiast.
Update 10/11/14: Moment got in touch with me about the vignetting issue on iPhone 6 and suggested perhaps the lens is not fully rotated into the mount. The mount for iPhone was a little tighter than the one I had for Nexus 5 so I didn’t apply as much pressure as I should have. When I followed the instruction and pushed the lens to rotate until the logos on the sides were in line with with the top edge of the phone the vignetting was gone.
@samsalek […] The logos on the sides should be rotated till they are in line with with the top edge of the phone. This may solve it.
— Moment (@moment) November 10, 2014