Revisiting Moment Lenses for the iPhone

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”

Yousuf Karsh

While Yousuf is correct with his thoughts, good glass doesn’t hurt the process 🙂 And with the itty bitty lenses on most smartphones, trying to enhance the lens can be a trying experience.  Most are junk and some are fair but one maker has really set the bar for an accessory lens for the iPhone and Android smartphone and that is Moment.

Original Style Moment Lens set with stick-on mount

I bought my first set of Moment lenses when they were a Kickstarter project back in 2014. Moment raised almost a half million dollars to fund their project to make a set of real glass accessory lenses for the iPhone.  When I bought my first set, my family and many friends thought I was crazy for paying what I did for a pair of iPhone add-on lenses. These were not the normal rinky-dink plastic clip-on but real metal and glass lenses.  They looked serious because they were not small, they were pretty big on the phone. They weighed a lot for an accessory lens and they were costly. That is a lot of marks against something right up front.

These lenses kick butt on my iPhone 5S and when I bought my iPhone 7, I decided to upgrade. Moment has improved the mounting moving away from the stick on mount and using a case with a built-in mount.

Moment Case for iPhone Xr showing lens mount

I had an email exchange with one of the folks at Moment and he was telling me that they completely re-engineered the telephoto lens from 60mm on the older iPhones to 58mm on the newer phones like the 7/8/X because the sensor chips have changed size. I had noticed my 60mm has a lot of distortion on the edges when used with the iPhone 7 and had written to them about it.  I ended up with a new battery case/mount plus a new 58mm lens. The 18mm wide-angle lens works fine with both versions of the sensor chip. I also picked up their small two lens belt case because these lenses are made from metal and glass are a bit too bulky and heavy to go into a pocket. Also, the opening on the back of the lens is SMALL so you need to keep them out of a dusty pocket or you will be looking for a cotton swab to clean the lens before you mount it.

This is a good time to talk about the battery case. I’ve had mixed results with it over the past year. The case itself is a nice design and holds up well. I do not like the big silver button on the side because that happens to be where I reset a finger so I’m also pressing the damn thing when I don’t want to.  It will charge a phone but it seems flaky about it. I don’t think it’s a problem with the case but a problem with the software on the case. The last Moment update helped some but it’s still not as robust as it should be. I have had my phone plugged in while in the case and it refuses to charge until I remove the case and charge the phone then put it all back together and it seems to work again.

Source Moment website

This is a problem because when you are traveling and using the camera heavily as I do, the phone battery doesn’t last nearly as long as it should. So you either carry a brick of some kind or you use a battery case. And with the Moment lens, you have two choices, brick or their case.  I hope Moment refines their case firmware a bit more soon because that is a pain point to using their entire system. Now that I’m done bashing on the base, I will say the case for protection is very good with the material able to absorb impacts well and it’s grippy even when damp.

Moment battery case for iPhone 7 showing mount, crease where to bend the case to install the case and lighting plug

I added one of their lanyards and I love the extra safety having the wrist lanyard in place when I’m taking shots that requirement to be dangling over water or from a high elevation. Or from a rollercoaster at speed. Losing your grip on the phone and then dropping it is a terrible and costly feeling.

Moment lanyard attached to battery case

I have a gallery of shots below that I took with my 5S and 7 using both the 18mm, 60mm and 58mm Moment lenses over the past few years.  Complaints aside of the case, I love the lenses and the new case mount vs the old stick on.

 

 

My wish for Moment is to add filter threads to the telephoto lens at least. It would help prevent me from hacking my filters onto the lens using gaffer tape 🙂  It’s not pretty but it works to put an ND filter or IR filter on my phone.

Using gaffer tape to put a ND filter on the 18mm wide angle moment lens

Why I would do such a thing will be a new blog post in the coming weeks. I had all of this in my book on iTunes but the book stopped at the 5S and IOS 7 so some of it is outdated now.  How to Create Amazing  iPhone Photographs

 

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