Monday, February 18, 2019

Moment Lens Review

      A couple weeks ago, I cracked the screen on an old cell phone I had been using for several years.  This isn't something most people would be happy about, but there was a part of me that was excited to have a newer phone because it meant having a better camera phone - and that meant finally buying Moment lenses

     For years, I have wanted these lenses, but I knew I had to wait until I had a better camera phone to fully maximize what I could do with the lenses.  If the travel-size product section at Target makes you as happy as it makes me, then this may be a sign that you are in the market for some Moment lenses!  These lenses made it onto my 2017 and 2018 photographer gift lists, so you know I've been coveting them for a while!

     I currently own the following Moment products:

     I love the tiny details in their products.  

     Their packaging is fantastic.  I love how they incorporate a photo taken with the lens you purchase into the packaging.  Each lens comes with a little rubber lens cap and a soft pouch.  The lens pouches  reminded me of buying lenses for Canon L lenses - nice touch!

     The lenses are small, but very well made.  This was one of the things that stood out to me the most when I first got them.  There is a bit of weight to them.  They are made from real metal and glass after all.  When I was researching these lenses, one of the complaints people had was having to buy the phone case.  I had my own concerns about having to use a case by Moment, but once I received the phone case, it was clear how substantial the case was and that it was more than capable of protecting my new phone.  To me, having to screw the lenses onto the phone case made it feel like I was having the DSLR experience, but without the DSLR weight.  I'm able to change lenses to get creative with my shots just like I do when using a DSLR.  There are many reviews on the lenses on YouTube, but what I found lacking in my research were examples of what you could do with these lenses.  A lot of the reviewers on YouTube were sent the lenses, and I didn't think they spent enough time with the lenses to fully form a valid opinion.  So after about three weeks of using these lenses regularly, I can finally write this review.  Here is what I like and don't like about the lenses:

What I like:

  • Feels like you are using a mini DSLR system
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to have with you all the time (unlike a DSLR kit - imagine having to carry a telephoto, macro, and wide angle lens along with your DSLR body all the time?!)
  • Amazing build quality - I've seen clip on "lenses" that other people have bought, and looked at a bunch on Amazon, but I found that many people tout Moment as having the best build quality.
  • No vignetting
  • No noticeable loss in image quality
  • Moment Pro Camera app is a great addition to use with these lenses to gain control of things like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc.  There is a free version, but it doesn't let you control these features.  The $4.99 is a steal for this great camera app!
  • If you have a dual lens camera, it can extend the focal length of the Moment lenses.  For example, on my iPhone XS, using the tele lens on the bottom lens, doubles it's focal length.  I find that using the Moment Pro Camera app is best for utilizing both the lenses on your camera since it allows you to easily switch between lenses.

What I don't like:

  • There is no alternative - you have to use the phone case.  There used to be a plate you could buy (when they had their version 1 lenses) to adhere to any phone, but they have since stopped making these.
  • There was no protective cap for the back element of the lenses, but Moment has since come out with these and they are now available on their website.  I really wish they had come up with something simpler and a bit cheaper that came with the lens instead of having to purchase it in addition to the lenses.
  • Dust.  Since you have the lenses out and your phone is constantly in use, it is really important to clear the dust from your cell phone camera lens, as well as from the Moment lens, before screwing it on.  This is not unlike how we have to clean our DSLR lenses, but with something already so tiny, the dust just seems to be there all the time.  I do carry a lens pen with me to keep things dust-free.
  • Lack of a practical means of carrying the lenses on you.  Their wristlet and lens pouches hold two lenses, but I have three so those were not great options.  I manage to fit all three lenses into the wristlet but it is made for two lenses.  The larger cases hold more (up to 4), but they aren't made for easily accessing your lenses.  I really wish Moment would come out with a small insert that people could put in their bags that keep the lenses separate and protected, but that allow easy access when shooting. 
  • Cost.  These aren't cheap, but they are well made.  If you see yourself really using them (which I do), they are totally worth the money in my opinion.   
  • The macro lens is not a true macro.  It is basically a magnifying glass.  You need to get very close to the subject with the lens in order for the macro look to appear.  This limits the compositions you can make in my opinion, but it is still a fun little lens to have in your kit.

     And finally, the photos!  I have three sets - the first two from photo walks where I mainly use the wide and tele lenses.  The third set is of flower macros.  All photos were edited with the basic editing options on my iPhone XS.  I know there are better apps out there for editing photos on mobile devices, but I've not gotten to the point where I felt I need to use them yet. 

Set #1 - Downtown L.A. 


Set #2 - Santa Monica Photo Walk - It was incredibly windy on this day!  

     Using the wide lens...

     versus using the tele lens.

Set #3 - Macros

     I would recommend this for people who love their DSLR photography, but don't always want to carry around their big cameras all the time.  I'm completely happy with the photos I can get using my iPhone XS along with my Moment lenses to capture most things.  One of the most common questions I get from people is what camera I would recommend to someone who wants to get into photography.  I usually suggest anywhere from an advanced point and shoot like the Canon G7x Mark II to an entry level DSLR.  Now I think I am going to start recommending they get some Moment lenses!  They are such a great, compact way to get more creative for a little less money than investing in a new camera.  Personally, I feel like they make me think about my compositions more when I'm taking photos with my cell phone.  The nice part is, you already have the camera - you just need to get yourself some lenses!
     Thanks for reading and happy shooting! 😊