I used to carry a pocket camera with me everywhere I went, but now my smartphone has come to be my everyday camera.
Moment lenses allow me to capture some unique images that I wouldn’t be able to with just the built-in smartphone lens, much like the Moment Lens filters.
I don’t always want to take my professional camera with me everywhere I go.
However, the focal lengths and angles offered by built-in smartphone camera lenses don’t always give me the composition that I’m looking for.
I decided to put four Moment lenses to the test to see how well they work and how they could help me improve my smartphone photography.
If you’ve been wanting to get more out of your smartphone photography, keep reading to learn what the fuss is about Moment lenses.
Table of Contents
Moment Lens Specs
- Outstanding build quality
- Lenses are durable and can withstand daily use
- Images are crisp, clear, and unique
- Highest quality option for smartphone lenses
- Moment cases and bayonet-style mount is secure and easy to use
- Variety of lenses to suit your photography style
- You’ll also need a Moment case or mount
- Price might be too high for some
Here’s a breakdown of the specs for the lenses I’ll be reviewing today.
|Lens Model||Focal Length||Compatibility||Field of View||Construction|
|Wide||18mm||Moment Case or M-series mount||100° diagonal||6 Elements 5 Groups|
|Fisheye||14mm||Moment Case or M-series mount||170° diagonal||Multi-element, 3G/1A bi-aspheric design with coating|
|Macro||25mm||Moment Case or M-series mount||10x magnification||3 elements in 2 groups|
|Anamorphic||37mm||Moment Case or M-series mount||2.40:1 aspect ratio after de-squeeze||2 cylindrical elements, anti-reflection coating|
Build & Ergonomics
The general build and ergonomics are all pretty solid when it comes to these Moment lenses.
I want to kick things off by talking about their durability. You can definitely feel the value of these lenses.
Moment lenses have a good weight to them, and I know from experience that they can withstand the occasional drop!
The design of these lenses feels pretty natural to use. I don’t often find myself accidentally touching the glass when I’m trying to connect the lens to my Moment phone case.
They feel like they’re just the right size without being too unwieldy on my smartphone.
The lenses connect to your Moment phone case with their bayonet-style mount. I’ve used these in some run-and-gun situations, and they have yet to fall off while in use.
This does mean you’re going to have to buy a Moment case to go with your lens.
Moment has a wide range of options and styles for you to choose from, so it’s not that big of a hurdle to using these lenses.
Attaching Moment Lenses to Your Smartphone
As I mentioned, Moment lenses attach to a bayonet-style mount on smartphone cases made by this brand.
This mount is incredibly secure. I was a little worried at first that these lenses would be falling off all the time, but in a few years of shooting with Moment lenses—I have never seen one fall off.
There are only two caveats I would give to this Smartphone lens mounting system.
The first is that you want to take some time to get familiar with it, just like you would any new lens mounting system. You never want to be out there in the field fumbling with your lenses while the shot of a lifetime passes you by.
My only other caveat would be that you should invest in a protective cover for your smartphone camera lens. This mounts over your smartphone camera in the same way that a screen protector would.
I’ve never accidentally scratched a smartphone camera with a Moment lens, but then again, I’ve always used a smartphone camera protector.
The focus performance of Moment lenses is excellent. To be honest, I really didn’t notice any difference when focusing with a Moment lens or without one. That’s pretty responsive for an add-on smartphone lens.
This was just as true when shooting in low light conditions as it was when taking some video.
I did find that the focusing performed better when using the Moment app.
The Moment app has a few presets that are designed to work with each lens. These are correct for optical distortion, which is especially useful when de-squeezing shots taken with the anamorphic lens.
The app also puts your smartphone’s camera into full manual mode. You’ll be able to control everything from the focus to independent lens selection if your smartphone has more than one lens.
The image quality on Moment lenses is just fantastic.
Maybe I’m just an old-school photographer, but I always feel like my images are sharper when I have an actual lens mounted to my camera.
The pictures I take with Moment lenses always have a little bit more clarity and vibrance than images captured with my smartphone alone.
There isn’t a very noticeable increase in distortion when using Moment lenses, but you might get some vignetting with a few of the lenses.
Moment makes an anamorphic lens and a fisheye lens that have a lot of distortion, but if you’re familiar with those two types of lenses, then you’ll know that the distortion that comes with them is part of their aesthetic charm.
That charm is a big factor in the image quality of Moment lenses. If all of your smartphone pics are starting to feel a little the same, maybe the thing that you’ve been looking for is a new lens to give you a unique angle and focal length.
18mm Wide Angle Lens
The Moment 18 mm wide-angle lens is one of my favorites. I’ve usually got this lens on me whether I’m going out to take some photos or some video.
The image quality on this 18 mm lens just can’t be beaten when it comes to smartphone photography.
I also can’t get enough of actually being able to capture wide-angle shots that don’t have that smartphone camera look to them.
This lens is great for wide-angle portraits as well as landscape photography. I’ve also made a lot of good use of this lens when doing smartphone videography in cramped quarters like indoor interviews.
Fisheye 14mm Lens
The 14 mm fisheye lens is great for getting close to your subject, and it’s a much better option than trying to use fisheye distortion filters.
I usually have to edit out a lot of vignetting and distortion when working with a fisheye lens, but I was pretty surprised by how clean the pictures taken with the fisheye lens were.
They still have that ultrawide fisheye style that I enjoy, but the images were crisp from corner to corner.
The fisheye lens is also an amazing choice if you’re a videographer. This will give you that wide-angle, GoPro feel without having to keep a second device charged.
Macro 10x Lens
It’s wild to think that you can take stunning macro photography using nothing more than that smartphone that’s sitting in your pocket.
One of the most interesting things about this macro lens is that it is the cheapest option out there for getting into macro photography.
If you want to know what all the hype about macro is about, you can pick up this lens for a fraction of the cost of anything else on the market.
Here’s a tip for using this macro lens. The included diffuser hood not only helps you get better light on your subject, but the edge of the diffuser hood is exactly the same length as the focusing distance of this lens.
This means that all you need to do is touch the edge of the diffuser hood to your subject, and your macro photos will always be in focus.
1.33x Anamorphic Lens – Blue Flare
The anamorphic lens from Moment was the one I was most excited to try. If you’re into the history of cinema, you’ll know that anamorphic lenses offer some of the most aesthetically pleasing images and are usually pretty hard to come by.
This lens allows your smartphone to naturally capture wide-angle 16:9 images. The Moment app comes with a de-squeeze feature that corrects for the anamorphic distortion, but you could also leave that distortion in for some retro cinematic aesthetics.
Anamorphic lenses are also well known for their lens flare. This lens has a blue coating that produces a striking blue flare that feels like it’s out of a Sci-Fi movie.
If you really want to challenge what smartphone photography is capable of, this is the lens you should pick first.
Moment Lens Sample Images
Here are some sample images taken with Moment lenses using my iPhone 12 Pro Max.
18mm Wide Angle Lens
Fisheye 14mm Lens
Macro 10x Lens
1.33x Anamorphic Lens – Blue Flare
How I Tested the Moment Lenses
It’s no secret that I’ve been using Moment lenses for a while now. This means I’ve gotten to test them under a wide range of conditions from casual day photography to more demanding shoots.
My smartphone is now my go-to everyday camera. When I don’t feel like hauling around a professional camera lens, I just use my iPhone for day-to-day photography.
I did my latest test using my iPhone Pro Max 12 with a Moment magsafe case. I was also carrying the Moment filmmaker cage and the M-TW bag just to see how well Moment gear works together.
Since I’ve already got a Moment case on my phone, quickly attaching one of their lenses is an easy way to upgrade my images and capture new angles.
Whenever I head out, I’ll typically throw one or two Moment lenses into my bag. My two favorite choices are the 18 mm wide angle and the macro, but the anamorphic lens and fisheye lenses are never far behind.
I’ve used these lenses at night, in the rain, and even on vacation. These lenses are also great for video with the anamorphic lens being able to create some standout results.
I think it’s fair to say that I put some serious miles on my Moment gear.
What is the Best Alternative to Moment lenses?
Moment is definitely in a league of its own when it comes to smartphone lenses.
While you can find plenty of budget alternatives to clip on a few lenses to your smartphone, there really isn’t anyone else making lenses quite like Moment.
I put together a quick list of a few alternatives you can consider. Most of these are budget alternatives that work if you can’t spend about $100 per lens for your smartphone.
The only oddball in this alternative list is Sony’s brief foray into smartphone lenses which is certainly interesting, if not very popular.
(Refer to our best macro lens for iPhone article.)
Why are Moment Lenses so Expensive?
While plastic smartphone lenses are a dime a dozen on Amazon, Moment lenses are made from aerospace-grade metal and the same high-end glass used in 4K film lenses.
Each Moment lens is going to cost you around $100. This price can go up and down depending on a new lens being released or a sale.
I have to say that Moment lenses have the exact right value for their money. I’d even say that I feel like I’m getting a bargain at this price point.
Most of the other smartphone lenses out there are more of a gimmick rather than a serious option for people looking to take their smartphone photography to a new level.
This is especially the case with the more unique Moment lenses like the fisheye and anamorphic lenses.
You can always pick up one or two lenses to see if they’re right for you, or check the Moment website for one of their kit package deals to get some extra gear with lenses at a discount.
Where is Moment located?
Moment is based out of Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Moment also organizes international photography trips and works with photographers from all around the globe.
Who owns the Moment lens company?
Moment is owned by founders Marc Barros and Michael Thomas. The company was founded in 2013.
Which Moment lens should I get first?
Any of the Moment lenses would make a great first purchase. You need to consider the type of images or video that you want to capture and the lens that’s going to help you create the art you want to create.
With that said, I’d recommend grabbing the 18 mm wide-angle lens or the 58 mm tele lens for a good first option.
Moment Lens Review | Conclusion
I’ve been using Moment lenses for years now and I’ve got no plans on stopping.
Like so many other people, my smartphone is my go-to pocket camera.
If I can quickly slap on a lens to capture new angles or get a better-looking image, then these lenses from Moment are more than worth the purchase.