It must have seemed like a gift from the business gods when Google didn't include a wide angle lens on its Pixel 4 series. It meant that third-party phone lens manufacturers such as Moment could sell a boatload of their own take on this specialty lens to new Pixel owners jealous of the iPhone's new third lens.
But is this the real deal? Fstoppers' David J. Fulde already took a look at the portrait-oriented 58mm from moment and described it as "not just a gimmick" and "sharp and built to last," which is high praise for a phone lens. That seems to be the verdict of tech vlogger Krystal Lora as well, where she took a look at the $100 15mm fisheye lens and $120 18mm wide angle lens as used on the Pixel 4.
It's no secret that I have an unabashed love for the Pixel series of phones as far as the cameras go, and while Google's secret-sauce AI can produce more-than-decent results for zooming on its single lens and double lens cameras, there's no real way to gain a wide angle perspective other than using panoramic mode, which doesn't do moving subjects any favors. This is Moment's time to shine. By building a case to use its lenses specifically for the Pixel 4, it gives users an option to come in from the wide-angleless cold, whereas other manufacturer's haven't quite caught on to this need for Pixel owners yet (I'm looking at you, Olloclip).
Moment's own YouTube channel takes a look at how the wide angle lenses can be used for portraits as well and provides some tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of those lenses on the Pixel 4.
Even wider than the 18mm and the 15mm lenses is Moment's own 14mm, which Moment bills as "Wider than an ultra wide. Cheaper than a GoPro" which makes it clear who this lens is targeting. At $90, with most phones sporting some sort of weather resistance, GoPro probably has something to worry about here. Ben Schoon at 9to5 Google took a look at this lens and talked about how good it was with the Pixel 4's new astrophotography mode. To be able to replace a GoPro with something that's already in your pocket sounds like a good idea, and the distortion inherent in the lens will be corrected via a pending iPhone update, according to Schoon (no word on Android yet).
So while Pixel owners have been treated to great cameras and software to power those cameras, they've unfortunately been left in the dust as other manufacturers add lenses upon lenses to their phones. That omission from Google makes a good case for adding some third-party lenses to the photo mix on these phones, and it looks like this trio of options might fit the bill if you're a Pixel user looking over the fence at the iPhone's wide-angle lenses.