Since launching their two mobile photography lenses last year, the Moment team in Seattle has been working hard to improve other aspects of the mobile photography experience. They have revealed their newest creation, the Moment Case, which works in conjunction with their mobile app and current two lenses. With the Moment team’s success with using Kickstarter on their last project, they have decided to turn back to the site to fund the Moment Case as well. The best part is, it’s available for order as of today, and lucky for me I had the pleasure of being the sole individual outside of the Moment team, to test the prototype case prior to today’s launch. However, it’s currently only available for the iPhone 6, which is making me wish I didn’t pick up the 6+ a few months back.
Is this the pinnacle of mobile photography? It just might be. This case seemingly solves just about all of the inconveniences that come along with mobile photography. Its ability for quick access and case features not only make the device more useful, but also keep it safer. Furthermore, it applies the conventional photographic process by way of a physical shutter button and couples that with amazing lenses; thus, creating the potential to change the landscape of mobile photography.
The case is comprised mostly from custom TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), which is a somewhat flexible rubberized plastic. This enables great protection without everting your pocket every time you remove the phone. The button interface on the case is very similar to how the Apple leather case feels, though slightly tougher. I’m also told that it will be easier to press the lock and volume buttons in the final version of the case. The steel bayonet lens mount is now built into the case removing the need for a mount glued directly to your device.
The case also features a machined aluminum camera strap attachment. If you’ve ever hiked with your phone, you know getting to the device every time you want to take a shot along the way, proves to be a hassle. Removing the phone and attaching the lens every time is inconvenient and increases the probability of dropping the phone or the lens. However, with a neck strap attached, the device stays secure, and thus eliminates the need to remove the lens to fit in your pocket, ergo, less fumbling.
Moreover, if you press the physical shutter button while the device is locked, a lock screen notification from the Moment app arises. By swiping this notification, you are automatically directed to the Moment app, ready to shoot. I tend to use the native camera app using the swipe up method on the iPhone, instead of using an app like VSCOcam to capture, because I want to be able to take a photo as quickly as possible. Now, this feature from Moment, tied to a very usable capture app, would sway me to use their app as default instead. Plus, the app saves all the photos directly to the camera roll for easy import into your favorite editing app.
The case’s star feature is a dual-stage dedicated shutter button, which functions the same as a DSLR shutter button: half press for focus, full press to trigger the shutter. The grip of the case is where the shutter action and electronics are housed. While one might speculate the extra bulk of the grip becoming a burden, I found the exact opposite. The grip provides a small, yet effective, bulge to hold onto when in use. It also made removing the device from my pocket easier than my standard case. The case is roughly double the thickness of a bare iPhone at the bottom where the grip is the most ample. Lastly, the case connects to your device using low energy Bluetooth and the team expects roughly a few months of battery life with everyday use.
Version 2 of the app is totally redesigned, so if you have the current one, there has been a major overhaul. The app features the familiar split focus and exposure functions that you may have grown accustomed to from other apps. A half press on the shutter button will focus and set exposure for the scene, while sliding your left thumb side to side you can adjust exposure, and sliding up and down sets the focus. The app also boasts a full resolution TIFF capture, one step closer to RAW capabilities on iPhone.
What I Liked
- Quality, the TPU protects your device whilst providing grip and a quality feel.
- Ease of use, The case coupled with the Moment App work together to simplify the process of capturing images.
- Everyday Case, It's bulky in all the right places and would function as an everyday case.
- Improved Lens Mount, The mounting bracket is built recessed into the case which creates a stronger area where the lens attaches. This also eliminates the phone rocking from the mount being raised. The lens is also flush with the case when installed making it more secure.
What Could be Improved
iPhone 6 Only, I feel like there are a ton of serious shooters that invested in the 6+ that can't utilize the case.
- Bluetooth, the Bluetooth was somewhat temperamental when pairing with the phone.
- Image Orientation, some of my images came into the camera roll upside down.
It's important to note that I was testing a preproduction working prototype case.
The case is something I could imagine I’d leave on my phone every day, and just attach the neck/wrist strap for hikes. I've already inserted the lenses into my daily workflow, which you can read about in the review. From the day and a half that I spent with the case, I can honestly say this is the first time I regret buying the iPhone 6+. You can preorder the case on Moment's Kickstarter page right now. The entry level donation to get yourself a case is $50, where as $199 will get you a full kit.
UPDATE: The project has reached their 100k goal in just under 24 hours!
UPDATE 2: The iPhone 6+ case is now availble for backing on the Kickstarter page, ships in August!