Fstoppers Reviews the Moment Wide Angle Lens v2, the One Accessory You Need to Improve Your iPhonography

Fstoppers Reviews the Moment Wide Angle Lens v2, the One Accessory You Need to Improve Your iPhonography

Shooting with an iPhone is an excellent alternative in places where a DSLR is overkill, but in its default configuration, it lacks quite a few features. The company Moment offers solutions to most of my issues, starting with their superb wide angle lens.

A few years ago, Kyle Ford already reviewed the original Moment lenses, but I thought it was time for an update as the lenses designs have changed quite a bit to adapt to the more recent cameras found on our current smartphones. The first lens I decided to try out is the wide angle. The situations where I found myself not being able to move and capture a whole scene with my iPhone while traveling are numerous. I thought the wide angle would be a great solution to this problem and to improve my landscape photography. After a couple of weeks using it, here are my thoughts on the lens.

Build Quality

When I opened the package, I was pleasantly surprised by the weight. It’s quite heavy and thus feels very sturdy. It’s made of metal and glass, with a mounting system on the back that is small but feels solid as well. The lens comes with a small pouch and a front cap cover to protect it from the dust and eventual scratches. I wish though that a protection would be offered for the back of the lens as it’s quite tricky to clean. The back seems to collect quite a bit of dust if you leave your lenses in your pockets without putting them in the pouch first. But it’s a small detail, as the bag does the trick just fine.

To mount the lens on the phone, you’ll need a case designed by Moment. There are two versions available. One is a minimal case made of rubber, plastic, and a bit of wood or black canvas for a prettier design, while the other is battery case, that doubles the battery life of your phone. The second option is only available for iPhone 7, 7 plus, 8, and 8 plus for now, and soon will be for the iPhone X too. The standard case, however, comes in different designs to accommodate most of the recent high-end phones – Pixel, Pixel XL, Galaxy S8 and S9, and some of the older versions of the iPhone.

The way the lens attaches to the case is straightforward: place your glass on the case while aligning the line that is printed on the lens with the one engraved in the case, rotate the lens clockwise and done. It takes about two to three seconds to put it on or remove it, making it very practical even in situations where you don’t want to miss the moment in front of you.

The lens in itself is coated to diminish flare and reflection. It’s hard to judge the glass only by its look but does look pretty, and as soon as I had put the case on my phone, I mounted the lens to check out the results.

Performances

The lens is an 18mm equivalent, which in practice roughly doubles the field of view of the default iPhone lens. When first putting the glass on it might not seem like much, but once you start shooting landscape, architecture, or even portraits, the difference is very noticeable. The two images below show the difference between the field of view without and then with the Moment wide angle lens V2. Note that these images are totally unprocessed, so you can judge the vignetting, chromatic aberration, and sharpness from edge to edge as well.

In terms of image quality the Moment wide angle won’t make your image better. It will only affect the field of view. The image quality is limited by your phone in the first place; it may, however, make some imperfections more noticeable. I thought my images would suffer from more strong chromatic aberration but it wasn’t the case. However, the distortion was quite noticeable, but it’s nothing you can correct in post. At this kind of focal length, distortion is anyway something you’d expect from most lenses. Notice in the image below the distortion in the statue as well as the lack of sharpness in the crop near the edge. While looking at these examples, keep in mind though, that we are talking about a smartphone lens, and not huge DSLR lens.

Vignetting is minimal as well, especially when compared to the previous version. When looking at pictures people shot with the version one of the wide angle; the vignetting was quite noticeable. However, with the newer design, it’s not an issue anymore.

Price

The lens alone costs $99.99, but you’ll have to add the case on top of that if you don’t already own one from Moment that is compatible with the new mounting system of the current lenses. The battery case will set you back $90 when bought with a glass – $99 otherwise – and the more minimal case is only $29.99.

At first, the price might seem a bit high for an iPhone accessory. But honestly, the lens is well built that I know I’ll be able to keep it longer than my current smartphone will last me. It even feels more sturdy than a basic DSLR kit lens such as an 18-55mm. Also, with the image quality, our phones are now able to produce for both stills and video, the built-in camera isn’t a gimmick feature anymore.

What I Liked

  • Build quality is top notch
  • Comes with a pouch and front cap cover
  • Easy to mount on the phone
  • Standard photo case is affordable and looks great
  • Image quality isn’t degraded by the lens
  • Battery case doubles your phone’s battery life which is great when shooting a lot of pictures or videos

What Could Be Improved

  • No rear cap cover to protect the back of the lens from the dust
  • The battery case is available only for a limited amount of phones
  • The battery case cannot be used with lightning headphones. It will require you to use a wireless system to listen to your music.

As you can notice, the less positive points aren't really about the lens, but more details either regarding the battery case or the protection of the lens. The lens design is truly amazing, I'd be hard-pressed to find points to improve. Perhaps the distortion and sharpness edge-to-edge could be better, but I highly doubt it'd be possible to keep the lens as small as it currently is while making it perform better optically.

Conclusion

The new Moment wide angle lens design is an improvement over the previous version and is an excellent accessory for anyone who wants to shoot videos or photos with a phone. I never leave my house without my Moment lenses as they are so tiny and can always prove useful, even just to snap a group picture on a night out with friends. It’s hard to find a reason not get one, except for the price if you are on a tight budget. But other than that the wide angle lens is indeed a must-have.

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7 Comments

Thanks, Quentin -appreciate the write up here. I'm just over two months in with their 60mm Tele lens and the 170-degree Super Wide lens -both their newest models --and loving them, generally. Have you (or anyone else) shot the Tele lens yet, and noticed some more severe aberration and distortion though?

Also, a rear lens cap would be stellar, haha.

Cheers!

Quentin Decaillet's picture

I'm working on the tele lens as I write these lines. It should be ready for publication soon ;) But yes, in short, I don't feel like the optical quality of the wide and tele are on par.

The title of this article includes the word iPhonography yet you state it can be used with the Pixel, Pixel XL, Galaxy S8 and S9. Surely the title should say mobile phone photography or are you saying the lens will only improve your photography on an iPhone?

Carsten Arnold's picture

I agree with Quentin on every point he makes about this lens however I have several issues on the case design. I ordered my case/lens combo from B&H. The case was delivered soon after but I didn't receive the lens for nearly two months as it was backordered. I removed the Otter Box case from my iPhone 8 Plus to try it out. It adds considerable bulk to an already large phone but I was okay with that considering I like my DSLR equipment big and heavy as well. I was pleasantly surprised by the build quality and extra grip it gives as the case is not slippery and well built. The addition of a shutter button on one side is also a bonus. The Moment app is good except I continue to have issues with the battery indicator icon disappearing. You have to slide the phone off the lightning connector and back on again to get it to come back. Once I even had to reinstall the software to get it to recognize the case was installed to get the battery indicator to return. This is a known issue and the fix is on the Moment website. The biggest problem with the case is the design of the front. The sides of the case are quite thick which is great, however the height is so close to being the same as the phones top surface as to afford zero protection in the event you drop it face down which is what happened to me. It fell from my pocket flat onto its face on a tile floor, shattering the screen. Dumb move on my part. A trip to the Apple Store and now all is well. I contacted Moment not to whine about getting any compensation but to let them know that their case design could use some tweaking in it's next iteration. They replied saying "It's a fine line between users that desire enough protection where others want the things as minimal as possible. I personally use a glass screen protector with my moment gear always but that's a personal choice and not something anyone should have to do." I added said glass screen protector and hopefully the issue won't happen again. Moment could add a little more height to the front of the case for more protection as the rest of it is thick and solid. Lastly, the speaker ports at the bottom have a small rubber bezel in them that blocks enough sound so that phone conversations aren't possible. I once again contacted Moment and they said it was a known issue with these rubber bezels needing to be removed as they do not perfectly line up with the iPhone's speakers. The fix was easy by simply removing them with a pair of tweezers.

I got this when it first came out and love it and would point out two things.

SUPER LOW LENS DISTORTION. I would definitely add the fact that the distortion level is very minimal to the "What I Liked" list. I use this lens a lot for architectural shots (as a supplement to the ones I'm doing with my SLR), and my verticals (shot in landscape/horizontal mode) are almost perfectly unbending. When I do a straight-on shot (also in landscape mode), there is only the most minor barrel distortion the lower horizontal edge of the photo (shot with the camera at the top of the phone, not "upside down" at the bottom of the phone). That's it. My Canon 24-105L has more distortion than this lens at most of its focal lengths.

REAR LENS CAP OMISSION. Meanwhile, I would add a caveat to the "What Could Be Improved" line about the lack of a rear cap. I wasn't paying attention and over time my shots were degrading. I finally did a photo where I couldn't decide between shooting with it and without, so I did both. The one with it was much "cloudier," and I was thinking it was a lens flaw, until I did the obvious -- cleaning out the dust on the back glass. So not only does this belong on the "What Could Be Improved" list, but I would recommend that any owners give it a good checking every couple of weeks to see if it needs a quick microfiber clean up. I do it now regularly and have had no issues since.

[TOTAL SIDEBAR: With the Plus model phones, I use this lens on my wider camera, and the Moment 2X lens on my phone's longer camera. That gives me a 4X optical spread on a smart phone (obviously not a full zoom, but four points along the spectrum), which is pretty incredible.]

Great review -- thanks for the post.

I've never posted on here, so I'm hoping this will work. As a complement to my previous comment, here's a shot taken with the Moment Wide lens last week.

With similar lighting, I use the moment 18 mm lens for iphone and it does not look good at all. I just started using the PRO moment app with the shutter, iso, WB, and other settings. Can you share what your settings were for this photo please? YOURS LOOKS AMAZING. I am starting to do interior listing photography for my listings. My phone is the iPhone 8 Plus.