The Moment 58mm lens is sharp, easy to use, and believe it or not, it's not just a gimmick.
Mobile phone lenses are often seen as cheap toys for people with more money than brains or who want to dabble in photography and not buy a "real" camera. However, Moment takes things a step further by building their lenses out of metal and glass instead of plastic with a unique mounting mechanism utilizing custom phone cases to keep the lenses secured. This is a genius mechanism and will ensure that everything is perfectly aligned and secure while also being dead simple to mount and unmount your lenses.
Moment announced the 58mm in November of last year. It was a replacement for their old 60mm, which was soft as butter compared to the newer lens, which is sharp as a tack. I've had a chance to play with the 58mm for a few weeks now and have some thoughts, most of which are incredibly positive.
The 58mm lens isn't exactly 58mm, it depends on the phone you put it on; in reality, it is an approximately 2x optical zoom, meaning that on my Pixel 3XL, it turns it from 28mm into 56mm, while the iPhone 11's wide lens goes from 26mm to 52mm, and the 52mm to 104mm lens! Perfect for portraits!
SharpnessAs you can see above, the image is sharp, with some softness at the edges and just a pinch of pincushion distortion. The center is tack sharp while the corners are a lot softer, but as it is a portrait lens, this doesn't raise too big of a red flag for me personally. The pincushion distortion, while not great, can help counteract the distortion you get when getting up close and personal with somebody to try and accentuate what little bokeh you get one a tiny sensor like this when shooting portraits.
Speaking of portraits, machine-learning aided modes like Google's Nightsight, portrait mode, etc. all still work just fine, as the tech behind them don't need an image to be exactly what the camera sees by default, so use your machine-learning tools all you want!
With some of that technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, how does the image look? Well, pretty dang good! Combined with Google's tools, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a phone shot and a deep-focus shot with a "real" camera. Can you guess which of these was shot on the Google Pixel 3XL with the Moment 58mm and which was shot on the X-T3 with the 16-55mm f2.8 at f/8? To keep things fair, both were edited in Capture One with no extra sharpening applied.
At the very end of this article is the answer! Write in the comments below which one you think it is!
What I Liked
- Moment seems to really care about making beautiful pieces of glass that have real, tangible use. Whether it's trying to film incognito or just challenging yourself by only using your phone, it's really up to you.
- The lens is sharp and built to last.
- It's nice to see a company catering to this strange corner of the market.
What I Didn't Like
The lens is a little on the bulky size for something you strap onto your phone, meaning I am slightly less likely to take it out with me.
The corners aren't very sharp.
At approximately $120 plus a case, it isn't exactly cheap.
You can get yours here.
Answer: The image on the right is the Moment lens.