Fstoppers Reviews the Moment 58mm Lens

Fstoppers Reviews the Moment 58mm Lens

The Moment 58mm lens is sharp, easy to use, and believe it or not, it's not just a gimmick.

Overview

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.

An image of a building shot on the Pixel 3XL and Moment 58mm

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!

Sharpness

A sharpness/distortion test

As 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! 

Man, portrait, medium closeup

A portrait shot with the Pixel 3XL and the Moment 58mm

Image Quality

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.

Purchase

You can get yours here.

Answer: The image on the right is the Moment lens. 

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7 Comments

Matt Williams's picture

I have the Moment case and anamorphic lens for my iPhone and I really enjoy using it for video (and photos once in a while). I'll probably get the 58mm at some point as well, if I ever do a serious video shoot with the phone. Unfortunately, as far as photography goes, it defeats the pocketable nature of a phone by attaching one of these.

They are nice lenses, though. Difference between it and the Fuji was pretty obvious (mainly in the highlights/shadows and particularly in the detail of, well, pretty much everything - the phone is smeary as usual... look at the grass). Not sure how it was shot, but I get much better results by shooting DNG in Lightroom Mobile and then editing on computer. The non-raw files from every phone I've used has such aggressive noise reduction and really bad compression, resulting in smeary details.

Not the fault of the lens, I don't think.

I also love that Moment's cases double as an extra battery!

(you may not get the benefits of the fancy AI stuff if you shoot raw in Lightroom, not sure... I'm still using a lowly iPhone 8)

Simon Coggins's picture

In the comparison with the X-T3 the grass, trees and buildings in the background, and roof of the tunnel on the right all look really soft on the moment. Maybe it'll do better on the 52mm iPhone camera. It might be a cool lens but still not a comparable to a real camera. I'd rather put the money towards another fuji prime.

Matt Williams's picture

That's typical of phones - smeary details. If I shoot DNG raw on my iPhone, I get a lot better detail. I assume the same could be true of the Pixel 3.

I just picked this up and an 18mm lens and like them a lot. I plan on using this on our vacation and forgoing my DSLR. Cameras on phones these days are getting a lot better. Granted it's not a DSLR but it can do about 80% of everything of a DSLR which is good enough for me. I'll still be using my DSLR when I'm local or when there's a big event I want to get the best quality photo's, but for everything else, I think these moment lens's will be good enough.

A $5K camera isn't going to make you a better photographer if you don't have the skill set.

Francisco B's picture

If sharpness is your priority u might as well buy a 50mm lens and an older camera body. It'll look way sharper than anything a phone can do. I notice these smartphones tend to have a significant falloff of sharpness in anything other than optimal light conditions.

I have the Moment 18 Wide and 60 Tele and love them and their system a lot. When the 58 Tele came out (essentially a 60 Tele Mark II) I compared both at B&H with a lot of A/B tests and did not see the huge difference Moment claimed. Then I found a Chinese lens that fits the Moment cases from a company called Sirui, which for the specimen I got, proved to render both clarity and color better than either the Moment 60 Tele or Moment 58 Tele.

I don't find the price prohibitive given what I get for it. Once the Moment case for the 11 Pro Max comes out, I'll have an equivalent focal length range from 7mm to 104 mm, which is pretty substantial for a mobile device.

Keith Meinhold's picture

This is exactly why clients send me unusable product photos taken with their smartphone for a print ad. The image is only 800px x 1000px (0.8MP). Let us compare at the full 26MP. A good example would have been comparing images between a smartphone with and without the lens than trying to compare to a real camera.