The cameras on our smartphones keep gaining in resolution and flexibility, but there is only so much manufacturers can do with optics given the extremely thin confines of the phone’s shell. That’s where the Moment line of smartphone accessory lenses enter the picture, with a series of DSLR-quality optics that include Macro, Superfish, Wide, and Tele lens options—all designed to attach to the Moment Photo Case or Battery Photo Case.
Far removed from simple clip-on accessory lenses, these hefty lenses lock securely into place on the special Moment cases with a quarter twist, much like the lenses on a DSLR. The cases themselves are designed in versions to fit most popular current smartphones, including the latest Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models; Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Note 8; and many phones a generation or two behind them.
We purchased the Moment Photo Case for the iPhone 8 Plus (the same case also fits the iPhone 7 Plus) and the new Moment Wide Lens, primarily for shooting stabilized video for Digitized House editorial content as well as for the professional imaging side of our company. The Photo Case sells for $30, and is nice enough that it can be used as an everyday phone case even if you have no intention of buying Moment lenses; when it is time to snap a photo or shoot a video, a Moment lens can be snapped into place in just a few seconds.
The Moment Photo Case is built around a protective rubberized body, with the interior finished in a special microsuede and a textured back in either black polyurethane-coated canvas or real wood—a dark walnut veneer that has been stained and wax coated. Moment says the subtle texture on the back of their cases makes for easier one-handed shooting (think selfies), a feature that works whether their lenses are attached or not. The cases are approximately 1mm thicker than most cases, as they have an embedded steel mounting plate for the lens—so you can be confident the Moment lens will stay put once it’s locked into place. The case also supports the Qi wireless charging built into the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, so there is no need to remove the phone from the case to charge, and also has a slot at the bottom for attaching a wrist strap.
The new 18mm Moment Wide Lens is the second generation of their wide-angle lens. It has an aerospace-grade metal housing with an aspherical design, crafted by assembling 5 cinema-quality glass elements into 4 groups. Attributable to all that glass, the lens measures 0.87 in. high, has a diameter of 1.55 in., and weighs in at 76 grams. With a magnification ratio of .63X, the resulting wider angle of view is perfect for shooting architectural interiors, expansive landscape scenes, and immersive action videos. The Wide Lens sells for $100.
Moment also provides their own smartphone app, the Moment app, available for the Apple iPhone only. The app provides easy access to 4K video capabilities, the option to shoot still images in JPEG, TIFF, or raw formats, and other features designed for producing high-quality videos or photos. But the Moment cases and lenses will work superbly with any other photo or video app available on your specific smartphone, including the basic phone apps provided by the manufacturer as well as the professional-video app FiLMiC Pro, the DJI GO app for the DJI Osmo Mobile smartphone stabilizer, and much more.
By the way, if you are using the DJI Osmo Mobile stabilizer with your plus-size smartphone and the Moment cases with large Moment lenses, you will need a counterweight to offset the added weight of the lens and case. Moment just began shipping their clip-on DJI Osmo Counterweight; the product sells for $40 and is available in 50-gram and 100-gram variations. They work splendidly.
How well does the overall Moment system work? Well enough that we no longer have to tote our heavy DSLRs around to produce cinematic-quality video. Below is a recent video we produced, using the Apple iPhone 8 Plus, Moment Photo Case, Moment Wide Lens, DJI Osmo Mobile smartphone gimbal, DJI GO app, and the Moment DJI Osmo Counterweight (100-gram).