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Moment Lenses review: These top-notch iPhone camera lenses are a traveler's dream

Emily Price | April 7, 2015
The iPhone makes for a pretty good camera on its own, but adding an additional lens can really help your photos shine. Moment's $100 Wide Lens and $100 Tele Lens offer something a little different--unlike other iPhone camera lenses that sit on top of your phone, Moment's lenses attach to your iPhone's lens using a special plate. It's a thin, strong piece of metal that adheres to the back of your phone like a sticker and allows you to screw on different lenses similar to how you might with a DSLR. Perhaps that's why Moment had no trouble reaching its Kickstarter funding goal for this pair of lenses in 2014.

The right Moment

The "special occasions" thing is key. Neither lens is huge by any definition, but they're both bulky enough that you're probably not going to want to take them with you everywhere. Both come with a small pouch to keep them protected, but the pouch's thin material will likely be no match if thrown around in a book bag or purse all day.

Attaching the lenses isn't exactly a quick process, either. When you see something you want to snap a shot of, you have to reach into your bag, pull out the pouch, take out the lens, and then line the lens up just right so that it locks into place. None of that is particularly hard on its own, but if you're trying to take a quick group shot or casually capture a shot of a seagull in your path, you might opt to skip it, since the lenses require so many steps.

The lenses are also large and heavy compared to the thin, light iPhone. You're not going to want to walk around town with one of these attached. There's no lens cap, so you can't just throw your iPhone into your pocket or bag and keep going — you're going to have to take it off and put it back on, or else risk it getting damaged. When you think about all that, it might be easier to just bring along a standalone camera.

Putting the lenses to work 

On the bright side, all that extra work eventually pays off. I took both lenses with me on a walking tour of San Francisco, and the photos I was captured were outstanding — well beyond what I could have done with my iPhone alone.

The telephoto lens allowed me to capture a close-up photo of Alcatraz from a dock where I could barely make it out with my bare eyes, and it brought me closer to the sea lions that had moved far away from the pier to sit in the afternoon sun. When using the telephoto lens along with the iPhone's built-in zoom, I was able to get close enough to read previously unreadable signs and get a good look at people who were once just small figures in the frame.

Zoomed all the way in, however, small movements like my breathing and slightly shaking hands were very apparent. In order to get a clear shot, I had to brace my iPhone on a fence or newspaper stand nearby. A small travel tripod could have helped out a lot, and something I would definitely recommend if you're trying to push the lens and your iPhone's limits. 

 

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