Earlier this summer I picked up a set of Moment’s iPhone lenses alongside Nomad’s new companion MagSafe case. As cool as they were for taking photos around the house, I’ve been waiting for just the right opportunity to properly test out the iPhoneography upgrades. Last weekend I took a quick trip to the coast of Harpswell, Maine, and it was the perfect chance to put them to the test. Delivering a notable upgrade to my stock iPhone 12 Pro cameras, you can head below for a closer look at just what Moment’s lenses bring to the table.
Hands-on with Moment’s iPhone camera lenses
More and more people are using iPhones and other handsets as their daily photography drivers over DSLRs, and Moment’s collection of lenses look to match the type of shots you can expect from a standalone offering. But with smartphone cameras being as good as they are, are add-on accessories really necessary and worth the price? That’s what we’re looking to find out.
I’ve been putting Moment’s lineup to the test over the past month or so, thanks to its recent collaboration with Nomad that introduced the first MagSafe iPhone 12 case compatible with the smartphone lenses. But anyone rocking another handset, whether Apple or Android, will be able to use the very same lenses, thanks to a mounting system that can twist onto a variety of cases.
As for Nomad’s latest release, you’re looking at the brand’s usual Horween leather build that’s as premium as ever. There’s some added durability, thanks to molded plastic that creates an inner frame to help protect against drops and dings. Of course, there’s also support for being able to click in one of Moment’s M series lenses, which come in all sorts of focal lengths.
The main benefit of using an external lens on top of your smartphone’s existing camera array is being able to pair the quality of your main sensor with all the different effects you could want. In my case, it means being able to rely on the main 12 MP shooter, then supplement in wide-angle, telephoto, and even macro adjustments.
I’ve mainly been testing three different lenses from Moment, finding varying degrees of improvement over the built-in cameras on my iPhone 12 Pro. Each one enters at $129.99, so we’ll be seeing which ones are worth the more premium price tags.
First up, we have the 58mm telephoto lens, which will likely be one of the more popular options for vacations or outdoor photo shoots. Like all of the other Moment iPhone lenses, the build quality is quite superb, thanks to a metal exterior, which does add a little bit of weight into the picture.
As for how it actually performs, the photos taken on the Moment telephoto versus an iPhone 12 Pro’s main shooter does provide some more crisp shots. However, it isn’t necessarily night and day over an iPhone 12 Pro’s main shooter. On the other hand, it’s notably more clear than the smoothed-over photo processed through Apple’s stock camera app.
Those who take telephoto pictures to their limit will find that this can be pushed further than what’s built into an iPhone. Though if your current setup doesn’t have you going up against those often blurry or washed-out limits, the $130 price point might not be as compelling.
By far, my favorite of the Moment iPhone lenses has to be the macro accessory, which clocks in with 10x zoom capabilities. The more compact lens pairs with a removable diffuser hood to help take its high-resolution close-up pictures, which are far more detailed than I honestly thought was possible from a smartphone in the first place.While the other Moment iPhone lenses can deliver a somewhat comparable experience to an iPhone 12 Pro’s built-in capabilities, there’s just no keeping up with this macro lens. The level of detail it can capture paired with the Apple’s latest flagship camera sensor is super impressive, to say the least. Above you’ll find just a few of my favorite shots, which highlight the kinds of intricacies you can expect from the accessory.
Picking up the Moment Macro lens for your iPhone is a no-brainer in my book, as it can capture some unparalleled shots that’ll easily go toe-to-toe with dedicated DSLR rigs.
As for the final Moment iPhone lens I’ve been testing out, the wide angle 18mm offering manages to deliver pretty impressive results as well. The differences between shooting on the iPhone 12 Pro’s main camera, its wide angle lens, and Moment’s accessory are pretty apparent without having to study the results too closely. The add-on lens has a more dramatic implementation of the effect, which also delivers a better resolution than you’ll find from the built-in counterpart.
At $130 per lens plus the required Nomad MagSafe Case, bringing Moment into your iPhone photography setup isn’t inexpensive by any means. But does it actually live up to the value you’d expect? Absolutely.
Across the board, these are pretty novel ways to upgrade the experience of your existing handset, be it older iPhones or even the newer 12 series handsets. That’s even more relevant with new iPhones launching next month, as anyone who thinks they can go another year before upgrading may very well find that bringing some external lenses into play may very well be more than enough to hold you over.
To varying degrees based on which of the Moment iPhone lenses we’re talking about, I’m quite impressed by just how much they live up to the premium pricing. In fact, I’d even say I’m blown away by the macro lens. And in the other two cases, I can easily still recommend them to iPhoneographers in need of an upgrade.
They’re all well worth the price tags, though, and blow the competition out of the water. If you’re considering getting an external iPhone lens, going with these premium options will deliver a night-and-day experience over some cheap competitors on Amazon. The precision really makes a difference and delivers accessories that will continue to be a staple of my travel kit going forward.