July 7, 2017

Review: Moment Wide v2 Lens

By far my favorite lens attachment for the iPhone has been the Moment Wide. This add-on lens converts the iPhone’s wide lens into an 18mm super-wide, a really useful length for shooting landscapes and architecture. What made the original Wide exceptional is not just the excellent quality and design of the optics, but also the superior coatings, which add a natural-looking crispness that’s missing from most mobile camera pix.

So why mess with perfection?

The original Moment Wide was built for iPhone 5. Since then the iPhone built-in lens has gone through an evolution with a bigger lens and an added 6th lens element for sharper images. The old Moment Wide couldn’t take full advantage of the optic improvements. By creating a larger Wide v2 lens, the Moment designers were freed up to create a lens that had more glass for better sharpness and worked better with iPhone and other mobile cameras. It’s also likely that the new wider mount and more forgiving glass will somewhat future-proof the Wide v2. Moment has new Tele, Macro and Superfish lenses with the v2 mount as well, but these keep the original optics and all work fine with the iPhone Plus.

Moment Wide v2 Lens performance.

The Moment Wide v2 sets a new standard for mobile photography. As you can see in the un-retouched photo at the top of the article, everything is more crisp and clear than you’d expect from a phone cam. There’s no loss of light so the exposure is identical with or without the lens on the iPhone Plus. As with the original Wide, the Wide v2 is superbly corrected for the barrel distortion (lines bowed outward) you usually see on super-wide lenses. For closer inspection, download the original full-size image.

The only real negative I’ve discovered with the Wide v2 is occasional lens flare in the bottom corner of images when the light source is on the side at roughly 90º to the lens. This is likely the result of strong (but not necessarily direct) light hitting the bigger, more protruding convex lens element where it sticks out beyond the petals of the lens housing. Not an issues in most images, but worthy of mention.

Mounting.

Moment got off to a rocky start, mounting the original wide lens on previous iPhones with a stick-on, pressed-metal bracket and later a pricey v1 case (that was overkill for most of us.) The cheaper of the two new cases is excellent. It’s thin (yet padded) enough that you’d consider it daily protection for your iPhone, but is easy to take off for those of us who normally keep our iPhone naked. The strap mounts make it easy to secure your iPhone around your neck when actively shooting and the alignment for the lens mounting is flawless.

This is NOT a toy.

It’s not that every other brand of lenses for the iPhone are just novelty playthings. True, most are and some of these lesser lenses are made a plastic (rather than metal and glass) while others are of primitive design or have no coatings. In the other camp, there are some mobile lenses of great quality that are pricier than Moment. But Moment has set the bar so high, even lenses from the well-known gourmet glass companies pale. Nothing came close to the original Moment Wide before. Now with Wide v2, Moment has a lens which has moved into a class by itself.

I’m surprised that Moment was able to keep the price of the Wide v2 to $100. This is the quality of glass you expect in interchangeable lenses on digital cameras. So if you’re one of those serious iPhoneographer” oxymoronic types like myself, the Moment Wide v2 this is well worth the investment and will likely be useful for years to come.

Moment Wide v2 in their shop

By the way, if you have original Moment lenses they’ll work with the new iPhone 7 cases through an adapter that Moment sells for $5.



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