Review: Moment 2x Tele Lens [Upd. 03/2016]
Let's have a straight talk: The iPhone digital zoom produces blurry and grainy pixel pulp, making it useless; and that's even true for the modern iPhone 6S plus. I've tried several zoom lenses for the iPhone in the past and not one of them produced acceptable results. My iPhone photos were distorted and quite blurry towards the edges of the photo. Then I discovered the Moment 2x Tele Lens.
The Moment 2x Tele lens is a traveler's dream with great results!
This is the second lens I bought from Moment. I was so happy with the photos I was able to get with the Wide Lens, that I gave the 2x zoom lens a try. As the name suggests, it's basically a 2x optical zoom that produces way better photos than the iPhone software zoom.
Other iPhone zoom lenses I tried produced an enormous distortion and blur towards the edges of my iPhone photos. The guys at Moment solved this problem. The photos I take with the Moment 2x Tele Lens are crisp and sharp.
Here's a sample shot of a snake head that I shoot with the Moment 2x Tele Lens.
And here's another smaple shot of of a cute iguana with minimal additional iPhone digital zoom, just for testing purposes. I applied a little sharpening to the photo using Filterstorm Neue [iTunes App Store Link].
Mounting the Moment 2x Tele Lens to your iPhone
You mount the 2x Tele Lens in the same way as the Wide Lens. You either put a small plate with an adhesive onto your iPhone. Just like a sticker. That plate contains a bayonet mount and you screw your Moment Lens to that mount. Moment has also released the Moment Case, a special and protective case that give you a better grip for your iPhone and allows you to attach a wrist or neck strap.
First, I wasn't too happy to stick something to my iPhone. I was afraid that there will be some remains once and if I chose to remove the plate from the phone. When I sold my iPhone 6 and switched to the 6 plus, I removed the plate and it came off flawlessly without any leftovers or damage to the phone. Just make sure to follow the guidelines in the FAQ on the Moment Site.
From personal experience, don't use the hairdryer at the hottest level. Use a moderate level that's still warm and try every one or two minute if you can peel off the plate.
Mind the fixed aperture when using an iPhone zoom lens
When using the Moment 2x Tele Lens or any other iPhone zoom lens, mind that your iPhone has a fixed aperture of f/2.2! This means you don't get a huge depth of field and objects before or after the subject you focus on will be blurry.
As a rule of thumb: If you use the Moment 2x Tele Lens, always tap to focus. If possible, avoid objects between you and the main subject in the photos unless you want to use the blur of those objects for artistic effects.
Here's an illustration of what I mean; see the leaves and limbs at the bottom of the photo? They were closer to me than to the subject when I took the shot and because of the fixed aperture, they're blurry.
More Moment 2x Tele Sample Photos
Did I say that the Moment lenses are a traveler's dream? They are! They're small and perfectly fit into a pocket of a jacket and are quickly mounted. Here are two side by side comparison shots I took in Iceland.
The Bottom Line
The Moment 2x Tele Lens is not cheap and that you have to stick a small plate to your iPhone to use them may be discouraging. But I don't regret shelling out the $100 for the lens and I can tell you from personal experience that the plate can be removed without damaging your phone.
The Moment 2x Tele Lens is the best zoom lens for the iPhone I've tried so far. I use it regularly on my trips and I don't want to miss it.