Review: Moment 2x Tele Lens (Upd. May '18)
I originally wrote this review of the Moment 2x tele lens back in 2015. A few things changed since then, except one: The Moment 2x tele is still a great tele lens for iPhone photographers that I use regularly.
Even after X (pun intended) years of iPhone, the digital zoom still produces blurry and grainy pixel pulp, making it basically useless. Since I turned to iPhone photography in 2012 I tried various zoom lenses for iPhone and not one of them produced acceptable results except for the Moment tele.
Though Apple added a 2x optical zoom to the iPhone 7 plus in 2016 and to the iPhone 8 plus as well as to the iPhone X in 2017, there are still a number of good reasons to use the Moment 2x tele lens; be it in low light situations or to get a „2+2=4x“ optical zoom for your iPhone.
The Moment 2x tele lens is a traveler's dream with great results!
Okay, with a price tag of 100,- USD the moment lens is a premium lens and it’s worth every cent of the price tag. The lens is made of high quality glass just like a lens for a DSLR camera. Still, the lens is small and versatile so it even fits into the pockets of your trousers. Here are the dimensions of the new (I’ll cover that in a minute) Moment 2x tele lens:
- Weight: 50g
- Height: 26.5mm
- Diameter: 34.5mm
The current Moment 2x tele lens is the second iteration of the lens and it was released in 2017; hence the name „New Moment 2x Tele Lens. The main differences between the old and the new 2 tele lens are:
- New mounting system. Gone are the days of attaching an adhesive plate to your iPhone. The lens now mounts to an affordable Moment mounting case that comes with a wrist strap mount. That alone is worth the money for the case.
- The new lens as a slightly larger diameter of the mounting system to match the new iPhone 7/7 plus models.
Here are two sample shots I took right after I got the first Moment 2x tele lens with my iPhone 6 back in 2015:
Mounting the Moment 2x Tele Lens to your iPhone
The previous 2x tele lens required a small adhesive to be attached to your iPhone that had a bayonet mount to attach the lens to your iPhone. Those days are gone.
Today, Moment sells a number of affordable cases that are required to mount the Moment lenses to your iPhone. I strongly encourage you to get one of those cases even if you don’t use a Moment lens simply because those cases have one essential feature for iPhone photographers that all other cases are lacking: You can attach a wrist strap to the case!
If you still have the mounting plate I can assure you that it will come off really easy. I removed the plate from a few iPhones (6, 6S, 7, 7plus) when I switched iPhone models. Just make sure to follow the guidelines in this video from Moment. Just one word from personal experience, don't use the hairdryer at the hottest level. Use a moderate level that's still warm and try every other minute if you can already peel off the plate.
When to use the Moment 2x tele lens instead of the iPhone 7/8 plus or iPhone X zoom lens.
If you have an iPhone plus model, you may wonder why using the Moment 2x tele still makes sense. The answer is: „aperture“ and „low light“.
The aperture controls how much light hits the sensor at once after you press the shutter release on your iPhone. The iPhone wide angle and tele lenses of the iPhone plus models have a different aperture. The aperture of the tele lens in your iPhone plus is smaller than the one of the wide angle lens.
Though the following is mathematically not exactly correct, you’ll get the idea. As the aperture of the tele lens of the iPhone plus is smaller, less light hits the sensor. So your iPhone (or you if you use a camera app with manual controls) has to compensate for that by either lowering the shutter speed (approx. by cutting half exposure time) or by increasing (doubling) the light sensivity (ISO) of the iPhone camera sensor.
In a low light situation that would mean either a blurry shot (because you didn’t use a tripod) or a grainy and noisy shot because of high ISO.
Conclusion: In low light situations I recommend to use the Moment 2x tele lens mounted over the iPhone wide angle lens in favor of the built in zoom lens.
Combining the iPhone 2x tele with the moment 2x tele lens.
But there’s another benefit of using a Moment 2x tele lens with your iPhone plus. And that’s simple math: 2+2=4 (x optical zoom)
iPhone plus owners are probably happy to hear that using the new Moment cases your can mount the Moment 2x tele lens right in front of your 2x iPhone plus tele lens giving you basically a 4x optical zoom! Here are two sample shots that I took of the Chrysler Building in New York from the Empire State Building. For the first one I only used the 2x tele of the iPhone 7 plus. For the second one I mounted the Moment 2x tele lens right in front of the iPhone 7plus 2x tele lens.
However, you can’t use the built in iPhone camera app for this setup. If you tap „2x“ in the iPhone camera app on your iPhone 7plus, the camera app decides by itself if it uses the optical lens or generates a 2x digitally zoomed photo. So you need a camera app like ProCamera (read my review) that allows you to manually switch to the 2x tele lens on the iPhone 7plus.
Here’s how to switch to the 2x tele lens in ProCamera:
- Tap the Hamburger navigation in the lower right corner
- Tap the tele icon in the lower toolbar.
Who should buy the Moment 2x tele lens
Though the Moment 2x tele lens is not cheap it’s a great lens for iPhone photographers no matter which iPhone you use for your photography.
- For „non plus“ models it adds a 2x tele that iPhone plus users have built in. Ideal if you prefer the smaller form factor but and only use your iPhone occasionally to photograph like during a vacation.
- For iPhone plus users, the ability to combine the 2x built in zoom with the Moment 2x tele lens is a great way to get a 4x optical zoom.
- For iPhone plus users who want to take zoomed photos in low light situations.