Bottom line: The 18mm lens gives you the wide-angle look that Google should have put on the Pixel in the first place. Of course, it works just as well with other phones like the Galaxy S10, and the high-quality glass yields fantastic photos when using your main camera sensor.
- Fantastic build quality
- Great optics with sharp glass
- Good case with nylon and wood options
- Lets you use your main sensor
- Lens flare issues
- Inconvenient to carry and attach
- Very expensive
The Pixel 4 is easily one of the best phones around when it comes to photography, with phenomenal dynamic range and the ability to pull off miraculous low light shots using its Night Sight and Astrophotography shooting modes. There's just one problem: where's the ultra-wide lens?
During the Pixel 4 launch event in New York a few months back, Google engineer Marc Levoy boldly made the claim that telephoto is more important than ultra-wide — something that baffled attendees like MrMobile and myself. For some people, I'm sure that's true, but as Google itself proved with the Pixel 4, telephoto can be replicated very well with computational data. You can always zoom into a shot digitally, but you can't zoom out without physically moving back.
That's where Moment comes in. The Seattle-based company has long been one of the leading brands in mobile camera accessories, with a range of high-quality interchangeable lenses that mount onto its matching cases to expand your phone's imaging capabilities. The cases are nice enough to use with or without the lenses, and Moment's 18mm wide-angle has really let me shoot the way Google should've let me in the first place.
Moment Lenses What I like
The first thing you'll notice about any Moment lens as soon as you pick it up is how great the build is. These are expensive for a reason; they're made with metal and high-quality glass, and that translates to far sharper imaging than you might expect from a third-party attachment.
Each lens displays its focal length on the side of the casing, along with a small white line on the other side that helps align everything when mounting the lens to your case. There are plenty of different focal lengths to choose from (and even an anamorphic lens that lets you capture that filmic look), but since I've been using the Pixel 4 for the last few months, I've been particularly enjoying the 18mm wide-angle.
In some ways, this lens is even better than having one built-in.
Moment cases give you mounting points on each of your phone's cameras, meaning you can throw its lenses onto whichever camera you prefer. You can use this to combine focal lengths for unique perspectives — say, tossing a fisheye lens onto your built-in telephoto — but by far, my favorite is using the main sensor, which is always higher quality than the secondary lenses on any phone. Adding the wide-angle lens to my Pixel 4's main sensor gave me the all-encompassing perspective I've been missing, with sharper details than the iPhone 11's excellent built-in wide-angle.
The huge glass does introduce some lens flare, but you can work around it pretty easily by adjusting the angle of the camera slightly or even embrace it for some J.J. Abrams-style artistic shots. Imaging is truly fantastic, and using the 18mm lens really highlights just how much fun a wide-angle would have been on the Pixel, especially with the low light capabilities of its primary sensor.
Moment Lenses What I don't love
The biggest problem with Moment's lenses is that they're just not convenient to carry around unless you already know you're going to take certain kinds of photos. The whole reason I love shooting with my phone is because it gives me an incredibly capable camera that fits neatly in my pocket. I don't have to plan ahead or leave extra space in my bag — at which point I usually just reach for my mirrorless camera instead.
Moment isn't oblivious to this problem and does everything it can to make carrying its lenses easier. I was sent a small pouch and a fanny pack (or "bum bag," if you prefer the Queen's English), both of which have fitted compartments for carrying multiple Moment lenses. They're high-quality, and Moment makes other carrying accessories if neither of those matches your style.
No matter what you use to carry your lenses, though, there's still a level of immediacy that's lost when you have to pull your lens out of whatever pouch it's in and line up the markers on the lens and case before you can take a photo.
These lenses are also pretty hefty, and while I like that the weightiness makes them feel substantial and well-made, it can throw off gimbals my DJI Osmo Mobile. If you vlog with your phone and a stabilizer of any kind, these lenses might not be a great fit — which is a shame, because the ultra-wide lens is actually a great way to film yourself with the primary camera.
Moment Lenses Should you buy them?
I've been focusing on the 18mm wide-angle lens, but having also used the anamorphic and 58mm telephoto lenses, I'm pretty confident in saying that all of Moment's glass is terrific. That being said, they're still expensive at over $100 each, and not everybody will get that much money's worth from them. You'll need to be someone who's willing to put up with the added inconvenience of carrying extra lenses and stopping to attach them before shooting.
4 out of 5
If you're okay with that, there's plenty to love here. Moment makes by far the best-quality attachable lenses I've used, and being able to shoot with your phone's primary sensor at different focal lengths is awesome. It's certainly cheaper than buying a dedicated DSLR or mirrorless camera and a set of lenses, and gives you the same satisfying shooting experience.
Sharp and wide
Moment Wide 18mm Lens
The wide lens the Pixel 4 needed
The 18mm lens gives you the wide-angle look that Google should have put on the Pixel in the first place. Of course, it works just as well with other phones like the Galaxy S10, and the high-quality glass yields fantastic photos when using your main camera sensor.
Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.
Please specify if paid advertisement so we know if this is unbiased. If you don't comment, we can assume this, like most postings on this site of late, are paid endorsements.
I would love to see an astrophotography mode shot taken with this of the night sky. Please get back out to that beach tonight and take a wide angle star shot!
You're lucky enough to have gotten a case for your Pixel 4 from them, no doubt for the free advertisement. The rest of us are still waiting on cases (including the Pixel 4 and Note 10) that have slipped weeks and even months from their original shipping dates. Without the cases, the lenses are absolutely worthless, and as slow as Moment is in getting cases out, they're a TERRIBLE investment for anyone who upgrades on a yearly cycle. I already have $200+ worth of their lenses sitting in a drawer...useless. Add to that the expanded capabilities of today's phone cameras, and Moment is painting itself into irrelevance with their horrible support.
Plenty of people out there who would be delighted to extend the useful life of the lenses, not having upgraded from the older model phones for which you have outdated lenses/cases (Pixel 3 XL, wink-wink-nudge-nudge). And there's always eBay, etc. But it's a sad thing if they are changing the way the lens attaches to the case each year thereby requiring new lenses... at those prices, the only thing you should have to routinely change should be the case, when you change a phone.
If you keep your phones for at least two years, there might be some value in the typical $200 Moment case/lens combo (cost goes up as you add lenses, of course). They've only changed the attachment style once, so that's not really the issue; the issue is that without cases, there is NO attachment point. You can't change cases because they don't support popular phone lines until AT LEAST six months later (and counting, so....)
Ebay is an option if you can find a sucker who doesn't know yet that flagships today can do everything these lenses can, equally well. Take it from me: their crown jewel, the anamorphic wide, is the only one which provides any tangible benefit. Sadly, that's the one I can't use. The fish-eye, zoom, and macro? Don't bother.
That is why I don't go for Moment. Unlike other smartphone lens brand that offers clip-on accessories like Olloclip's Connect X or Sirui or Apexel, there isn't any kind of clip available from Moment. The available cases are for select iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and OnePlus devices, and I'm not using any of them. Sure that Moment produce stellar lens, but you are right about anyone who upgrades phone on a yearly cycle - it just doesn't make sense. It also doesn't make sense for anyone who are not using the phone with compatible cases.
BTW: I have the 18mm lens, and it is susceptible to vignetting depending on the fit of the case you get. So then you have to crop, which kind of destroys the wide-angle look.
An article on the cheap Chinese clip-on options would probably serve your readers better.
You can always go into photosphere mode to take a wide angle shot. Would probably take the same amount of time as stuffing around with changing lenses.
At least you Pixel owners WILL get a case eventually... they will probably NEVER make one for my phone!
I had to settle for the Aukey 140 degree wide angle / macro combo, which works pretty well. I don't use it much for two reasons: When the moment strikes, I don't have it with me. And, the U12 Plus main camera is already wide angle, just not ultra wide. There's also the option of panoramic shots as well, which HTC does better than Apple. For full spherical photos, I use my Nikon with a 180 degree lens on a special tripod rig, take three shots, then stitch them using PanoWeaver or Microsoft ICE. If I'm going out looking for photo ops, I'll take the ultra wide angle, a couple tripods, and an anamorphic lens which was pretty expensive. Filmic pro is required for video with the anamorphic, but I can take stills with the default camera app and stretch the image back out, which was how the anamorphic lenses were originally used anyways, lol.
Pretty sad state of affairs when google under delivers in the hardware for pixel phones and this publication attempts to rectify that with an overpriced aftermarket accessory.
If we're honest here... that 'wide angle shot' looks horrible compared to just a normal shot.... weird fisheye effects are nasty imo. Not to mention holy HELL that is a huge dollar ammount for a freaking piece of poly-carbonate... Sure maybe they're glass, but I want to seriously doubt that. Just bring a normal camera if you want to be a 'professional photographer' for crying out loud... cell phones may have REALLY good cameras now, but if you're trying to get 'special photos' that require a lens, you should just use a normal camera... cell phones are for quick 'oh **** i want a picture of that!' moments... by the time it takes you to dig around for your "moment lens" and attach it, your "moment" has already gone away.
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