Moment ‘O’ series lens mount objective test
I don’t think this is a review, I paid full price for this item and I have not benefited in any way from writing this post. My reason for writing it is that I couldn’t find much information about the product before I purchased it. Having now bought it and taken a few shots with it, I thought I might share my experience with other Moment O series owners.
First some background. A few years ago, I bought a set of the original Moment lenses to go on an Iphone SE. Rather than using a case, I used the self adhesive metal lens mount.
Under optimum conditions, the pictures I took with these lenses were really quite impressive. Some of the videos I have shot using Moment O series lenses on the SE with FilmicPro have been screened at film festivals alongside movies shot on dedicated film cameras.
After a long and productive life, the SE eventually died to be replaced with an iPhone 7. Again, I used a self-adhesive Moment plate to attach the lenses to the phone. The larger lens on the 7 possibly combined with my poor alignment of the plate meant that there was some vignetting with the 18 (wide angle). The hole in the plate also attracted and trapped dust and was difficult to clean properly. I made less use of the lenses and was starting to consider upgrading to the newer ‘V2’ versions.
Eventually the iPhone 7 also developed problems so it was time to upgrade, this time to the 2020 iPhone SE. I visited the Moment site to see what options there were in terms of lenses, or cases for the new phone and noticed the new lens mounts, one for the new ‘V2’ series and one for the original ‘O’ series. From what I had read online, I knew that the old lenses would not be as good as the original models and that there would probably be some vignetting with the wider lenses but, for £41 this simple clip was a lot cheaper than a whole new set of lenses so I pressed the button.
The mount arrived from the US 3 days after placing the order! The product feels solid and well made, it can be attached and aligned with the phone’s lens reasonably easily, it can also be mounted on tablets and some laptops though I haven’t tried this. I doubt if the clip will fit over a phone case unless it has been modified so I may take a craft knife to a simple Tech21 case to give the phone some protection. Checking lens coverage on the iPhone app, I couldn’t see any vignetting with the 60 (Tele), very slight vignetting on the 18 (Wide) and no vignetting on the 170 (Superfish), I haven’t yet tested the macro lens. Not having the newer lenses this will not be a comparison between the two types of lenses, the shots I have taken will hopefully give a sense of sharpness, vignetting and chromatic aberration.
My unscientific process
I thought I would go to a nearby location (Castle Combe in Wiltshire) and test the lenses out on a bright sunny day, shooting with my back to the sun. The main images have not been cropped, sharpened or edited in Photoshop, I have just downsized them to 2000 pixels on the longest side. The close up shots have been cropped but not downsized.
Images taken with Moment O series 170 Superfish lens
Images taken with 18 (wide) Moment O series lens
Images taken with Moment O series 60 (tele) lens
Moment O series 18 Wide lens
From my tests, there is no hiding from the fact that the 18 is not very sharp and it only gets worse as we get closer to the edge of the frame. There is also slight vignetting in the corners. The look reminds me of images taken with vintage style lenses. Personally, I can live with this but photographers that like pin sharp images from edge to edge will be disappointed.
Moment O series Superfish
There is little if any vignetting with this lens and while it isn’t pin sharp from centre to edge, it isn’t as bad as the 18 (wide). I was expecting to see heavy vignetting, edge softness and possibly chromatic aberration and am surprised how well this lens has performed.
Moment O series 60 Tele lens
Like the 18 lens, the lenses performance falls away as we move outwards from the centre of the image. If used with care, this could be used to emphasise a subject placed in the centre. I think this could still work as a slightly soft portrait lens.
I am sure that the new Moment ‘V2’ lenses will perform much better than my O series lenses but I am not disappointed with the test shots and now having identified their weaknesses will plan around this when I compose and take pictures. In short, the new Moment O series lens mount has delayed the inevitable lens upgrade for a year or two.
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