Moment, known for its line of high-quality lenses designed for the iPhone, recently came out with its newest lens, a 170-degree 14mm fisheye lens that works with Apple's iPhones, including the newest triple-lens models.
Fisheye lenses are by definition ultra wide-angle lenses and are some of the widest lenses you can get, often offering up a wide view with artful distortion to capture as much of a scene as possible.
Moment's Fisheye lens serves this purpose, and while it might seem entirely unnecessary because of the new ultra wide-angle lens available in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, it does offer a wider field of view and the ability to use it with the higher-quality wide-angle lens on those devices.
Design wise, the Moment lens features a sturdy metal body with a glass lens inside, and it uses Moment's photography cases to attach to the iPhone. I'm a big fan of the way Moment cases work because it's super simple to get a lens on and take it off when it's not needed, or to swap between multiple lenses.
You simply screw the Fisheye lens onto the back of the lens mount on the case, and it's ready to go. There's no hassling with clips or alignment, which is something that I appreciate about the Moment system. The lens is an M-Series lens, so it works with all of the M-Series cases, which are available for every iPhone starting with the iPhone 6.
Because it has a 170 degree field of view rather than a 120 degree field of view like the ultra wide-angle camera in the newest iPhones, the Moment Fisheye can capture more in the frame for a wider view.
There is distortion at the edges, which is to be expected with any Fisheye lens and is sometimes a desirable look, but this distortion can be leveled out using the Moment Pro Camera app. It's not going to create a perfect photo that has zero distortion, but it's decent at cleaning it up and straightening the image out a bit. The app also works better in some situations than others, and sometimes the differences are subtle.
I found the Moment app a bit finicky to use in nighttime conditions and it wasn't quite able to replicate what I was able to get out of the default Camera app when it comes to Night Mode. It was great for cutting down on some distortion during the day, but not my preferred app at night.
When capturing a photo with the Moment Fisheye, there's no darkness or vignetting at the corners, and what comes out of the lens is crisp and clear. Moment says that this was achieved through multiple aspherical elements inside the lens, which are designed to maximize every corner of the image sensors within the newest camera phones.
I've used a lot of Fisheye lenses designed for the iPhone over the years, and Moment's version paired with the iPhone 11 Pro Max (which is what I tested on) is the best quality that I've seen.
What's most useful about this lens is that it can be attached to the wide-angle camera on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, and that camera is a lot better than the super wide-angle camera. It has a larger sensor and a lower aperture so it works in low lighting conditions and even at night, plus it has optical image stabilization.
You can't use the ultra wide-angle lens in the new iPhones with Night Mode because it's just not high enough quality, but with Moment's Fisheye lens, you can get the same ultra wide-angle look while also taking advantage of Night Mode. The lens allows for ultra wide shots in lighting conditions where such a shot would not be possible with the iPhone's native camera.
Moment says that the wide-angle camera in the iPhone that works with the Fisheye lens lets in about 25 percent more light, which appears to be accurate in my testing. Most people are probably going to want to use this lens primarily with the wide-angle lens that's in the iPhone, but it can also be used with the iPhone's telephoto lens if desired.
Note that while using the lens, only the camera that it's attached to is functional as it blocks the other two cameras due to its size. If you want to use the other cameras on the iPhone, you'll need to remove the Moment lens and store it away in a pocket. Luckily it comes with a little carrying bag and a lens cap to keep it safe when it's not in use.
Fisheye lenses aren't generally everyday lenses, but they're useful when you need to shoot up close, in tight spaces (like taking a full photo of a room that you're in), or take shots of things like tall buildings. You can also get some great wide landscape shots, and while I don't do a lot of action photography, the Fisheye is a neat way to get close-up action shots and videos.
When Apple announced a super wide-angle lens for the iPhone 11 models I was excited because it allows for such unique images, but it has ultimately been a bit of a disappointment because the quality just isn't comparable to the wide-angle lens, especially when the lighting is poor. In the Ferris wheel photos above and below, for example, you can see how much crisper the shot with the Moment lens is than the ultra wide-angle shot, even though at first glance, both of these images look passable for nighttime cell phone shots.
I like the Fisheye lens from Moment because it's offering the same general capabilities, but a little bit better, especially if you don't mind or even appreciate some of the Fisheye distortion. Personally, I prefer the look of a lot of the Fisheye images to the traditional ultra wide angle, just because it adds another dimension of interest to the photos.
Since this lens is priced at $120, it's not something that I'm going to recommend to everyone as for most people with new iPhones, the ultra wide-angle lens in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models is more than sufficient.
For those super into iPhone photography or videography, though, I think this is a lens you're going to want to pick up, especially if you've already got a Moment kit. It's better quality than the ultra wide-angle camera, and being able to take these kind of shots in any kind of lighting -- not just great lighting -- adds a lot more utility to the iPhone's camera setup.
Keep in mind that this is a Fisheye lens, and even with Moment's software to cut down on distortion, there's still going to be some distortion at the edges of the image.
If you don't have an iPhone with an ultra wide-angle camera, the Moment lens is even more appealing because it adds a function you won't otherwise have access to.
How to Buy
The Moment Fisheye lens can be purchased from the Moment website for $120.
Note: Moment provided MacRumors with a Fisheye Lens for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.