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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Moment Lenses review:

Moment lenses artfully change your phone's angle of view

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The Good Aesthetically pleasing and sturdily built, the Moment's wide (approximately 18mm) and tele (approximately 60mm) lenses provide extra angles of view without decreasing available light.

The Bad They're bigger, heavier and more expensive than many competitors and they block the flash.

The Bottom Line If you want your phone camera's add-on lens to make a fashion statement as well as a photographic one, Moments' lenses make the grade. Be sure you've considered the tradeoffs, though, like price.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

Moment is a new player in the phone accessories market, looking to grab a slightly more upscale/advanced photographer than the typical Olloclip buyer. Its lenses, which currently consist of a roughly 60mm equivalent (tele) and an approximately 18mm equivalent (wide) have the sturdy, somewhat heavy design you expect from something made of a lot of glass and metal. And if you're thinking of getting them as a gift, they're quite nicely packaged in a black box rather than the usual blister pack, with cloth carrying bags. The lenses cost $100 each globally (which converts to about £62 and AU$115), and are currently only available via momentlens.co.

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The lenses are fairly large relative to the size of the phone and make smaller phones like the iPhone 5S slightly top heavy. Sarah Tew/CNET

Moment's system has the advantage of making the lenses phone-independent: as long as they produce a mount, the lenses will work on any phone, so you don't lose your investment if you switch phones. In contrast, with Olloclip the lens and mount are combined so they're phone specific. At the, um, moment, the company has mounts for the Nexus 5 ; theGalaxy S4 , the S5 and the Note 3; the iPad Air and Mini ; andiPhones back through the 4 plus mount preorders for the 6/6 Plus. Each lens comes with a mounting plate, and you can buy the plates solo for $10 each (roughly £6 and AU$12). The glue holds very tightly; I wasn't worried about the lens falling off, but on the other hand you have to be very careful about placement when attaching it, and I'm not looking forward to removing it from my test phone.

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This piece with the lens mount glues to the back of the phone. Sarah Tew/CNET

The system is composed of two parts, a metal plate that glues to the back of your phone, incorporating a tiny bayonet mount and a cutout for the flash. It's difficult to quickly swap or mount lenses; I frequently find myself fumbling to align the lens to the mount. There's a gray dot on the back of the lens intended to indicate the final position, but it's hard to see in low light and there's no matching dot on the mount to show you where to align it to slip in. In addition, the front element of the lens is unprotected, so the fumbling occasionally results in accidentally touching the lens. If you switch between Canon (rotate clockwise to mount the lens) and Nikon (counterclockwise) bodies, you know what that momentary lens fumble feels like.

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The relative angle of view of the iPhone 5S' lens and the Moment wide. Lori Grunin/CNET
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The relative angle of view of the iPhone 5S' lens and the Moment tele. Lori Grunin/CNET

The two focal lengths are well chosen, providing a significantly wider or narrower angle of view than most phone cameras', and the tele lens delivers nice separation between the foreground and the background, making it a nice portrait-lens option. The bright, clear glass doesn't seem to reduce the amount of light reaching the phone's lens -- remember, these work on top of the built-in lens -- which is really important given how little exposure latitude most phone cameras have.

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