Off the Trail: Gear check: Moment Macro Lens
I always am looking for new and easy ways to capture and communicate small details of the natural world. A few months ago, I did some research on camera attachments for my phone. At the time, I envisioned a magnifying lens that would help me with looking at tiny botanic features. I found exactly what I was looking for in the Moment Macro Lens, and I couldn’t recommend it any higher.
The Moment Macro Lens is a full glass lens with a high-quality build. It features a 10x magnification, which matches up nicely with the hand lenses most naturalists carry around. This lens is not a clip-on but instead mounts to your phone by way of a specific case that has a lens mount. Each case is designed for a specific phone model, and right now, they support iPhone 6 and above, all Pixel models, Note 8 and Galaxy 8 and above. Each phone comes with a lens cap, a nice storage case and a lens hood.
This lens takes time to get used to. It does not focus to infinity but instead has a set focusing point at about 3/4 of an inch away from your subject. That means it is great for flowers or inanimate objects but a real challenge for living things who don’t want you getting so close. You can see the accompanying photo of the painted turtle which I got lucky with.
The lens hood is awkward at times but also can be beneficial. The hood is a cloudy-looking plastic that acts as a diffuser in harsh sunlight. The lens hood length is designed so it matches the focusing distance of the lens. I find myself using the hood to trap small creatures within it and getting a sharp picture. Sometimes, I must remove the hood when the subject I am after is in a crowded spot, but for the most part, it stays on.
I have taken dozens of pictures I feel good about over the last couple months. You can see many of them on my Instagram page (randomrover88). I still used my macro lens on my DSLR, but I have been able to leave it at home on most days. It’s nice to have a quick tool in my pocket I know can get quality photos with. Quality obviously will reflect the phone model you have and its internal camera features paired with this lens. I used a Google Pixel 2XL.
The Moment Macro Lens is on the high end of price for cellphone lenses at $89.99, but it is unmatched in quality. I have used a few photos taken with it to publish in this column, including last week’s bishop’s cap flower. Moment also makes a wide-angle lens, a teleportrait lens, a superfish lens and a recently released anamorphic lens for filmmakers. I don’t own any of those, but I suspect they also are of high quality.