This was an odd review for me... It took me over 3 months to get out my first impressions on the device itself. The unit took forever to arrive. The Kickstarter campaign ended February, 2015, it took almost a year to get my actual device in hand. Had I have done the review during the first month I would have been EXTREMELY biased... I had to get to a point where the wait time of the unit no longer affected my thoughts on it... Here we are, again 3 months later, and I'm finally ready to share my thoughts on what I think is great about the device, what could be better and more importantly, if it's really worth the buy.
Before we get into that, I first want to tell you why I picked up this little unit, I think reason of purchase plays a big part into people's reviews. Every since I started shooting I focused on having the biggest camera, I felt that people would respect me more. With bigger cameras came bigger gigs, that was my theory. My upgrades went from the Canon T3i, to the Canon 60d, and then finally to the full frame 6D. Around 2 months into owning the 6D I started to shoot street heavily, this was do to the fact that I wasn't getting as many gigs. I eventually developed a love for this genre of photography, as I shot it more and more I realized that my camera was a bit intimidating, it was obtrusive, I was getting too much attention when my goal was to be invisible.
My search to find the smallest, capable camera than began. I started off with the Fujifilm X-T1, then the X100T (which was a dream camera) and then finally settled with the Fujifilm X-E1, I picked this as the final camera because of it's compact size, capabilities and price point. Even though I had found the "perfect kit" with the X-E1 and XF 27 I still experimented with other units, the Ricoh GR, the Sony A5100 and the Fujifilm XQ2.
There was something special about the XQ2, not the camera itself, but it's point and shoot manner of shooting. It took away a lot of the manual controls, I didn't worry about aperture or focal length, I just shot it wide at 24mm and clicked the shutter button whenever I had an interesting shot. The camera lacked a viewfinder so it allowed me to get interesting angles, it was an experience like none-other. I really loved the fact that when I hit the shutter button everything was in focus and good to go. Unfortunately the camera was a loner, and though I loved it, I couldn't justify the $300 price tag.
I thought to myself "How can I replicate this experience?" By this time I had already canceled my order of the Moment Case, I was simply tired of waiting and irritated with the whole Kickstarter experience. Ironically I saw a friend of mine, Bryan Minear tweeting the company about his units where about, they reassured him that shipping was about to process and the delay was only for the 6s+ units. I went back to the website, ordered my case and thought "this is it, this is going to replace my compact camera!".
When you think about it, the iPhone is very much a point and shoot in it's own right. It's one of the few cameras that can capture an image as soon as you press the shutter, there is no focus lag (unless in low-light) and it's auto function is pretty solid. One of the best things about it is it's depth, the iPhone tends to capture the entire scene and the whole frame is likely in focus, a plus for those who tend to shoot street at f/7.1-11... Oh not to mention that 29mm focal length, perfect, perfect! So now that we have that out of the way, let's get into my first impression of the Moment Case for the iPhone 6+/6s+.
The case is made out of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)... I have no idea what this means, but I read it's equivalent to flexible plastic. It is extremely flexible, however once you insert the phone into the casing it becomes rock solid. I've dropped my phone numerous amounts of times, both on soft and hard surfaces. Usually it's when I'm sitting down and stand up and forget that my phone is in my lap, I'm not sure what that converts to in terms of distance, so hopefully you can visualize this happening.
The case has kept my phone in great condition. Writing this blog was the first time that I've taken my phone out of the Moment case since owning it. I've noticed some slight residue on the back end of my iPhone, but this has been the case with every iPhone case I've ever owned. The case itself is completely sealed on the outside, meaning that the volume and power buttons aren't physically accessible, however the case design is pretty much spot on. I've never had an issue turning the volume up or down or powering off my phone. The case also allows for you to mount your moment lenses without the need of a separate mount, I've yet to use this feature, but I'm assuming it's 100% functional, as this is one of the main selling aspects. The shutter button, which is the reason I purchased this case is also solid. It works just like a DSLR shutter would, half press to focus, fully press to take the picture... It's very natural.
My favorite part of the case is the grip, it looked very small upon unboxing the unit, but I actually find it comfortable. I have small hands, so I'm not to sure how this will fare with those with larger hands, hopefully Moment tested out several different methods and found this one to be the best.
The case itself is useless without the application. I should have did a little more research, but I didn't know this when purchasing. I thought I would be able to use the shutter in any application. It sometimes makes the case a burden, if I'm not taking street photographs then it's just pointless to have it on...
It took me a while to figure out how to connect the Bluetooth to the case, whenever I would enter the app I would have to do it over and over again. Perhaps this was instilled to save battery life? But I find it quite annoying, especially when I'm trying to capture an unexpected moment. The application itself allows for you to set manual controls if needed, I find it difficult to do this quickly so I never use it. If I had to rate the application itself, I would give it a solid 8/10, I for whatever reason feel more confident when using it.
One thing I had to tell myself over and over again was that the application and case was simply a tool to better my iPhone photo taking experience, not dramatically change it. Unless you're using the Moment lenses then expect the image quality to be the exact same as the native iPhone application. The app does give you an option to take photos in the TIFF format, though be careful when doing so, if you're someone who shoots and then edits in VSCO I noticed that the larger TIFF files causes VSCO to crash whenever you try to edit the photo. You can overcome this by adding TIFF files individually.
The case from Moment was game changing for me. In the past I've never been one to use my phone as a camera... I just didn't feel comfortable, rather it was professionally or just to share images with friends... I never took it serious. It took me a while to actually take the case on to the streets, but once I did, it just felt so natural. I actually felt more confident when shooting with my iPhone, it seemed as if the general public didn't take me serious, so if I got in their face or took a few snaps many people didn't seem phased. However, there are a few people who feel as though when being photographed with a phone they are being mocked or picked on, after photographing a few individuals I had maybe two or three of them stop me to ask why, after explaining my reasoning I asked them was it the phone that made them uncomfortable or simply being photographed, 2 of them expressed that it was because it was with a phone... So yeah, I guess I contradicted myself there, but thought that was an interesting statistic... I guess it goes both ways.
Long story short, it's defiantly worth the pickup, the case now is $49.99 on the Moment website. That's pretty much the price of just about any iPhone case, so when you look at it from a value perspective it's worth trying out. For me, I love it, I'll even go as far as saying I no longer feel the need to shoot with a "real" camera. For street photography the iPhone's 29mm focal length and the Moment case is all I need...
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