Photo Tour: Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul Shot with a Moment iPhone Lens

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I had an hour to visit Changdeokgung Palace and was it ever a worthwhile stop. Rather than fumble with my Canon DSLR, I decided to save time by only taking photos with my iPhone 6s Plus and a Moment Wide iPhone lens* that I purchased right before this trip.

Per usual, I obsessively researched the best iPhone lenses and decided that the cinema quality glass of this 18mm lens was worth the investment. And, a number of professional travel photographers rave about Moment lenses, which are built by hand.

I’m glad to have used the Moment Wide lens for the first time at this noteworthy Seoul palace. Built in the 15th century during the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung Palace was designed specifically to blend in with the surrounding mountain range according to pungsu principles (the Korean equivalent of feng shui). It’s this that distinguishes this from other palaces in Seoul and earned it a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

The Moment Wide lens makes the palace feel even more grand. It captured clearer detail than I could otherwise with my iPhone only. I am more of a novice photographer than a pro, but I would say that the lens lacks the distortion that other wide angle iPhone lenses (and DSLR lenses) have.

Changdeokgung Palace, a major Seoul attraction.

As you can see, it was an overcast December day with lots of low fog. The more bright/natural light you can shoot in, the better. The closer you can get to the detail, too, the better.

Is the Moment wide angle lens one of the best iPhone lenses? I tried it at Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul.

A review of my Moment wide angle iPhone lens after shooting Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul.

The lens attaches to phones in two ways. I decided on the black canvas Moment case for iPhone 6/6s Plus* (other smartphone sizes are available). This allows me to screw the lens on and off rather easily. It also allows the phone to function more like a camera because the case actually has an easy-to-use shutter button. I like being able to put a case on when I know I’ll use the lens and take it off when I know I won’t use it. I have a designer case I like to use for everyday.

If not using a Moment case, you can attach the lens via mounting plates that come complimentary with the lens (you designate which type of phone you have at checkout). Note that mounting plates are not compatible with some smartphone cases. Since I would have needed to buy a new iPhone case to accommodate the mounting plate, it was actually less expensive to buy the Moment case.

However you attach the lens, the results are worth it.

A view of the Changdeokgung Palace show with a Moment wide angle lens.

Users of Moment lenses will need to download the Moment app. I like the app because it allows you to shoot in JPEG, RAW or TIFF.

I shot the images in this post in RAW and used Lightroom to lighten shadows and add a tiny bit of color.

Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul as shot using one of the best iPhone lenses - a Moment 18mm wide angle lens.

Moment Makes the Best iPhone Lenses But…

The wide angle lens sometimes displays shadows along the edges if the lens and case aren’t screwed on properly… like this.

Moment iPhone lens review: Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul

If the app is enabled, the lens case (which connects to the phone via Bluetooth) can drain some serious phone battery if you accidentally leave the app loaded. You also need to be sure to buy a lens cap* which is sold separately and well worth $5.

Who Are Moment Lenses For?

The iPhone can zoom (albeit poorly) but it can’t really go wider without pano mode which I’ve never been a fan of. I like seeing exactly what’s going to be in my shot before I take it. It takes less time to use a wide lens than to hold down pano on my iPhone’s camera while moving the phone from left to right to try to capture everything I want to in the photo. I delete and repeat most of my panos anyway.

Moment makes the Wide lens I’ve reviewed here, a Tele lens, a Superfish lens and a Macro lens. I have the 60mm Tele lens and like it but haven’t used it enough yet to provide a proper review. I suspect this is a great option for fast and easy food photography as it takes great photos of my dog in relatively close range.

See why the best iPhone lenses are from Moment.

I think these are the best iPhone lenses for people who are photography enthusiasts that want to take better photos with their smartphones without fumbling with a DSLR. They’re motivated enough by the desire for better photos that they don’t mind the extra effort of screwing a lens on and off (it’s really easy). If you do buy a Moment lens, I would highly recommend the cleaning pen*. It has a tip that can clean both the front and the back of the lens. I use it on my other camera lenses, too.

If you’re going to buy a Moment lens, or really any photography equipment, I find that B&H Photo and Video these days is the best because you can get free shipping and pay no sales tax outside of NY and NJ.

By the way, if you find yourself in the South Korean capital, one of the best things to do in Seoul is by far a stop at Changdeokgung Palace. I wasn’t able to tour the famous gardens due to time constraints but I highly suggest that you time a visit according to the garden tour schedule (the only way to see them) as they are supposed to be absolutely stunning.

Have an opinion about the best iPhone lenses? Please share.

*Links designated with an asterisk are B&H Photo and Video affiliate links which means that if a purchase is made, it helps support the upkeep of this site at no additional cost to you. Thanks you!

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3 Comments

  1. February 23, 2017 at 8:05 am — Reply

    Thank you for the review! I’m not an iPhone user, but have observed some of my friends tinkering with these add on lenses for the same reason as you – they’re just tired of lugging around their big DSLR.

    The darkening in the corners you observed in some of your photos, when using the wide angle lens attachment, is called vignetting. It’s caused when the lens edge sticks out beyond the the image sensor frame. If this creeps into your photos, it can be easily corrected and removed in Photoshop Elements 14, Photoshop version CS6 to CC, or Lightroom 4 and above.

    I am surprised there are so few people in your images of this important landmark. Were you on a private tour before or after the Palace grounds public hours of operation?

    Cheers,
    Frederic Hore,
    Montreal

  2. February 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm — Reply

    What a great idea, i wish i knew about this before! We just purchased a wide angle lens for our SLR camera. Can you leave the lens on the camera even when your not using it? Or is it better to take it off each time due to damage? Just wondering how sensitive it is.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    • February 23, 2017 at 8:08 am — Reply

      Hi! If you have a cap, you could leave it on but it would be bulky. I’ll leave it on for as long as I know I’m going to use the lens and then take it off. It’s easy to keep the case on and the lenses in a pocket in my handbag to screw them on and off as need be, too. They weigh almost nothing.

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