Best Anamorphic Lenses For Smartphones: Moment Vs. Moondog Labs Vs. Ulanzi Compared

Anamorphic Lenses for smartphones 

Are you looking for a way to make your smartphone videos look more cinematic? 

Today’s smartphones are proving to be a fantastic tool for creating incredible-looking videos without the need to invest in an expensive mirrorless or DSLR cameras. The disadvantage of capturing video on a smartphone is the limitations of the built-in lenses.

Sure, the lenses on AppleSamsung, and Huwaei’s latest smartphones can enable a filmmaker to shoot a low-budget film with stunning effects, but you’ll need to add an attachment lens to take the movie to the next level. 

An anamorphic lens is an attachment lens that produces fantastic results with any smartphone video. 

If you’re serious about bringing your mobile filmmaking to the next level, an anamorphic lens is a good investment. Anamorphic lenses will give your images and videos a cinematic style that will set you apart from the competition. All of these things are possible with the greatest smartphone anamorphic lenses.

If you’ve ever seen video footage with a widescreen aspect ratio and the distinctive black bars on the top and bottom of the screen and wanted to try your hand at it, this is the place to be. Well, thanks to these anamorphic lenses, you’ll be able to do just that. 

This post is for freelance filmmakers who want to use a simple anamorphic attachment lens to make their videos stand out from the crowd. It will define an attachment lens, explain what an anamorphic lens does for video footage, and compare the best smartphone anamorphic lenses from Moondog LabsUlanzi, and Moment.

By the conclusion, you’ll know what an anamorphic lens can do for your smartphone video footage, as well as which type you should acquire for your next smartphone feature.

How Do Attachment Lenses Work For Smartphones

Lens add-ons are attachments that attach to your smartphone’s camera lens and allow you to change the focal length. 

At least one wide-angle lens is available on many popular smartphones today. The iPhone 12 is around 26mm wide on a genuine camera, which is somewhat wider than the human eye. 

When your phone doesn’t have additional lenses built-in, attachment lenses might provide you with more picture and video possibilities. 

The anamorphic lens can help you improve your smartphone videos so that they have the cinematic sense of a filmmaking camera.

What Is An Anamorphic Lens?

Anamorphic lenses have been popular among professional cinematographers and even independent filmmakers over the years. 

An anamorphic lens has an ultra-wide rectangular aspect ratio, long horizontal flares, and a distinctive oval bokeh, making it the preferred lens in the film business. 

An anamorphic lens alters the image’s dimensions in one axis, allowing for a wider field of vision while yet fitting the same image onto a smaller sensor.

Essentially, these lenses make the most of the sensor by cramming more footage onto it. When shooting smartphone videos using an anamorphic lens, keep in mind that the pictures acquired through the lens will need to be stretched in post-production using a video editing program like Adobe Premiere

Otherwise, when projected, the video material will look terrible.

Anamorphic Lenses For A Smartphone

While many of AppleSamsung, and Huwaei’s superb smartphones come with built-in numerous lens options like telephoto and ultra-wide-angle, no smartphone maker has yet to include anamorphic lenses. 

If you want your video clip to have a classic widescreen film look, you’ll need to use an anamorphic conversion lens. 

The most popular anamorphic conversion lenses on the market today are compared here. 

I’ll be testing anamorphic lenses from Moondog LabsUlanzi, and Moment, and showing you how they function on major smartphones like Apple and Samsung.

Mounting the anamorphic lens

Moment Smartphone Lenses

To begin, you must first comprehend how each anamorphic lens is attached to the smartphone, as each anamorphic lens uniquely attaches to a smartphone device. 

Moment offers a custom-made smartphone case (shown above) for the Moment smartphone anamorphic lens that is intended for today’s popular smartphones. 

The beautiful thing about the Moment Smartphone Case (available separately) is that the mounting position is set, so you won’t have to bother about changing the lens while mounting it on the case.

Both Moondog Labs and Ulanzi lenses include a mounting system that must be adjusted to fit properly over the smartphone lens. The advantage of this form of clip is that it can be used on a variety of smartphone devices. 

Moondog Labs and Ulanzi both create smartphone cases for a more secure fit, similar to Moment. The problem is that they don’t offer smartphone cases for the most recent handsets, such as the Apple iPhone 12.

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Lens Flares

When it comes to lens flares, each anamorphic lens in this post has its own personality. What are anamorphic lens flares, and how do you avoid them? 

Lens flare is a phenomenon in which light is scattered or flared in a lens system, usually in response to strong light, resulting in an unfavorable artifact within the image. 

What’s the point of using a lens flare? 

Lens flares are an excellent method to ground a photo in reality, especially if it contains several digital elements. When a visual ‘flaw,’ such as a lens flare, is purposefully used, the viewer identifies the photograph with a real-life scenario.

When compared to the Ulanzi anamorphic lens, which tends to dominate the footage if not careful, the Moment anamorphic lens and Moondog Labs anamorphic lens both give mild anamorphic lens flares. 

In comparison to the Moment or Moondog, I noticed that I had to work harder with the Ulanzi anamorphic lens to achieve great photos because the flares aren’t as strong.

When it comes to lens flares, it really boils down to personal opinion. I love them since they enhance the image rather than distract the audience from the video.

Flares that arise and disappear during the photo look spectacular. It’s like a flash of light that fades away. It all boils down to getting some practice with an anamorphic lens and figuring out how you want to use it in your projects.

Look Of The Image

You may notice a difference in the colors of the image if you watch the videos above as an illustration of the overall look of these anamorphic lenses. 

In comparison to the Ulanzi and Moment anamorphic lenses, the Moondog Labs anamorphic lens provides a more natural look to the image. Depending on the anamorphic lens Moment uses, the image may have a faint blue or gold tint, making it appear cooler or warmer. 

The Ulanzi lens, on the other hand, adds a blue tint to the image, which makes it appear colder.

If you want to adjust the color of the video, the difficulty with the change in tone with the Moment and Ulanzi lenses is that you may have to correct the image in post-production. 

The distribution format for the video produced by today’s smartphones does not allow the user to adjust the color too much before it becomes foggy, which is something to bear in mind. 

I don’t want to scare you away from utilizing anamorphic lenses because of the potential for a change in the look of your video footage; just keep that in mind while using them and the limitations to which you can push these lenses.

Is there a winner?

Here is my breakdown of the top smartphone anamorphic lenses from Moondog LabsUlanzi, and Moment.

ULANZI 1.33XT Anamorphic Lens Filmmaking Phone Camera Lens

Anamorphic Lenses For Smartphones

The picture quality of Ulanzi is an 8.5 out of 10, which is excellent and to be expected given that this is an add-on. According to online user videos, the blue light line is visible. 

The price is reasonable, and it can be used with other Ulanzi systems, such as their rigs and mobile phone cases, that employ the same thread pattern. 

It’s the greatest affordable anamorphic lens for people on a tight budget. 

This lens is also compatible with FilMiC Pro, a mobile app that transforms your smartphone into a professional video camera.

Moment Blue Flare Anamorphic Lens

Best Smartphone For Filmmaking In 2021 - Video Recording

I had high expectations for the Moment Anamorphic Lens, and I’m happy to report that it has exceeded them all. It has a good weight to it without being a rock on the backside of your phone, and the build quality is surprisingly high for such a small object. 

The glass itself is sharp and clear, and it fulfills its promise of providing a wider, more cinematic vision whether recording or photographing.

Make sure your device’s lens mount is rotated to acquire the proper anamorphic effect. If you don’t, the image will be warped, and you’ll be left wondering why you bought the lens in the first place (as I was for the first 15 seconds it sat on the back of my phone). 

Yes, you’ll need the moment app to de-squeeze the image, but it’s also a must-have if you want to customize your images a little more than the regular iPhone app allows. 

Overall, this is a 5-star lens, and I’m excited to get my hands on more Moment items in the future!

Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens

Anamorphic Lenses For Smartphones

The Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens is for dedicated iPhone filmmakers and photographers who want to generate captivating, professional-looking videos and photographs. 

Before I got this lens, I read a lot of articles and saw a lot of videos, and it lived up to the hype. 

This is a simple way to make your iPhone footage look cinematic. 

For any iPhone filmmaker, I cannot recommend this product highly enough.

Side Note

According to IMDbSteven Soderbergh shot Unsane on an iPhone 7 Plus with a Moment anamorphic lens, and his second iPhone film, Netflix’s High Flying Bird, on an iPhone 8 with a Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter and Moment 2x telephoto lens.

The first thing you need for cinematic smartphone filmmaking is the popular FiLMiC Pro app, which is compatible with iOS and AndroidFiLMiC Pro is used almost universally for such projects. 

It makes your phone camera highly “tunable,” giving you wide control over ISO, shutter speed, frame rate, focus, exposure, and white balance. 

It records 4K up to 100 Mb/s, which, as FiLMiC says, “Holds up at Sundance, Cannes, or SXSW.” Frame rates are customizable, from 1 to 240 fps, from fast to very impressive slow motion.

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