Mobile photography gadget company Moment is expanding its line of add-on camera lenses beyond smart phones for the first time, with plans to launch an anamorphic lens for DJI drones.
According to the company, Moment Air offers “juicy horizontal flares, true black bars, and that buttery cinematic look.” The lens and filters were built to be ultra-light, and the team designed a mounting system that won’t impede the drone’s flight.
The lens clips on to DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom and works with either drone’s existing camera to capture a wider field of view, complete with cinematic lens flares. A crowd funding campaign for the lens is launching on Kickstarter. It sells for $199, with plans to ship in November. Moment says it’ll sell the lens at retail for $300.
As interest in traditional Instagram posts has waned, Moment co-founder Marc Barros says the company has found room for growth by appealing to vloggers and filmmakers. Drones, he says, were the other key tool filmmakers have started relying on.
“They all had a phone, a big camera, and a drone.”
“We just looked at what people were using,” he says. “They all had a phone, a big camera, and a drone.” Moment’s team says they were able to fly the Mavic 2 Pro in heavy winds with the new lens attached, and it didn’t affect the drone’s performance.
In addition to the new lens, Moment is selling clip-on ND and CPL filters for both its own lens and the drones’ built-in lens. It’s also made a new iPhone case that’s slim enough that the phone can slip inside the drone’s controller without it being removed. Because the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom have different cameras, separate lenses and filters will be sold for each model. Barros says Moment expected it to be a niche product, but it’s become the company’s “number one selling lens,” with around 50,000 units produced so far.
Creating a lens for a drone: DJI’s drones use gimbal to stabilize the camera and record smooth footage. Clipping a heavy lens on the front of the drone would disrupt its balance. To fix that, Moment has reduced the weight of its existing anamorphic lens by changing the housing from metal to plastic while the glass remains the same. A clip that secures the lens on the camera also includes a weight in back to properly counterbalance the added heft.
For the problem with shooting anamorphic: anamorphic lenses squeeze footage to fit more on the sensor, and that footage then needs to be de-squeezed in order to properly view it. That means panorama photos won’t turn out properly- when monitoring footage, it’s going to look a little strange. Moment says it’s in talks with DJI about potentially adding the ability to automatically de-squeeze footage inside the drone’s controller app, but that’s not a sure thing at this point.
Barros adds that the development of the lens is mostly done and that Moment now needs to figure out how many units to actually make.
Like its other products, the company is launching Moment Air on Kickstarter, and it’s already more than half-way to its $100,000 goal. Normally, the Drone Anamorphic Lens will cost you $300. The filters are $120, and the phone case is $30. Of course, Kickstarter supporters will receive a discount on each item. Moment hopes to ship the new products by the end of November, but says it’s doing everything it can to have them ready sooner.
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