After dragging my clunky DSLR around on a vacation trip on which I used my iPhone 6 instead, I thought “Why doesn’t Apple forget about their goofy watches and make a serious camera instead?” Then, on Facebook, I saw an ad for a set of lenses that clamp onto your “device” to turn it into a serious camera.
The ad linked to the manufacturer’s web page, which included an intriguing video. But as I scrolled down, the first red flag went up; they want $29 for three lenses?
being a cautious pessimist, I wanted to see some reviews. Googling “Lux HD450 review,” I found a lot of them. Strangely, they were all on web sites I’ve never heard of. They were without exception wildly enthusiastic, yet vague. They all repeated the manufacturers’ claims, and none of them mentioned any tests or formal evaluations. One of them used the same images as appeared in the manufacturer’s web page. Another was in broken English. theReviewNerd.com claimed that the lens gives your device X-ray vision, enabling it to photograph women naked thru their clothes. Credulous people who want to harass women and who didn’t pass physics in high school might believe that one.
The same post quoted raves from three print publications, including linked images of their covers –Time, Digital Photographer and Digital SLR Photography. These magazines are understandably close with their archives. However, I determined that the Time cover image doesn’t correspond to any real Time cover published in August 2015. Also, the post claimed that the quoted rave is from Time’s August 2015 issue–but Time is a weekly magazine. Clicking on the cover image, I got “Error 400 / Campaign data was not completing when handling click or visit.” Am I reading in Nigerian now?
I moved on to Amazon, which posts user reviews of products it carries. But Amazon doesn’t carry the LUX HD450. (It does carry the identical product for $9.99.) I checked some other sites I trust; Digital Photography Review, CNet and PC Magazine had no information about this super-lens. Neither did Snopes. Too bad; a good debunk would at least be entertaining.
Why so many rave reviews for such a dubious product? Payola. The bottom of the original web page advises, “THIS PAGE COULD RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE.”
If you try to order it, do you get anything at all? Or do they just hack your credit card? If anybody has had experience, good or bad, with the Lux HD450, please reply! Thank you.
If you’re a victim
I am very sorry to learn it. Here’s the best advice I’ve been able to come up with for victims of phone lens scams.
“Don’t Get Ripped Off;” A thorough take-down of these crummy lenses and their predatory marketer.
6/17/16 Call To Action: Originally I wrote “What seems to be going on here is click-farming.” But the replies I’ve received testify to fraud and theft. If you have a blog or a website, please make a link to these posts. This will “google-bomb” HD450; then when people search on it, our critical information will appear higher up in the results than the fake reviews. Also, please blog about it yourselves. If you do, please send me the URL and I’ll put the link in my blog. Also, we need an Instagram activist! Thanks.
6/9/16 Update: Following my creation of a skeptics page, The LUX HD450 Fan Club Facebook page was taken down. But pages advertising the lenses remain on Facebook.
5/26/16 Update: After Lee Duer (see replies) and I tried to post comments on the LUX HD450 “Fan Club” Facebook page only to see them deleted, I set up a Facebook page for HD50 skeptics. Hope to see you there!
That fan club page lists an Instagram page as its website. If someone who’s active in Instagram would set up a similar skeptics page there, it would be a public service.