LUX HD450 clip-on phone lenses; an honest review

danger-theft

The power of a $2,000 DSLR in your pocket!”  If only it were true.

I’ve already written about the vile practices of the LUX HD450 company.  Now let’s take a close look at their product.  The important question is “Would these lenses help me take better pictures with my phone?”  Two quick pieces of advice:

  1. No.  The best use of these lenses would be as a gift to a child.
  2. If you still want to buy them, save yourself money and grief by ordering the identical product on Amazon.

Quick sample:  The “red hall” photo at the top of this post is a fisheye lens shot, using a tripod and self-timer. Notice that the balcony in the top left is out of focus.  The black corners are the lens’ interior, as if we were looking out of a tunnel, because the lens isn’t wide enough for the job.  I wasn’t able to center the lens on the iPhone 6’s camera because the clip mount was on the edge of the phone’s body; that may have made the distortion worse.

Unpacking

The set consists of a macro lens,  a wide-angle lens with lens cap (and these two lenses arrive screwed together), a fisheye lens with lens cap, a plastic clip with a threaded opening that holds a lens, and a velvet bag.  There are no instructions; the most informative text I’ve found is Amazon’s product description.

The lenses have metal barrels; I was expecting plastic.  Because they don’t have inside lens caps like serious lenses do, they’re harder to keep clean.  The velvet bag doesn’t work well for storage.  The drawstring doesn’t close the bag very well, so they fall out.  When I grope around in it for a lens, I risk getting the lenses dirty with my fingers, because they don’t have enough caps.

The clip-on mounting system is imprecise and insecure; so it’s liable to distort your pictures.  

  • There’s no way to make sure the center of a clip-on lens is aligned with the center of the camera’s lens.
  • Unless you’re careful, you may seat the lens at an angle rather than flush against the phone’s case.
  • There’s no provision for dealing with variations in the distance of the clip-on lens from the phone’s lens.  Some phones have protruding cameras; others don’t.  And you may be keeping your phone in a protective case that increases the distance between the phone’s lens and the clip-on lens.

Macro lens

  • If you’re having trouble unscrewing the macro and wide-angle lenses, slip the end of a wide rubber band over the rim of the macro lens to protect it, grip it gently with pliers, and grip the rim of the wide-angle lens with your fingers.

These boring pictures are meant to test the lenses, not to sell them.  To minimize camera shake, I mounted the phone on a tripod and took these pictures hands-off, using the self-timer.  I’ve drawn some figures on the pictures with Photoshop Elements; I haven’t edited them in any other way.

IMG_1647

iPhone 6

Here is a test grid, taken with the naked phone.  (Please reply if you think you know what this grid is part of!)  The rows of holes should all be straight; and as the purple lines show, they are.  I used autofocus, as I figured a user of clip-on lenses would do.  The picture is a bit unfocused, even tho the phone claimed it was in focus.  To check the focusing, I enlarged the parts of the picture where the circles are.

Here’s the same grid, photographed with the macro lens.  I had to bring the phone to within 7/8 of an inch from the subject to focus it.  The pink lines show that there’s quite a bit of inward bending of straight lines (pincushion distortion).

IMG_1617

iPhone 6 + macro lens

Magnified focus test areas:

Wide-angle lens

A brick wall serves as our test pattern.  Here it is with the naked phone.  The white lines check for distortion.  I see slight pincushion distortion along the bottom line.

IMG_1566

iPhone 6

Magnified focus test areas:

Here’s the same wall, looking thru the wide-angle+macro lens combination.  There’s quite strong barrel distortion.  In addition, the inside of the lens body intrudes into the corners of the picture.  The lens isn’t wide enough for the job.

IMG_1576.png

iPhone 6 + wide-angle lens

Magnified focus test areas:

Fisheye Lens

Here’s the naked-camera test shot.

IMG_1662 lines

iPhone 6

I’m skipping the straight-line test for this picture because I expect a fisheye lens to bend the scene.  Magnified focus test areas:

Here’s the iPhone 6 plus the fisheye clip-on lens.

IMG_1692 lines

iPhone 6 + fisheye lens

Magnified focus test areas:

Conclusions

  1. The clip-on mounting system can cause distortion.
  2. The wide-angle and fisheye lenses don’t focus as well as my phone’s built-in camera.
  3. The wide-angle and fisheye lenses intrude the lens interiors into the corners of the pictures.
  4. All of the lenses have edge distortion and focusing issues.

You might have a little fun with these lenses if you’re not fussy about picture quality.  But if you’re shooting with a DSLR now, you’ll want to keep it.

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.

Contact information:
Lux HD450
2658 Del Mar Heights Rd #368
Del Mar, CA 92014 USA
Phone: 1-844-220-5101
International Returns Address:
PO Box 7574
Milton Keynes, MK119GQ, UK
Email: support@luxhd450.com
France: soutien@luxhd450.fr
Germany: kundendienst@luxhd450.de

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6 thoughts on “LUX HD450 clip-on phone lenses; an honest review

  1. Jeff

    Thank your for your incredibly detailed, insightful, and factual review! Hopefully, you can freelance your expertise as a reviewer, so that you can retire AND ensure that you have food with your meals! Job very well done, Sir!

    Like

    Reply
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