Tag Archives: lenses

Why clipping a lens to your phone can’t turn it into a great camera

Clip-on phone lenses are the bait for a lot of web scams.  Here’s why you shouldn’t bite.

  • It’s risky to get involved with a web scammer.  Also, regardless of their sales pitch, the lenses they offer aren’t very good.
  • A camera (even the one in your smart phone) has several parts whose quality is crucial to catching a high-quality image.  The lens is just one of these parts.  
  • Getting a great camera (including magically turning your phone into a great camera) won’t make you a great photographer.  Just as buying a master’s palette and brushes wouldn’t make you a great painter.  Photography is an art.

Beware of phone lens web scams

A scammer is someone who takes your money by trickery or theft.  Keep in mind that the scam is not in the product; it’s in the way it’s sold.  A good product can be the bait in a scam; however, I’ve yet to see an online phone lens offering in which the lens was better than mediocre.  Getting involved with a web scammer poses a risk of theft from your credit card account.  Here are some phone lens scams that I’ve researched:

How a digital camera (even the one in your phone) works

(Real photographers, please forgive me for my limited mastery of camera technology.). I found this nice diagram of a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera on ScenicFramer.com .  The camera in your phone works basically the same way.


What’s going on here:

  1. Some light from the subject of the photograph enters from the left.  The light is focused by lens elements.  Also, the aperture (an adjustable “valve” built into the lens) positions and throttles the light beam.
  2. The light beam is diverted to a viewfinder by a mirror and prism arrangement.  Some high-end cameras have a mirrorless design.  Your phone solves the problem of both putting up an image on the viewfinder (the phone’s screen) and saving it by forwarding the image from the sensor to the screen.
  3. When the photographer presses the shutter button, the mirror lifts out of the way; the shutter opens for a brief moment to let the light beam shine on the sensor.  Then the shutter closes and the mirror moves back into place.  In the case of a phone, an electrical shutter function controls the exposure of the sensor to the light.
  4. The sensor is the digital equivalent of film; its job is to capture the image.  Then the camera copies the image to memory, such as an SD memory card.

Clipping a lens to your phone doesn’t have much effect on how its camera works

Imagine clipping an external lens to the outside of the lens barrel at the left end of the diagram.  Hopefully this thought will stimulate suspicion of the scammers’ claims about making a phone outperform a $4,000 DSLR (digital SLR).  Let’s take a closer look at some of these parts.

  1. If you clip an external lens over the camera’s lens, the light beam goes thru both lenses.  So, the added lens has no effect on the quality of the built-in lens.  Nor does it affect the built-in lens’ aperture.  So you can’t improve the camera’s low-light performance by clipping on a lens.
  2. Clipping a lens to the camera doesn’t affect the way it shares the light beam between the viewfinder and the sensor.
  3. The shutter is a crucial part of the camera.  The faster it can open and close, the sharper the captured image.  The shutter must also expose every part of the sensor to exactly the same amount of light throughout its cycle of opening and closing.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect the quality of your camera’s shutter.
  4. The sensor is also a crucial part of the camera.  The larger and more sophisticated the sensor is, the more precise and detailed the captured image can be.  Another measure of camera quality is the speed with which it can copy a captured image from the sensor to memory, because you can’t take another picture while this is going on.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect the quality of your camera’s sensor.

Okay, now for the good news.  Modern smart-phones already have lenses, shutters and sensors that are about the quality of an entry-level camera — quite good enough to take pictures you’ll be proud to show off, and to enable you to learn about the art of photography.

Taken with an unmodified iPhone 6.

Getting a better camera won’t make you a better photographer

A good photographer has mastery of his camera’s features and functions, skill in image composition, some degree of control over lighting, and the dedication to create or go to interesting subjects.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect any of these attributes.

Certainly, adding a good quality lens to a phone can give a photographer more flexibility over his composition.  And it can be a fun thing for anybody to do.  But a good quality phone lens costs about as much as an entry-level camera that will probably give better results.  If you still want to try a phone lens, TechRadar has posted a review of the best ones available.

Instead, consider taking some photography classes at your local community college.  (Borrowing a real camera for these would be a good idea.). If you have a camera that you don’t know how to use, a one-day hands-on class in camera basics will pierce the mystery.   From there you’ll see the way to go as far in the art of photography as you want to go.


Not lion about the HDZoom360 phone lens

This site may not be safe to use,“  according to ScamAdvisor.com. It rates the HDZoom360 trust level “Low.”

On May 20, 2017 let’s zoom in on HDZoom360 (red links are risky; do not click).  There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true, +1 means false, and 0 means undetermined. A reminder; I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • Adjustable focal length.”  This feature is the reason why it’s called a “Zoom lens.”
  • The power of a $4,000 DSLR in your pocket,” boasts the HDZoom360 outfit in a review of itself.  There are important differences other than the lens between a phone and a real camera, particularly a $4,000 camera.
  • Christie from Dallas went to Africa last summer, and she had an epic trip.”  Should I believe Christie sprang for a safari without bringing a real camera?

Suspicious location: -1. 19-21 Crawford Street, Dept 706, London, W1H 1PJ is a mailbox.  It’s shared with TV Frog (FreeSeeTV), another line of business of Strong Current Enterprises.po

Onerous terms: -1

  • They don’t guarantee that the lens is fit for any use; nor that anything they say is true.
  • You have 30 days from the day you receive the lens to return it unused for a refund.
  • You have to ship a lens you’re returning to a PO box in the Netherlands at your expense.  In 30 days?

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive email; you can opt out.

before-after-focus-filterLying and deception: -1

  • Um, about that safari, Christie … “Check out my image using the HDZoom360 at at Nairobi National Park in Kenya:”  Wow, what a gorgeous shot of the late, well-known Cecil the lion!  But in 2015 he was killed in Zimbabwe, which is about 2,000 miles from Kenya.
  • Uses a ‘NASA optical formula’ with ‘genuine glass aspheric lens’ that’s superior to professional camera equipment worth thousands of dollars.”  But in Wikipedia I read that since 1956 “Aspheric elements are often used in camera lenses.
  • Genuine glass?

Obfuscation: -1

  • The lens is described as an 8x18 zoom lens.  The expression 8x refers to the ratio of the lens’ longest to shortest focal lengths.  But the following numerals “18” don’t mean anything.
  • Careful with that order form; a quantity of three lenses ($132) is already filled in.
  • Count-down timer, implying that you don’t have time to make a careful decision.

Phony reviews: -1.  The scam site features lots of tweets and reviews by people without full names.

Crummy product: -1.  Cindy posted on ScamAdvisor.com, “Every time you touch the zoom to focus it it falls off the camera. Waste of money!!!

burned-linkOverpriced: -1.  Amazon doesn’t carry it.  But they offer several similar zoom lenses, such as this 12x model for $15.

75% discount: +1.  False.

Total score; -6

Unauthorized charges: CREDIT CARD RISK ALERT

  • Ripoff Report carries this complaint; “I Ordered  1 HDZoom360 lens for $43.99 and was offered a second one for the same price plus lifetime warranty at $13.20 each total cost about $113.00. However $290.00 has been debited to my credit card.
  • Cindy also posted, “It is a scam, I bought one they charged me for two.
  • HDZoom360 accepts PayPal.

Conclusion: Avoid.  If you must have this type of lens, buy it from Amazon or another reputable seller in the United States.

laughBonus outtakes:  I think I see why this scammer doesn’t have a real job:  240 – 44 = 196.  196 / 240 = 82%, not 45%.


Flogged by Flux HD Zoom phone lenses

They had not only charged me $49.95 instead of $29.95, but signed me up for a monthly fee for who knows what,” writes Rebecca about DealClub.Sale.

On May 4, 2017 let’s focus our Scam-O-Meters on this copycat scammer (Flux vs. Lux, I see what you did there).  Keep in mind that I’m not talking about illegal advertising; I’m talking about signs that a seller is a scammer (someone who takes your money by trickery or theft). I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true, +1 means false, and 0 means undetermined.

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • Tests on smartphones shown to outperform DSLRs!”  There are important differences between a phone and a real camera besides the lens.
  • According to People Magazine, Celebrities, Bloggers, and Professional Photographers already made a switch to the most powerful high resolution lens.”  It’s safe to say that People Magazine said no such thing.

Suspicious location: -1.  6549 Mission Gorge Rd #393, San Diego, CA 92120.  It’s a mailbox, shared with Electra Straightening Brush.po

Onerous terms: -1

  • They add a 10% charge to every order for “sales tax.”
  • They charge a 30% restocking fee for all refunds and warranty returns.
  • All sales are final.  I see no mention of any guarantee period.  (Guess you don’t have to worry about the restocking fee.)
  • Even if you never use the lens, you have to pay whatever they say.
  • If you reverse their charge on your credit card, they’ll sic the NSA on you.  (Like I believe that one.)
  • They don’t guarantee that the lens is fit for any use; nor that anything they say is true.
  • You can’t sue them, or join a group arbitration action against them.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1.  The Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions include different statements about privacy.  I’ll try to combine them here.

  • They’ll use the information you give them, plus what they can suck out of your browser, to beam ads at you, spam you, junkmail, robocall and text you.  You can only partly opt out.
  • They’ll share it with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your information will be part of the deal.

davidLying and deception: -1

  • Christie from Dallas went to Africa last summer, and she had an epic trip. …”  Say, Christie, did you really spring for a safari and not bring along a real camera?
  • A scientific-looking, unattributed chart compares the lens to Nikon, etc.
  • The video boasts that it’s a 12x zoom lens.  But the text states that it’s an 18x zoom lens.  The Amazon look-alike is labeled 8x.
  • Lead Technologist David Artiola is fictional clip-art.

Obfuscation: -1.  Once you land on the order form, your browser back-button is disabled; so you can’t go back and reconsider the ridiculous claims.

Phony reviews: -1

  • Does the lightweight, portable, durable Flux HD Zoom kit actually work to produce powerful, professional pictures from your phone? Here’s our review.”  Keep in mind we’re reading the advertising on the scam site, not an independent review.
  • Further down, I see three fake reviews.  Clicking on their links takes me to the order form, not to information about the reviewers.

Crummy product: 0 

  • A three-star Amazon reviewer writes, “This is a good toy to play around with.”
  • Blogger Jim Doty is much more critical in his meticulous hands-on comparison of this type of phone lens to a DSLR camera.

Overpriced: -1.  DealClub wants $29.95 for this lens.  Amazon offers what sure looks like the same lens for $9, describing it as an 8x zoom lens.

75% discount: +1.  It’s 50%, so one technical point for DealClub.

Total score; -7

Unauthorized charges: CREDIT CARD RISK ALERT.   Rebecca writes, “I started to order, but … instead of finalizing it tried to sell me an upgrade which it did not explain or give a price for.”  She left the site without finalizing the order, but was charged anyway.  “They grab your credit card before you even authorize the transaction.”  I haven’t found other reports, but I think this one is reason enough to turn on the red light.  DealClub doesn’t accept PayPal.

Conclusion: Avoid.

reviewBonus outtake: Do they expect me to believe this is a prize-winning photo?  It’s blurry and crooked, and not very interesting.  It sure looks like it was photoshopped over the phone.



Zonked by HD360x Zoom+ phone lens

This slippery outfit deserves a second look.  And while doing that we will meet triplets!  So on 4/22/17 let’s point our Scam-O-Meters at HD360x.

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about illegal advertising; I’m talking about signs that a seller is a scammer (someone who takes your money by trickery or theft). I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true, +1 means false, and 0 means undetermined.

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • Transform Your Phone Into A Professional Quality Camera!  The flim-flam starts early.
  • The fully universal clip technology allows you to use the lens on any smartphone.”  How about an iPhone 7 Plus?  (Twin lenses.)
  • The wonderful pictures you’ll take with this lens will make you a social-media hot commodity.”
  • Same quality pictures as you could take with a DSLR camera.  There are many important differences between a phone and a real camera besides the lens.
  • 75% discount.  Read; “WE ARE SCAMMERS.”

Post Office box: -1.  HD360x twists and turns to avoid giving its location.  It’s not listed in “Contact us.”  But I found it in the return policy: 2105 Foothill Blvd Suite B123, La Verne,CA 91750.hd hq

Onerous terms: -1

  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true.
  • Although they advertise a satisfaction guarantee, they don’t warrant that product quality will meet your expectations.
  • The Terms of Service are governed by the law of Alberta, Canada, despite the California return address.  What’s your plan to sue them?

Ads, spam, robocalls: 0.  The privacy terms are mild compared to others.

  • They will use the information you give them to spam you.  You can opt out.

Lying and deception: -1.  Would you give your credit card to a liar?

  • Lead Technologist Cory Brown from Stuttgart looks just like the ones who work for LUX HD450 and Inferno Lighters.  Strange place, Stuttgart.lead techs
  • The usual forged photography magazine cover.covers
  • Scientific-looking, unattributed chart comparing the Zoom+ to industry standards like Nikon.

Obfuscation: -1

  • You have to drill down three pages to find out the price ($56).
  • Countdown timer on the second page, to make you think you don’t have time to make a careful decision.
  • While you’re looking at the third page, overlays keep popping up that claim lenses have just been purchased by people in random locations.

Phony reviews: -1.  The HD360x web page is set up to look like a review by “Matt Perez” 43 minutes ago, entitled “Gadget Catalog.”

Crummy product: -1.  

  • The Better Business Bureau rates HD360x “F” due to problems with product and service.
  • Ripoff Report carries a complaint; “it doesnt work and cant find a phone number to contact to send back product.
  • The clip attachment system is kludgy and can distort your picture, as I’ve tested.
  • I found two complaints by people who discovered that they couldn’t hold their phones steadily enough to get good telescopic shots.  This is why serious photographers use a tripod.
  • What looks like the same lens is offered by Amazon, to eight mixed reviews.  With that small a number, fakes could predominate.  One customer writes, “Very disappointed with this product. Poor image quality. The clip sucks. Don’t waste your money.

Overpriced: -1.  The Amazon look-alike is $18 vs. $56 from HD360x.   Best Buy has one for $12.

Unauthorized charges: -1  

  • Alina Lopez Marin posted on Facebook that she was billed twice for $56.
  • A reply to my earlier post about HD360x; “These ppl just charged me AGAIN…..n i didn’t buy anything. Bastards. I got sucked in big time. The lenses r crap.

Final score: -9

This crummy product sold by scammers has nothing to recommend it.  You could get a good phone lens for about $100.  But for that money, you could get a compact camera.

laughBonus outtake:  The advertised 30-day money back guarantee is half as long as the 60-day guarantee described in the Terms of Service.

Related: Don’t Get Ripped Off, part 3


Thanks to the creator of Facebook page HD360x Ripoff Advice for information about this scam.

Head cut off by Proshot HDX phone lenses

What a pleasant surprise (not) to find yet another clone of the ever-metastasizing phone lens scam.  MobileOptiks’ Proshot HDX is our quarry on March 18, 2017.  Keep in mind that I’m not talking about illegal or wrong behavior; I’m talking about signs that a seller is a scammer (someone who takes your money by trickery or theft).  I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true, +1 means false, and 0 means undetermined.

Ridiculous claims: -1.  Smart Lifestyle Tips makes these claims in a “review.”  They’re just a mask for MobileOptiks; the two URLs have the same domain.

  • Shown To Outperform Professional DSLR Cameras.”  Anybody with a passing knowledge of photography knows better than this.
  • Bloggers have been raving on the internet about the ProShot HDX.”  Yes, the corridors of the Internet echo with the howls of cheated buyers of lenses like these.
  • The ProShot HDX lenses are classed as premium lenses.”  You won’t get three premium lenses for $29. You might get three toys suitable for an uncritical child.
  • 75% off their normal price!”  Read: “WE ARE SCAMMERS.”

Post Office box: 0.  225 Thomas Ave. N. Suite R – Minneapolis MN 55405.  Okay, it’s a real place — shared by more internet companies than James Bond’s Austin Martin has license plates. For example:

  • Military Supply USA
  • Blue Drone Order Fulfillment
  • VitaPet
  • Consumer Rewards Hub
  • Zika Shield
  • WivesGoWild.com
  • DentalBrightPro
  • OneWayMail.com

I think it’s a safe guess that all of these companies are really the same outfit.  Military Supply USA sells Alumitact X700 flashlights.  When I reviewed them, I gave them a -3. The Better Business Bureau gave military supply USA an F for bad service.

Onerous terms: -1

  • To get a refund, you have to phone for a return authorization number, and MobileOptiks must receive your your product, all within 30 days from when you placed your order-not from when you got it.  Even though they advertise a “100% money back guarantee,” you pay a $10 restocking fee.
  • If your lenses ever stop working, They’ll replace them–provided they are not worn-out or broken. (What else could be wrong with them? Maybe if you got them dirty you could return them?)  You pay a $10 restocking fee.
  • They don’t guarantee that their product is fit for any use, nor that anything they say is true.
  • You can’t sue them or join a third-party arbitration.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1

  • They’ll use all the information you give them, and all that they can suck out of your browser, to beam ads at you, spam you, robocall, junk-mail and text you.
  • They’ll share your information with other companies that will do the same.

You can opt out or ask that your information be removed from their database.  However, the BBB received this complaint: “This company has repeatedly ignored our requests to have both them and their affiliate marketers remove our business email addresses from their ongoing SPAM email marketing tactics. We have reached out (politely) several times and were told this was being addressed. Nothing has been done over the course of several months.

Lying and deception: -1.  

  • Several links on the first page are labelled “Free offer.”  But they take you to the same page that the “Order now” links go to, which instead offers 75% off.
  • Warning; on the order form, a quantity of five sets of lenses is pre-checked; that’s $107. Also,”Expedited shipping” is pre-checked–another $10 expense.

Obfuscation: -1.  They don’t tell you the price until you drill down to the third page.

Phony reviews: -1.   Vague, wildly enthusiastic reviews by people you never heard of before, with bold graphical links to the scam site, are just advertising.  I particularly enjoyed the phony review by healthguidewebs.com, which advises, “Due to a poor mobile camera are you lacking somewhere in capturing wonderful photos? If yes, then you don’t need to worry anymore now as here comes ProShot HDX for you all.”  Also, the vendor’s own Smart Lifestyle Tips page masquerades as a review.

Crummy product: -1.  I’ve tested these lenses, and they are pretty bad. I’ve also received a slew of complaints about them.

Overpriced: -1.  Amazon carries apparently identical lenses for $6.

Unauthorized charges: +1.  I found no reports of this.

Final score; -7

Taken with an iPhone 6.

Modern smart phones already have good cameras.  And with just a little effort you can learn to take pictures you’ll be proud of. These toy lenses aren’t going to be much help. If you must have them, buy them from Amazon.

ROK7 HD360 lenses disturb the dead

Kodak stopped making cameras in 2012.  But that doesn’t stop ROK7 from claiming on March 7, 2017 that Kodak sees them as a threat to their business.kodak

This ad was placed by iGadgets360; however they are advertising on behalf of ROK7. (Red links are disrecommended.)  So I am giving the source credit for this gaffe.

scamometer rok7Ridiculous claims: -1.   Again, these claims were made by iGadgets360, ROK7’s paid shill.

  • Bloggers have been raving on the internet about the ROK7 HD360.”  Yes, and furiously so. See the replies I’ve been getting about these crummy lenses that are sold by a lot of other scammers too.
  • These lenses are “classed as premium lenses.”  Classed by whom? I’ve tested the identical lenses from another scammer, and this is so not true.
  • All the other lenses in this quality range are over $100.”  This one skates close to the truth. In fact, people who buy lenses like these for $29 typically get scammed for over $100.
  • A scientific looking, unattributed chart shows ROK7 lenses outperforming the likes of Zeiss and Nikon.

Are these harmless lies? That depends. Would you give your credit card to a liar?

Post Office box: +1.  Nope, looks like somebody’s house: 4225 Frontage Rd North
Lakeland, FL 33810ROK7 headquarters

Onerous terms: -1.  the actual terms are less bad than I’ve seen from many scammers. But the logic is so devious that I’m dinging them a point anyway.

  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true.
  • You have to wait 90 days after the date of shipment before you can ask for a refund or replacement. Then you have 90 days to ask.
  • Although you can ask for a refund or a replacement, you can only get a replacement. And then only if the product arrived defective.  Not if it broke or if you don’t like it.
  • After the replacement period, they will only forward your free/$10 lenses to the manufacturer to determine whether a repair is feasible.  Ha ha Ha ha ha!

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1.  they’ll use the information you give them, and all they can suck out of your browser, to beam ads at you. You can opt out.  However, I’ve found complaints that they don’t answer their email or phone.

CoversLying and deception: -1.  in addition to the Kodak business, there is this forged photo magazine cover.  More harmless lies?

Obfuscation: -1

  • “Today only!”  Like you don’t have time to think about it.
  • Loud techno music starts playing while you’re trying to read the web page.

Phony reviews: -1.  Reviews by people you never heard of that are wildly enthusiastic yet vague, and that have bold graphical links to the scam site. These are really a form of paid advertising.  For example, this one and this one.

Crummy product: -1.  True.  These lenses might make a good present for an uncritical child.

Overpriced: 0.  These lenses are too expensive at any price. Anyway, Amazon has several offerings at about the same cost, for example this one.

Unauthorized charges: -1.  Ripoff report has two posts complaining of not just one but a series of unauthorized charges.ROK7 page

Scam-O-Meter score; -7

It looks like the real business of ROK7 is credit card fraud.  That would explain the “free” lenses.



Burned by LUX HD450 phone lenses

danger-theftOver a hundred outraged customers have replied to my posts about LUX HD450‘s crummy lenses and credit-card thievery.  (Red links are to scam sites that I don’t recommend.)

Yet the scam goes on; in fact, I gather from my blog-hit stats that more people than ever are researching LUX HD450.

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

On October 5, 2016, let’s take a fresh look at the situation.

scamometer HD450.pngRidiculous claims: Like some other web scammers I’ve been tracking, LUX HD450 seems to have shuffled the hard-sell end of the business over to tame review sites like nationlife.net.  They’ve put up the same web page that LUX HD450 was using last May.  It makes some wild claims:

  • Famous people are switching to these lenses.  Name ten.
  • Buying these lenses will make you famous instantly.  Not!
  • They’ll turn any smart-phone into a DSLR-like camera.  This is true in a twisted way; professional cameras do have interchangeable lenses.  But if clamping lenses on your phone could make it into a professional camera, people wouldn’t buy prime rib — they’d just buy hamburger and steak sauce.  It just doesn’t work that way.
  • A special coating gives great pictures even indoors in low light.  But filters work by blocking part of the light; less light isn’t going to help your indoor shots.
  • 75% discount; a scammer red flag.
  • A scientific-looking, unattributed chart shows LUX HD450 lenses outperforming photography mainstays Nikon, Zeiss, Leica and Canon.

Because LUX HD450 authored these shills’ claims, I’m dinging them a point.  -1

Post Office box:  True.  -1

mailbox serviceCorporate headquarters: 2658 Del Mar Heights Rd #368, Del Mar, CA 92014

Onerous terms:  Behind a thicket of legalese, I found these zingers:

  • You can’t sue them, or join a class action that’s suing them.
  • They’ll take your money now; but they won’t “accept” your order until they ship it.
  • You can ask for a refund at any time.  But you’ll only get one if you ask within 30 days of your order (not 30 days after receiving it).
  • Even if you never used the lenses, they may not give you all your money back.
  • If you reverse their charge on your credit card, they’ll use a record of your Internet activity to prosecute you for theft.  Do they think they’re the NSA?  Several customers have told me that, out of desperation, they’ve gotten their money back through their credit-card issuer.
  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true, including whether their lenses meet their own specs (which they don’t).
  • They don’t guarantee that their lenses are fit for any use.  But they are; they’re a great conversation piece when you talk to your friends about scammers.   -1

Ads, spam, robocalls:

  • They’ll use all the data you give them and that they can suck out of your browser to beam ads at you.
  • They’ll share your data with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your data is part of the deal.  -1

two-coversLying and deception: Let’s start with the forged Digital SLR Photography magazine cover.

  • Next, Lead Technologist Simon Greig from Stuttgart; he’s just clip-art.
  • The sample photographs were taken with other cameras or were faked in Photoshop, as documented by Jim Doty.
  • Careful with that order form; it’s pre-filled for five sets of lenses.  And many people have told me that they received five sets even though they specifically ordered one.

Does this sort of self-promotional lying matter?  That depends.  Would you trust a liar with your credit card?  -1

Obfuscation: Which lenses, exactly, are for sale here?  NationLife.net and LUX HD450 web pages show black- and silver-barreled lenses on clamps, on sliding clips, and without a connecting device.

  • The top left picture shows the lenses and clamp that I received.  Notice that the macro and wide-angle lenses are screwed together.  This is how they’re delivered.  Because there are no instructions, many people complain that they only received two lenses.

Also, the Terms and Conditions document is even more stuffed with purposeless text than usual.  It’s quite an effort to sift out the terms that matter.  -1

Phony reviews: Vague, wildly enthusiastic reviews from websites you never heard of before, with image-links to the scam site but no mention of hands-on testing, are just advertising.  The NationLife.com “review” has over a dozen links to LUX HD450.  I see other phony reviews by:

  • Infinite Power Solutions
  • garciniacambogialean.com
  • Assistive Tech
  • The Healthy Order
  • LUX HD450lens.con (yes, they’ve reviewed themselves)
  • Sports Gear Central (copied from the above web page)

… and many more.  -1

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-33-00-pmCrummy product: I’ve tested the lenses, and this is true.  I can take better pictures with my unaltered iPhone 6.  Many people have confirmed my opinion.  Luana Daniels writes:

Sadly, I did not do my research before ordering the lenses. The lenses did not work at all with my phone. I had ordered five sets to use as gifts for family also, and when I asked to return and get a refund I was told it was past the 30 days since the order was placed, even though it has been less than 30 days since receipt. Horrible customer service!!  -1

Overpriced: True.  -1

  • LUX HD450; $56
  • Amazon (same lenses, branded “Universal”); $7

Unauthorized charges: I’ve received many reports of unexpected charges and failure to refund money.  Mark Davidson writes:

Total scam. Don’t hand over your credit card details.  My $29 order was gouged for $195 on my credit card.  -1

Scam-O-Meter score: -10

Stay away!

  • Magic lenses, or even a “good camera,” won’t make you a good photographer.  But with a little effort and guidance, you can learn to take nice pictures that people will admire, even with just your phone.


    I took this photo with an unmodified iPhone 6.

  • If you still want to try phone lenses, Amazon has a wide selection.  Pay attention to the customer reviews.
  • If you’re already a victim of LUX HD450, see this post for advice.