We’ve been down this road before. The formula is simple. Take a cheap smart phone telephoto lens you can buy at Amazon for $15, sell it for $54.95, say it is a limited half price offer, and imply the lens will do amazing things that every well informed photographer knows the cheap lens absolutely can’t do.
Posted Jan. 8, 2017. Expanded Dec. 2, 2017.
This looks like the same exact lens but it is only $14.98. That is quite a difference in price. I am not the only person pointing out the companies that are selling seriously overpriced, questionable quality equipment. This article at PetaPixel is on the case.
In reality it is just a cheap lens being sold for three times what it is worth. And no, it won’t take pictures like this of the moon with your smart phone. Ask anyone who has done any astrophotography. And this isn’t the only bogus photo in the ad.
The companies that do this kind of thing have a nasty habit of grabbing professionally created photos off the internet and passing them off in their ads as smart phone photos.
They are clever. The ad doesn’t actually SAY the photos were taken with their telephoto lens on a smart phone, but the photos are certainly designed to give you that impression.
Take a good look at this football photo that appears in the Outdoor Spirit ad. Wonder where it came from?
It came from the U.S Air Force Academy. The game was played at Falcon Stadium, October 26, 2013. The stadium in the ad is not Falcon stadium. The whole photo in the ad was faked to look like a smart phone photo. But you already knew that. You can see and download the original photo here. I called the photography department at the U.S. Air Force Academy and guess what? Sam Lee did not take this photo with an iPhone and a cheap add-on telephoto lens. He used a quality DLSR and lens. But you already knew that too.
The companies that manufacture these cheap add-on lenses like this will sell a bunch of them to you (or anybody else) in large wholesale batches for a few dollars each. For a little extra they well even put your company name on it. Then you can go on Amazon and re-sell them for $14.98 each, or on your own site for $54.95. See the Septemb er 12, 2017 update below.
If you really want to play with a lens like this, get it at Amazon. I have seen it in some configurations for as little as $12. For about $20 you can get the telephoto lens in a package deal with wide angle, macro, and fish-eye lenses of equally questionable quality.
Update: September 12, 2017
So where does these cheap telephoto phone lenses come from? China. You can buy a thousand of them for $2.95 each plus shipping.
UPDATE: January 19, 2017
Does this FaceBook ad look familiar? Of course it does. Same photo as yesterday’s ad but with a different name. Note the totally ridiculous claim that this lens will make a professional $2000 DSLR unnecessary. And in this ad the lens is 75% off instead of the 50% off in yesterday’s ad. But as you shall see, you will actually end up paying more. So where does the link in the ad take us?
To this site. Hmmm. I can hear the thinking behind this ad. “Let’s pretend this lens is worth $184 and give a 75% discount and sell it for $56. We will make even more money than the web site that calls it a $109.90 lens and sells it at a 50% discount for $54.95. No one will figure it out.” Does it work? If this web site can be believed, in one month 16,876 people paid $56 for a cheap lens you can buy at Amazon for $15 or less.
Don’t Fall for B.S. Camera Gear Ads – at PetaPixel
8x telephoto zoom lens for $54.95 at Outdoor Spirit – as of Jan. 18, 2017
8x telephoto zoom lens for $56 at HD350x.com – as of Jan. 19, 2017.
8x telephoto zoom lens for $14.98 at Amazon – as of Jan. 18, 2016
8x telephoto lens plus three more lenses for $19.99 at Amazon – as of Jan. 19, 2017
Apexel Set of Four Camera Phone Lenses – One of the sets of lenses I bought at Amazon to test cheap, poor quality Chinese lenses.