Don’t get ripped off. The quality of this lens is so bad and the reputation of the company is so awful that the people who market this lens have to keep coming up with new names for the lens and new web sites to sell it. So far I have found 16 different names for this lens and it is sold with the same fake information on dozens of web sites.
Take for example the screen capture at the top of this article. This ad appeared on Facebook September 9, 2017. The HD Zoom Pro company has an “F” rating at the Better Business Bureau (see the end of this article). As of today (just four and a half months later) the HD Zoom Pro site is no longer selling this lens or anything else.
This lens has reappeared as the HD Pixel Pro. The reviews for the HD Pixel Pro at the BBB are just as bad as for the HD Zoom Pro.
This happens all the time. This lens used to be sold as the Lux HD450. The fake review site for this lens is still online but the site that sells this lens has disappeared from the internet. When too many bad reviews appear, the lens is renamed and a new web site is created.
How Good Is This Lens?
This is a cheaply made plastic lens. They are bought in bulk quantities from China for $2 or $3 each, and resold in the U.S., sometimes at exorbitant prices as high as $220. The image quality is lousy, or as Nancy H. says in the review above “complete junk”. You can get this lens on Amazon for around $12 and on eBay for about $3.
I bought one from Amazon and did a comparison test with a DSLR and high quality telephoto zoom lens. The results are not pretty.
Fake Composite Photos
The moon photo at the top of this article is faked. But that doesn’t stop dozens of companies from using it on their web sites. It is a composite of several images. The moon photo was digitally added to the photo of the iPhone. It is impossible for this cheap Chinese lens to create that kind of photo of the moon, as you will see in this side by side “shoot the moon” lens comparison test. This kind of fake composite image is not unusual. Photos taken by professional photographers with professional equipment are stolen without the photographer’s knowledge or permission and used in ads for this lens.
Here’s another example of a faked composite photo.
This a screen capture from the Outdoor Spirit web site. At the bottom of this screen capture you can see the fake moon composite photo.
This is a closer look at the faked image. If you look carefully, the photo of the hand holding the phone is the same photo as the hand and phone in the image at the top of this page. The hand and phone have been tilted and the background photo and image on the screen have been changed. Whoever put this photo together messed up in the bottom left corner where you see the stadium grass instead of the rest of the hand and wrist.
Take a good look at the football photo on the screen of this phone. Look at the ball being pitched and the players in blue. Check out the number 91 and the partial number 5 on the jerseys of the players on the sideline. Wonder where this image came from?
It is cropped from this photo which is in the photo archives of the U.S Air Force Academy. The game was played against Notre Dame at Falcon Stadium, October 26, 2013. The stadium in the faked composite is not Falcon stadium. The ad photo was faked to look the football photo was taken with a smart phone. You can see and download the original photo here. I called the photography department at the U.S. Air Force Academy to ask about this photo. It will not surprise you to learn that Sam Lee, the photographer, did not take this photo with an iPhone and a cheap add-on telephoto lens. He used a quality DLSR and lens. The U.S. Air Force Academy did not know this photo was downloaded and used to create a fake image.
The Same Lens, Many Names, Lots of Different Businesses
I was curious how many names this lens has been given and how many companies are selling it. I knew several different disreputable companies used the same faked moon photo at the top of this article, so I took the image at the top of this article and did a Google image search.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I found page after page after page of results.
I went to a number of the sites and did screen captures. This screen captures shows 15 of the many sites I found.
Here are the names I found for this lens:
HD 360 Zoom
QX9 HD Zoom Premium
Lagom 852 IS Mobile Lens
Magic 8X Zoom
12X Optical Zoom Telescope Camera Lens
12X Power Zoom Mobile Phone Lens
Extreme Zoom 8X Mobile Phone Lens
8X Zoom Phone Camera Lens
Mobile SLR HD Lens 3.0
Telelens for Smartphone
Universal 8X Zoom Telescope
Universal HD Zoom Pro
HD 18X Zoom
Even though these are all names for the same lens, you see “8X”, “9X”, “12X”, and “18X” in the names. The”X” implies this is a zoom lens. Despite the word “zoom” in most the the names, and the claim in most of the ads that this is a zoom lens, this is NOT a zoom lens. It is a single focal length just a little longer than 300mm in focal length. It is not an autofocus lens either. It is a manual focus lens that is an absolute pain to use.
If I kept looking I would probably have found more names. Anyone can buy this lens, give it any name they want, make outrageous claims for the quality of the lens and sell if for any price they want.
I did not check out the integrity of the 15 companies in the above screen capture. They may or may not be honest companies.
But I’ve done enough research and read enough reviews to know a lot of people have been ripped off buying this lens from a lot of different web sites. People have been double and triple charged for what they ordered. Despite ads that say “free shipping”, they have been charged as much as $85 dollars for shipping. Despite ads that say you can return the lens, companies have refused to take back the merchandise and refund the money, so people have to go to their credit card company to contest the charge.
To ad insult to injury, some companies charge your credit card a monthly “service charge” (whatever that means) every month in addition to charging you for the initial purchase. The monthly charges are such a hassle because you have to call the credit card company every month and contest the charge. To get it to stop, some people resorted to canceling their credit card and getting a new credit card with a different number.
Are there honest companies selling these lenses? Of course. They don’t make outrageous claims, they don’t use stolen DSLR photos, they don’t past fake lens comparison tests, and they charge more reasonable prices. Before you buy from any company, look for reviews of that company from reputable review sites.
But be careful. The dishonest companies out there set up fake review sites with fake articles and fake endorsements from fake customers.
In order to test some lenses (the one above and others) I went to Amazon and bought a set of Chinese lenses from a third party company that has been around for a while with a high customer service ratings on Amazon. The nice thing about Amazon is you are protected by Amazon’s guarantee. I knew in advance the lenses would be bad. I just wanted to see for myself how bad they are.
Posted January 23, 2018. Updated February 3, 2018 with new information and lens names.
The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series – Overpriced Camera Phone Lenses
How Many Identities Can One Man Have Before You Get Suspicious? Would you Believe 17? – Another fake German engineer used in the Chinese lens rip off ads.
Don’t Fall for B.S. Camera Gear Ads – at PetaPixel
Apexel Set of Four Camera Phone Lenses – One of the sets of lenses I bought at Amazon to test cheap, poor quality Chinese lenses.
Buyer’s Guide Series Link
This article is also one in a series of articles that will guide you to the best of all things photographic. The rest of the series is here: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More.