The Chinese Lens Rip Off! Part Two

You order a set of lenses expecting to pay $29. Your credit card gets charged several times that amount and you get socked with an outrageous $85.00 shipping charge. You find out later you could buy the same lenses at Amazon for less than $10. You’ve been ripped off.

Posted Aug. 9, 2016. Updated Dec. 2, 2017. Revised and re-posted June 2, 2018.

One of the first clues something is amiss is wildly exaggerated claims. This is a huge whopper: “Now all I need is this tiny smart-phone device, that clips right into my cell & Boom! I can take the same quality pictures from my phone as I would have with my $5,000 DSLR camera.” As any experienced photographer can tell you, there isn’t a set of lenses anywhere, no matter how well made, that will magically transform your phone into something that is as good as a DSLR, even an inexpensive DSLR. So this claim is just plain ridiculous.

The ad above from Facebook is linked to an article written to sound like a photo travel story, but it is clearly just an extended ad to get you to buy the camera phone lenses. Despite lots of bogus reviews for these lenses on the internet, there are no real reviews from reliable sources that recommend this set of lenses. If you are looking for real reviews of quality lenses for your phone, check the links below.

Screen captures from three different ads.

The face of the imaginary “German engineer” for these lenses is an interesting story in and of itself. The same face appears with three different names in three different ads for three different products. That should inspire confidence. The photo of the engineer is actually a stock photo used in several different ads by several different companies. This photograph was taken by a photographer named, get this, Simon Greig. The story behind this face is here.

Screen capture from the LUX HD450 article/ad.

LUX HD450 lenses used to sell for $116 but you can get them now for $29 (unless you get overcharged which has happened to a number of customers). This is still no bargain when you can buy them for under $10 at Amazon.

In legitimate reviews from responsible magazines and web sites the photos in the review are taken by the camera and lenses that are being reviewed. So you would be tempted to jump to the conclusion that the photos in the LUX HD450 article/ad were taken with their lenses on a smart phone. But they aren’t. Take a good look at the above photo from Prague.

Photo by Karel Hrouzek. click to see a larger version.

This photo was actually taken by Kazel Hrouzek with a Nikon D300 camera and a 10-20mm lens. You can tell the photo in the ad is Hrouzek’s by looking at the cars parked on the street (which would change over time), the exact pattern of the headlights streaks, and the out of focus blurred people on the sidewalks during the 15.3 second time exposure. Another person could take a photo from the exact same location with the same camera and lens, but the cars, the headlight patterns, and the blurred people would be different.

Screen capture from the LUX HD450 article/ad.

This photo of hikers wasn’t taken with LUX HD450 lenses either (not to mention this isn’t the Everglades).

The photographer is Galyna Andrushko and she sells this copyrighted photo via several stock photo agencies, including Dreamstime.

This is her profile page which lists the professional Canon camera gear she uses to create her images (lower left). The image of hikers at sunset is at the bottom of this portfolio page.

Screen capture from the LUX HD450 article/ad.

It will not surprise you to know that this photo of Times Square was not created by Amber Jordan. Amber was probably invented, just like the German engineer.

It is a copyrighted photo by Billy Carpio. He discovered it was being used without his permission in another LUX HD450 article/ad that has since been taken down. The photo was taken with a Sony A550 camera and a Vivitar 7mm fisheye lens.

The LUX HD450 company has bad reviews from unhappy customers. Despite promises of free shipping, some customers got socked with huge shipping charges that were more than the lenses. You can learn a lot more about this company in this article: LUX HD450 phone lens, I’m calling it a scam, or this follow up article on irate customers.

Screen capture from the LUX HD450 article/ad.

The LUX HD450 lenses come in a set of three that you clip on your phone. It is not unusual for a wholesale manufacturer to sell the same inexpensive items to several different retailers. For an added fee the manufacturer will add the retailer’s name to the products. Take a look at the following ads, all from Amazon’s web site.

GFKing lenses for $6.99.

Ninewell lenses for $6.99.

WONBSDOM lenses for $8.99.

Do they all look familiar? They should.

So you can order a $29 set of lenses from a company with a reputation for overcharging and adding steep shipping charges. Or deal with Amazon and pay less than $10 for the same lenses. And if you have Amazon Prime there will be no shipping charges at all.

If you are seriously overcharged for an item you can get cheaply elsewhere (not to mention all the other problems), I call that a scam.

I wrote an article warning about this company once before. Other than the price, not much has changed.

Problems with the Company

You can learn a lot more about the problems with this company in this article: LUX HD450 phone lens, I’m calling it a scam, or this follow up article on irate customers.

Series Overview

The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series – Overpriced Camera Phone Lenses

Article Link

How to Choose the Best iPhone Lenses

Reviews of the Best Smart Phone Lenses

The best iPhone lens kit

The best lenses for iPhone photography

Photographer Links

Karel HrouzekFlickr photostream

Galyna Andrushko – an interview with Adobe Stock Images
Galyna Andrushko – Shutterstock portfolio

Billy Carpio Photography