Nice case, useful macro lens, and that’s about all
Full Product Name
CoPedvic Phone Camera Lens Phone Lens for iPhone Samsung Pixel One Plus Huawei, 22X Telephoto Lens, 4K HD 0.67X Super Wide Angle Lens&25X Macro Lens(Screwed Together), 205° Fisheye Lens, Metal Tripod
As much as smart phone cameras have come along in a few short years I still find myself hauling out my almost 10 year old Canon Rebel T3 DSLR equipped with a 250mm telephoto lens especially when I’m out shooting at the race track or on a hiking trip to get those long distant shots. Digital zoom on phones can make up for some distance but the results usually come up short.
In my opinion you still can’t beat the optics of a full size lens and associated camera for long range shooting but carrying around a bulky camera can be cumbersome and a little annoying considering how much you can do with a modern smart phone.
Watch the overview video or keep reading the full article below
Image with DSLR at about 100% zoom
Table of Contents
So as the number of telephoto lenses for smart phones has increased and their prices have decreased I was interested to see just how well or not one of these would be in the real world. Now I didn’t really think this would completely replace my DSLR, but I was hoping for something to fill the mid-range scenarios where the digital zoom will not suffice and having my DSLR with me would be impractical.
So around Christmas I took the opportunity to look for one of these smart phone telephoto lens kits for myself. There are plenty to choose from on Amazon. I wanted something that had a few types of lenses, was compact, relative to my DSLR, under $50, and had a decent number of reviews.
I was most intrigued by the CoPedvic branded kit because it had all the features I was looking for and at $35 it seemed like a good way to start playing around with these kits and if I liked it maybe look into picking up a more sophisticated kit in the future. Also with over thirty five hundred reviews it seemed like a safe bet although we’ll see why those reviews maybe a bit disingenuous, unfortunately nothing new on Amazon.
Let’s take a look at what we got. First off I have to admit I half expected a thin cardboard box full of individually wrapped pieces like I got with an action cam I picked up recently. But no, everything that comes with the kit is enclosed in this nice, for the price, soft plastic carrying case. After a smooth unzipping and opening we find all the pieces of the kit organized into again a surprisingly nice, sturdy but forgiving foam cut out. The foam holder just sits inside the case so if you wanted to use the carrier for something else you can. On the back of the lid you’ve got a little pouch with a quick guide and a cleaning cloth.
I have to say my first impression, just from the packaging, is positive, but that feeling soon faded away. One of the add-ons for this kit is a tri-pod and while I like it for its compactness that’s pretty much all that’s good about it. The whole thing feels dirt cheap; the locking mechanism is rough, the swivel head belongs on a Barbie, and the legs don’t have any way to lock them in their extended position, they also, don’t bend out far enough. When you have a heavy phone on top like a Galaxy Ultra or iPhone Pro this thing just barely does the job. In conjunction with the included phone clamp even my old S8 wouldn’t stay in place. It kept sliding out of the clamp when I had it mounted vertically.
You’re better off just getting a better tri-pod and clamp like the one I use, this Ailun flexible tri-pod. Excellent build quality and immensely more versatile. You can clamp it almost anywhere, link to buy it below.
We have our 205 degree fisheye lens in this slot. Next to that are the 25x macro and 0.67x super wide lens. These two are attached together from the get go. It’s a little tricky to separate the two on the first try. I found that if you attach the eye piece to the macro lens and squeeze the eye piece a little you have much better leverage to twist off the wide lens. For some reason they attached the moniker of 4k HD to the super wide lens which I can guarantee has no bearing on the quality. If you shoot in 1080p, it’s going to be 1080p, no lens will change that.
Lastly the piece de resistance the 22x telephoto lens, it has some weight to it and feels solidly built, the gold accents are little goddy for me but it’s not a big deal. Adjusting the zoom is fairly smooth and easy at hand with the ribbed dial; I feel like it could still be a little freer to turn. We’ll see how it works in the field.
Right off the bat I see a problem, you can’t use this thing if you have a case that can actually protect your phone, ie anything with real substance like the Spigen Tough Armor case on my S9+. The gap between the lens and the sensor makes it unusable. Now I won’t ding the manufacture for this as they can’t account for every case in existence but, I don’t know, anything would be better than having to take off the case to use the lenses especially out in the wild, which defeats the purpose of having a protective case at all. None the less I whipped out an older Samsung S8 and used that to test out the kit, very carefully.
Quick note, I know the S8 only has one camera and many newer phones even in the budget category are coming out with multi-camera setups that include wide, macro, and even telephoto lens built in. This is simply a demonstration of what to expect from this lens kit and not the phone.
Another thing I learned right away is that you want to attach the clip without any lens to your phone first, this makes it way easier to line up the mount before you attach a lens, because it becomes especially difficult to line up the telephoto lens once it’s screwed in as you can only rely on the picture from the screen to see if it’s properly aligned.
Once you have that setup and screw in the telephoto lens be aware that unless you have the hands of the guy that does the pin stripping in the Bentley factory you’ll definitely want to use a tripod, especially if you are at full zoom because even the slightest move from you translates to huge shifts in the picture. So mounting it up is the best way to go.
The last word of warning is that you want to be careful when adjusting the zoom, if you go too far when zooming back in you’ll start to unscrew the lens from the mount itself. Some kind of locking mechanism would have been nice to prevent this.
With all that said let’s look at what you can expect. Your results may vary.
205O Fisheye Lens
Starting with the fisheye lens. Here’s a shot without the lens and here it is with it. We are getting our fisheye affect which is pretty cool. The problem is the outer edges even before the distorting effect of the fisheye, are blurry and out of focus which will be a reoccurring theme. Of course if you like that affect than all is good, otherwise, not so much.
0.67x Super Wide Lens
Next our super wide lens. Remember this lens has to be used in conjunction with the macro lens. Again here’s a shot without the lens and here it is with it. We do see more of the surrounding landscape within the same frame, unfortunately now all of the edges are blurry again, making this shot unusable for me.
25x Macro Lens
Now for the 25x macro lens, this is the closest I can get without the lens using the S8; with the lens we can get a whole lot closer which is the point. Even though the edges are again distorted I found the results interesting. I’m probably going to use this lens more often than the others. Here are some other examples using this lens.
22x Telephoto Lens
Finally the reason I even bought this kit, the 22 times telephoto lens and well, taking into account the issues I mentioned earlier, it works, you can zoom into a target and mostly see it but the end results are not great.
Let’s look at a couple examples, we’ll start with looking at this gaggle of geese, more specifically zooming in on this guy guarding his brethren. Here’s a shot without zoom to get a perspective of how far away the geese are from my position.
To quickly compare the results here is a shot using the digital zoom, pure garbage, not surprising.
Next up a shot from the DSLR zoomed in a bit. Nice and clear.
Now the telephoto lens, unlike with the other lenses there was this persistent darkened halo that would not go away no matter how perfect I aligned the lens. This was present at every zoom level including with these mid-range shots of these geese. Once again only the center of the picture is actually clear and nothing I did would fix it, while there are times when this affect would add a creative flare always having it is a problem. Trying to use this on a moving target is nearly impossible.
Here is another example of a longer range shot. I’m sitting on the bank across the lake from this historic covered bridge, from this shot you can tell I’m a good bit away. Using Google Earth it comes out to roughly 13 hundred feet or 400 meters.
Speaking of the Amazon page, this thing had over thirty-five hundred reviews, with the vast majority of them four stars or higher, which wasn’t the only thing that swayed my decision to buy this particular kit but it was a factor. After I received my lens kit I found out how they got so many positive reviews. In the box I got a, hey your special here’s a free gift. Basically you go to the website and choose among a few ‘gift’ options including a $20 Amazon gift card, just provide your email, address, and purchase information. I’m thinking, hey this is actually nice until a few hours after submitting my info when I got an email telling me I’ll get my ‘free’ gift after I show proof of a written review. Now it didn’t explicitly say it had to be 5 stars or even be positive but I feel like most people would believe that’s implied at the risk of losing their opportunity for the gift.
So yeah that’s how they got so many ‘positive’ reviews, I wish Amazon would do something about these pay to play schemes.
That’s it for my look at this lens kit. Overall disappointed, but I’m not sure what I honestly expecting. I doubt I’ll go through the hassle of taking off my case and attaching the telephoto lens in the future unless I’m looking at a stationary target in a location I’ll be at for a while, even then it’ll be iffy. Now I can see myself using the macro lens on more than one occasion in a controlled environment. All the other lenses I wasn’t really interested in to begin with so, meh. I might retro fit the carrying case and foam insert for something else because those are nice.
This has all been my opinion and quality can be subjective, you might have better luck than I did but I have a feeling it is what it is. I know not everyone can afford a DSLR, even an old one, but this kit isn’t worth it in my opinion. I also believe as the sensors get bigger on smart phones these lenses won’t work unless they too physically get bigger. Plus with multi camera setups on even budget phones these lenses will just get in the way. So in the mean time I’ll still be hauling my Rebel with me to the track. If you peeps think there is a better kit out there let me know! I may check out.