Apexel “Telescopes” Add 8x to 20x Optical Zoom to Smartphones for $8 and Up

Smartphones are getting better at taking photos, and cameras in high-end phones are are getting almost as good as DSLR cameras in many cases. However, one advantage of DSLR cameras is that you’d normal fit a zoom lens allowing you to take photos further away.

Mobile phones are normally limited to 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom, but I’ve seen Banggood is now offering some Apexel “Telescopes” that you can clip on a phone or tablet and adds 8x to 20x optical zoom for about $8 and up.

Apexel zoom lens smartphone

Let’s have a look at Apexel APL-18XTZJ monocular lens with 18x zoom since it’s a new arrival product. They have not provided many specific details, but the focal length is also adjustable, and it is compatible with most phones. The main thing is whether it can be mechanically clipped on top of your phone’s camera. It ships with a clip, and a pouch for storage.

Zoom lens smartphoneLooking at my phone (Xiaomi Mi A1), the clip would fit, but since the phone features a dual camera, it’s unclear whether that would work in all conditions.

You’ll probably not want to take photo by holding the phone, and this would likely result in awfully blurry photos, and a tripod is a must. Apexel also offers kits with tripod and a zoom lens. Some kits also include a wide angle lens and/or a fisheye lens. Has anybody ever tried one of those zoom lenses for smartphone? If so, what’s your opinion? The prices look too low to be any good…

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Cyk
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Cyk

I saw several colleagues bring similar smartphone telescopes and microscopes, and none of them produced usable results.
Even if they are advertised for a particular phone model, they never fit right to it’s optics.
Just save your money.

FransM
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FransM

If it looks too good to be true it often is.

As mentioned a tripod could help a bit although high end phones do have some fair image stabilisation that could also help.
i would be worried more about the quality of the optics (lens distortion etc).
But the real deal breaker is that zoom lenses will bring substantially less light to the sensor (compare it to looking through e.g. an electricity pipe).
And let lowlight conditions be one of the things those small phone sensors are not very good at, so you’ll get more image noise, longer shutter times (meaning more risk on movement)

There are reasons why zoom lenses for DSLR camera’s are big.

PS: found a test with a zoom picture here: https://tehnoblog.org/review-apexel-macro-wide-tele-mobile-phone-lens-for-iphone-galaxy-xperia/

Mihai
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It looks too good to be true. What about smartphones that have the camera lower and in the middle? I would rather just look at it as an interesting accessory.