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Saturday, January 26, 2013

[Review] Samsung Galaxy S III Telescopic Lens

It's about time Android devices began getting some of the cool iPhone accessories.

Since the iPhone's release in 2007, it has gotten many cool, unique gadgets that are usable by the phone. However, Android phones, not so much.

One of these accessories is a telescopic lens that allows the camera application to zoom in, even farther, than the default zoom allows. Finally, one of these arrives to one of the most popular Android devices on the market now, the Samsung Galaxy S III model number i9300 (as indicated by box).

Here's the Amazon link, where I bought my particular lens:

What comes in this box?
-12x lens
-carrying bag
-cleaning cloth

With most Android devices, there is a camera app and this app will also allow for digital zoom. Most simply have the user pinch to zoom in or out, others use the volume buttons, and others have a designated, on-screen, button that allows zoom. The only Android device, that comes to mind, that would be different is the Samsung Galaxy Camera with an optical zoom.

Below are some of the screenshots for comparison purposes.

Photo taken with default camera without any zoom
Photo taken with default camera with digital zoom
Photo taken with default camera with telescopic lens without digital zoom
Photo taken with default camera with telescopic lens with digital zoom

Generally it is a good idea to compare objects that everyone can identify so I chose a lemon! All photos were taken from the same distance.

You can see clear differences between the photos.

When I first tried doing this, the pictures didn't come out so well because I was so close. You have to be where I was which is about 5.25 feet away. You could get a tiny bit closer, but not too close.

What I did notice when taking these pictures is that I'd need to use the tripod. When I tried taking the pictures, especially the one zoomed in with telescopic lens and digital lens, the photo came out very shaky. Even taking the picture with the tripod was tricky getting it how it is now because it was so shaky. The touch of a finger against the screen was enough to make the picture come out blurry. I eventually was only able to take the picture when I gently tapped the button. Update: pesu, in the comments below, mentioned that using a self timer for the pictures would be an additional item to try. This would work because you wouldn't have to actually touch the screen at all which would help make a good picture without shakes.

As you can see, it takes pretty good pictures from a far enough distance. I'd like to journey to some hills and get some even better pictures and share them with you guys. Update: I attempted to take pictures out in the wilderness area with mountains, trees, and such and wasn't able to get the best pictures that I wanted. This was due mostly to the tripod. Using it in the city is no problem because there are plenty of flat surfaces available. I didn't think about that when going out but there aren't any good flat surfaces outdoors like indoors. That's not to say that it can't take any pictures outdoors, just that it couldn't take pictures of things that I wanted like a mountain far off in the distance. I suppose a solution to this would be to bring a book with you or some other flat surface. I won't be able to take any more pictures with this lens and tripod because I no longer have a Galaxy S3. I apologize for not coming back to update this for anyone that was waiting for such pictures.

The actual lens is made of some pretty decent aluminum as is the tripod. I have yet to use the cleaning cloth. The tripod is not very sturdy. When the phone is on it, it moves a little. You will need to tighten the stand as tight as possible if not more to make it to where the camera doesn't move at all.

The lens can be used without the camera but not like how you'd think. It's not as easy to use as a telescope that is built for your eye can be to use. It can be used for that, just that it is too small for my eye although I could see some things with it. It can also be used, backwards, as a microscope. Granted it cannot see microscopic bacteria but it can help you see pieces of, say, a dollar bill much more closer. It's not quite a microscope, but it magnifies more than a magnifying glass. You will not be able to view the moon's surface with this piece either. This is simply for objects that are close by.

The plastic case that comes with the package is not durable. One reviewer said that theirs actually broke where the lens fits. Just by looking at the case, you know that it isn't made as well as it could have been. It is not and should not be used as a substitute for your OtterBox case or whatever plastic case you already have. One other thing is that this case only works on a "naked" phone; it will not work on any cases you have on the phone. So if you want to take pictures with it, you will not be able to use it with your existing case.

The lens was a good deal for me at the price. It wasn't too bad nor was it exquisite. I am very happy with the quality of the pictures and it by itself. I may not use it often but when I do, it will come in handy.

I would recommend it to others who have Galaxy S3 phones. I would not recommend it to anyone who already has a pristine camera as this one cannot compare to the pictures you can take with a professional camera. But for those experimenting with money to spare, this is a good buy.


  1. Thanks a lot. Picture comparison is a top job, work on what and how you write and you'll be doing great reviews ;).

    ...and a word of advice - next time just use self-timer feature for zoomed pictures.

    where are the outdoor pictures you have promised?

  2. Thank you! Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking reviewing an item like that on YouTube without showing you guys pictures of what it actually takes.

    I really should update this post because it didn't go over so well. I wasn't able to get the right pictures because it couldn't take pictures all that well in wilderness area where I thought it would be best to take pictures. I meant to go back and take some more pictures, but never got a chance. I sold my Galaxy S3 a while ago so I won't be able to take any additional pictures with that lens.

    Sorry about the mixups. I'm still learning how to keep up with everything on YouTube and here. I'll update it now to avoid any further confusion. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.


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