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iPhone 5 users seeing 'purple haze' in pictures, claim camera is defective

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
An AnandTech forum thread started on Monday regarding "purple flare" or "purple haze" anomalies in images taken by the iPhone 5 has sparked concern that the issue is related to a possible defect, however further investigation reveals the problem is common with many modern digital cameras, especially miniaturized units.

Purple Flare
Purple flare around sun. | Source: weaksauce12 via Twitter


While posters to the now three page-long thread are quick to claim the purple haze is a flaw in Apple's 8-megapixel shooter, the problem is actually common to digital photography and is called chromatic aberration, otherwise known as "purple fringing." The image distortion is especially evident when a strong specular light source, like the sun or a flashlight, is present in or near the image.

Some speculated the purple fringing seen with the iPhone 5 was caused by either a fault in the camera's design, new lens structure or sapphire lens cover, however it appears the problem lies in one of the most basic shortfalls of camera technology: distortion.

As with all optical elements in a camera's lens array, light is bent at different angles as it passes through the substrate, usually some form of glass or plastic, to converge at a single point on the focal plane. In the case of digital cameras, the focal plane is the unit's imaging sensor which, in the case of the iPhone 5, is of the backside-illuminated CMOS variety.

At issue is a lens array's refractive index which numerically represents the manner in which light, or more specifically wavelengths of light, moves through the optics system. Ideally, a lens will focus all colors, or wavelengths, at a single point on the focal plane, thus creating a near-perfect replication of an image. In practice, however, lenses don't allow for wavelengths to meet at a convergence point, creating what is called chromatic aberration.

Due to a number of factors, including reference tuning, architecture of digital sensors and relatively short focal lengths in smaller camera systems, chromatic aberration usually presents itself in shorter wavelengths like violet.

Purple Fringing


High-end lenses can be adjusted to deal with axial chromatic aberrations, those that cause color fringing, and are called apochromatic lenses, though these types of systems are costly and bulky as additional glass elements are added to the array. Another form of compensating for the distortion are aspherical lenses that are specially designed to reform light to achieve more accurate focus. These elements are also costly, however, as a multitude of steps are needed to manufacture the glass.

In the end, the iPhone 5's camera most likely has no tangible design flaws and is only a victim of the intrinsic qualities of photography. Perhaps a specialized algorithm can be instituted to compensate for the violet push, though any changes made to the existing post-processing flow will likely throw off other finely tuned aspects of the system.
post #2 of 64
I'd have to see more samples to make a judgment, but it seems like a nonissue to me. I can see the headlines: "iPhone 5 Photos Contain Artifacts When Pointed Directly at Sun". SunGate!
post #3 of 64
The haters are having a hate-fest of biblical proportions.

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post #4 of 64
The new lens is made of a different material than the 4s. Maybe its the coating of the material on the lens?
An Apple man since 1977
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post #5 of 64
I'm a professional photographer. What you are seeing is an artifact initiated by lens flare. This iphone is a teeny camera with a teeny lens. There is nothing wrong with it. But that's why serious photographers are lugging around heavy cameras with heavy lenses. They perform better.
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The truth will set you free.
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post #6 of 64
Yeah, this is lens flare. What is it about Apple products and people trying to find every little thing to complain about?
post #7 of 64

I think the it's of greater concern that that is a *really* bad position for a shot. 

post #8 of 64

Otherwise known as the "Star Trek 2009 Effect."

post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by montefuego View Post

I'm a professional photographer. What you are seeing is an artifact initiated by lens flare. This iphone is a teeny camera with a teeny lens. There is nothing wrong with it. But that's why serious photographers are lugging around heavy cameras with heavy lenses. They perform better.

Is there a way to remove that with something like Aperture or some decent photo editing software that you can recommend?

post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by montefuego View Post

I'm a professional photographer. What you are seeing is an artifact initiated by lens flare. This iphone is a teeny camera with a teeny lens. There is nothing wrong with it. But that's why serious photographers are lugging around heavy cameras with heavy lenses. They perform better.

That's why the serious pros use Hasselblad cameras and lenses worth about $100K.  :-)

post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by montefuego View Post

I'm a professional photographer. What you are seeing is an artifact initiated by lens flare. This iphone is a teeny camera with a teeny lens. There is nothing wrong with it. But that's why serious photographers are lugging around heavy cameras with heavy lenses. They perform better.

I have to agree with you.  I have two DSLR cameras and use large lenses.  I do see that both of those photos in this article have light flare effect.  I will try to produce that with my 4s to see.

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post #12 of 64

...whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.

 

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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #13 of 64

I can reproduce the same effects on my iPhone 4s with iOS6.

An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #14 of 64

same here w my 4s, seems like another NON issue.

 

haters gonna hate...my 4s with ios 6 works great, no issues. none with maps, photos, photo stream, love the DND feature on and on...

post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Is there a way to remove that with something like Aperture or some decent photo editing software that you can recommend?

 

There is plenty of information about this.

 

Here's some tips I found.

 

http://www.discoverdigitalphotography.com/tag/remove-lens-flare/

 

btw you should be careful not to point camera's directly at the sun, you can damage the sensor, think magnifying glass on a piece of paper.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Yeah, this is lens flare. What is it about Apple products and people trying to find every little thing to complain about?

 

AAPL shorts... and they're doing a heck of a number on the stock since the iPhone 5 announcement.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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GOA

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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Yeah, this is lens flare. What is it about Apple products and people trying to find every little thing to complain about?

Because Apple are held to a higher standard.

post #18 of 64

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 1/21/13 at 3:07pm
post #19 of 64

I'm truly glad that there are so many "problems" with the 6th iPhone and its software.

 
We're already to the point of outright mocking into insignificance all this crap that could have "-gate" appended to it, which will serve as a very effective means of keeping disproportionate reactions to non-issues, blown up by the Anti-Apple Brigade to be "newsworthy" items (in essence, pure idiocy) in check.

Originally Posted by JBytes View Post
Because Apple are held to a higher standard.

 

When Apple invents a lens that creates zero lens flare, they'll be multibillionaires for that innovation alone.

 

Do you know of a lens that has no flare?

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #20 of 64
I understand that this may be due to miniaturization of the camera elements and it may be common to phones and such. My question is: does the iPhone4 have this issue? I have never had this issue even when shots were poorly composed on my 4 or 4S.
I'm wondering what the deal is...
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Progress is a comfortable disease
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post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm truly glad that there are so many "problems" with the 6th iPhone and its software.

 
We're already to the point of outright mocking into insignificance all this crap that could have "-gate" appended to it, which will serve as a very effective means of keeping disproportionate reactions to non-issues, blown up by the Anti-Apple Brigade to be "newsworthy" items (in essence, pure idiocy) in check.
 

 

When Apple invents a lens that creates zero lens flare, they'll be multibillionaires for that innovation alone.

 

Do you know of a lens that has no flare?

 

No, but I have a hand I can use to shade a lens from a bright light source like the sun.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #22 of 64

This is the real question.   You really have to wonder how many mentally ill people are out there.   Seriously so many of these problems/developments are either the result of misunderstanding of technology or the extreme need to seek public validation of ones existence.   The people that don't understand are not the problem, rather it is the mentally ill that bother me.   Frankly people posting this crap should be locked up, in this country we are way to accommodating with the mentally ill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Yeah, this is lens flare. What is it about Apple products and people trying to find every little thing to complain about?
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm truly glad that there are so many "problems" with the 6th iPhone and its software.

 
We're already to the point of outright mocking into insignificance all this crap that could have "-gate" appended to it, which will serve as a very effective means of keeping disproportionate reactions to non-issues, blown up by the Anti-Apple Brigade to be "newsworthy" items (in essence, pure idiocy) in check.
 

 

When Apple invents a lens that creates zero lens flare, they'll be multibillionaires for that innovation alone.

 

Do you know of a lens that has no flare?


BS.  Freaking crybaby whiners and iHaters our out in full force right now.  I really wish the mods would step up and remove the rhetoric.  It's childish and does nothing but provoke.

Venting aside, I agree with you that lens flare is a fact of life when really bright lights sources are in the picture.  Heck, many even use that "flaw" to their creative advantages too.

Mark my words though... If by chance Apple ever invents a lens that completely eliminates lens-flare (never), they will patent that design and then the sh!thead trolls and iHaters will then whine about how Apple patenting "bright light".  Watch... 

Idiots.

post #24 of 64
So people are complaining the color of their photographs of the sun are off. Stare at the Sun for a second and see how that works for you. Please don't actually do that.
post #25 of 64

It is somewhat misleading to say it is the fault of miniaturization.   Lens flair can happen in any photographic lens.   How it happens and under what conditions are different with every lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I understand that this may be due to miniaturization of the camera elements and it may be common to phones and such. My question is: does the iPhone4 have this issue? I have never had this issue even when shots were poorly composed on my 4 or 4S.
I'm wondering what the deal is...

The deal is people screw up a photograph and then look to put blame on Apple or whom ever they can.   I carry an iPhone 4 and was in Greenville just recently taking some pics.   In a couple of cases the composition required photographing into the sun, I got lens flair even if it wasn't purple.   It was to be expected and I did try to control it as much as possible with shading.

post #26 of 64
Please remove

Edited by Quadra 610 - 9/26/12 at 6:59pm
post #27 of 64

I'm more concerned about the total lack of artistic talent and the extreme ignorance that certain people exhibit. Those have to be some of the worst and ugliest shots that I've ever seen. It seems to me that somebody was deliberately looking for a shot that would produce glare. What kind of an asshat is going to take a photo of half of a couple of garage doors and a roof?

post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

When Apple invents a lens that creates zero lens flare, they'll be multibillionaires for that innovation alone.

 

Do you know of a lens that has no flare?

Yes, any lens that I am using...

None of my pictures seem to have any flare.

Everyone says so.

post #29 of 64

All iPhone lenses have exhibited lens flare.

post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

uh . .  it's LENS FLARE. 

 

It's what happens when people don't know how to take a shot properly, or when it's done deliberately. 

 

This is nothing new. 

 

When you don't take your shot in ideal conditions, and knowing that you're still using a smartphone camera, weird things can happen. 

I have NO idea why you're trying to explain this to me.  

post #31 of 64
Never seen this on the 4S, then again I don't point cameras directly at the sun, and I agree that this sounds like lens flare, with the violet resulting from the anti-reflective coating that's usually put on lenses to prevent even more glare. The only strange part to me is that if this was actually violet, the iPhone would see a blue haze since it can't see violet (at least the 4S can't).
post #32 of 64

 

I am so familiar with this problem, as seen in this image of a purple coloured ceiling!

 

I recall that the iPhone camera lens is a 5 element one. Two or three of these lenses are probably cemented as a chromatic aberration correcting doublet or triplet (achromate), which can be expensive. If so, Apple has done about all that can be done in a compact lens system. The design of these lenses and their parameters are so well understood that it is unimaginable that the lens is sub-optimal in this respect but limited instead by physics.

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post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

...whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.

Love it! That should have been completely obvious to me but...lately things just don't seem the same

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We've always been at war with Eastasia...

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post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

Yes, any lens that I am using...

None of my pictures seem to have any flare.

Everyone says so.


Really??  Take a picture with your camera pointing directly to the sun and post it - unmodified.  I'll be you're blowing smoke.

post #35 of 64
Seems like a great candidate for a software fix.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


BS.  Freaking crybaby whiners and iHaters our out in full force right now.  I really wish the mods would step up and remove the rhetoric.  It's childish and does nothing but provoke.


Venting aside, I agree with you that lens flare is a fact of life when really bright lights sources are in the picture.  Heck, many even use that "flaw" to their creative advantages too.


Mark my words though... If by chance Apple ever invents a lens that completely eliminates lens-flare (never), they will patent that design and then the sh!thead trolls and iHaters will then whine about how Apple patenting "bright light".  Watch... 


Idiots.

Sadly it's not the mods, it's the blog itself. Like every other tech blog on planet earth AI have realized negative posts about Apple result in more hits. It is known as tabloids journalism. Kind if like "Woman abducted and impreganated by aliens!" Worthy of a Murdoch publication.
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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Sadly it's not the mods, it's the blog itself. Like every other tech blog on planet earth AI have realized negative posts about Apple result in more hits. It is known as tabloids journalism. Kind if like "Woman abducted and impreganated by aliens!" Worthy of a Murdoch publication.


I think the mods don't want the regular Apple enthusiasts to believe that are secretly allowing Apple Haters to run amok on this forum for the sake of web hits.  I really, truly believe they are doing it on some level.  It's a damn shame too because a few years back it was much more tolerable, day and night difference compared to the trash accumulating on this site now.  I miss having actual discussions and debates.  Now it's all a defense/offense mode in each thread.  Total BS.

post #38 of 64
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
I think the mods don't want the regular Apple enthusiasts to believe that are secretly allowing Apple Haters to run amok on this forum for the sake of web hits.

 

Speaking for me, alone, just me, a lifelong fan of Apple pulled up to moderatorness from the group, I agree with the above statement. 

 

And no, that's not the "official AppleInsider position". lol.gif It's just the official me position. 

 

I understand that idea and how some might think it's what is happening, much less that it's desired. The whole "the trolls are kept around because they make more hits, both from themselves and from the increase in real fans posting to rebut them" thing, you know? I'll tell you what I know; it's not desired by me. Because once that balance (if there even is one) tips, no number of trolls can make up for the loss of real users scorned.

 

And we all know that real users scorned are fury like Hell hath no. They just happen to be smarter about it than the astroturfers.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #39 of 64
Free Jimi Hendrix ringtone to all affected.

Excuse me, while I kiss the sky!

EDIT: Rats! Hill60 beat me to it, but great satirical minds thinks alike!...
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post #40 of 64
A correction to your article. The iPhone camera and virtually all other cell phone cameras use aspheric lenses - usually molded plastic. There are many patents which describe the lenses used in cell phones. They are amazingly small do perform quite well but because of their small size it is not possible to put in light baffles and apertures to control scattered light in the lens.

Large professional quality lenses do a lot internally to control flare. In addition to baffles and apertures they also use much higher quality surfaces for less scattered light and better anti reflection coatings.
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