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Apple says purple fringing is normal for iPhone 5 camera

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
In a reply to a customer inquiry regarding the "purple flare" some iPhone 5 users have seen when taking pictures with bright light sources in frame, an AppleCare representative says the phenomenon is considered "normal behavior" for the new handset's camera.

Purple Fringing
Example of purple fringing from iPhone 5's camera. | Source: weaksauce12 via Twitter


The response from Apple representative Debby, received by a Gizmodo reader, claims Apple's engineering team recommended to angle the camera away from bright lights to avoid the purple flare some users have taken to calling a design defect.

AppleCare Support response:

Dear Matt,

Our engineering team just gave me this information and we recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures. The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for iPhone 5's camera. If you wish to reach me regarding this case number [redacted], please contact me at [redacted]. I currently work Thursday-Monday: 7:00am - 3:30pm Mountain Time. If you reach my voicemail, please leave your name, phone number, case number and the best time to reach you. Email is [redacted]@apple.com.

Sincerely,
Debby
AppleCare Support



AppleInsider previously reported that so-called "purple fringing" is a common issue with modern digital cameras, especially miniaturized units like those found in smartphones.

It was speculated that the "purple haze" was caused by the iPhone 5's use of a new sapphire lens cover, new component layout or sensor issues, however more likely a cause is normal distortion of light presented in this case as chromatic aberration. In most cases, chromatic distortion skews toward shorter wavelength violet light, which is difficult to correct with larger prime lenses, let alone the minuscule versions used in the iPhone 5.

According to a thread in Apple's Support Communities webpage dedicated to the purple fringing issue, one user claims the company has agreed to swap out their handset for a new unit, though it is unclear if replacements will be considered for all affected customers.
post #2 of 93
Cue the outrage of people who think they *should* be able to take pictures of the sun, and how it's all a conspiracy, and that their Blackberry/Android device allowed them to take pictures of the sun, etc.
post #3 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Cue the outrage of people who think they *should* be able to take pictures of the sun, and how it's all a conspiracy, and that their Blackberry/Android device allowed them to take pictures of the sun, etc.

Dummies shouldn't even be allowed to use a smartphone, IMO.

post #4 of 93

I want an apology letter!

post #5 of 93

I have seen a little of this with my iPhone 5 in the transition from dark interiors to bright windows, as an example.

 

This fringing (chromatic aberration) is easily removed in a vaiety of processing tools.  I use Lightroom which has excellent - and very simple - adjustments to correct this sort of thing.  Not a big deal.  Not FringeGate.

post #6 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Dummies shouldn't even be allowed to use a smartphone, IMO.

hasn't anyone told them that all you have to do is stare directly at the sun for a few minutes to re-calibrate your eyes for the chromatic aberration effects? 

 

 

just a joke people.. don't try this. I don't want to get sued. 

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #7 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post

I have seen a little of this with my iPhone 5 in the transition from dark interiors to bright windows, as an example.

 

This fringing (chromatic aberration) is easily removed in a vaiety of processing tools.  I use Lightroom which has excellent - and very simple - adjustments to correct this sort of thing.  Not a big deal.  Not FringeGate.

wouldn't it be great if the Photo app (i.e. Camera roll) automatically fixed this? 

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post #8 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Cue the outrage of people who think they *should* be able to take pictures of the sun, and how it's all a conspiracy, and that their Blackberry/Android device allowed them to take pictures of the sun, etc.

Cue? It's already queued. A 5 min skim of comment sections..

 

Quote:
Watch the shitty Apple fanboys defend this.

 

Quote:
Lmao, this is just hilarious. 
Here I am, thinking that I should get the new iPhone 5 to replace my current iPhone 4... 
But as photography is a big part of my life, I can't carry around a piece of shit camera. 
You lost me Apple, you lost me.

 

Quote:
wow telling me how to live my life ILL HOLD MY CAMERA PHONE THE GODAMN WAY I WANT

 

(yes, this guy is actually outraged that Apple is 'infringing upon his freedoms' with their response. No doubt he's taken similar outraged stances against other issues which do actually infringe freedom. No, I doubt it.)

 

Quote:

F apple man, seriously they got some balls to be making things like that (especially at this point).

 

Quote:
They might as well ship Pre Broken phones, then just blame the customer for opening the box wrong.
Quote:
I love how Apple's response to anything being wrong with their phones is always: No thats normal, you're just using it wrong. Oh you lose all reception while holding it? You're holding it wrong. Oh all your photos are turning purple? Well you silly savage why are you taking a photo that includes a bright light source? We're apple, we don't make mistakes!
Quote:
one small question. what are iphone5 users supposed to take pictures of? darkness? I can't take pictures of my Friends in totall darkness you know apple!
Quote:
They need to send a 2,000 page book with illustration on how to HOLD the iPhone, cause between the Antennagate and this, how do you hold the damn thing?

 

The vicious, kneejerk Apple hatred online is stunning. If I could bottle it up it would have quite the destructive power. Keep in mind:

 

1- every single camera ever produced will have some type of fringing when pointing a certain way at a strong light source. 

2. I've taken a couple hundred photos with the iPhone 5, many which include the sun, and not once have I experienced this purple fringing. 

 

But yes, it's quite possible to get fringing when pointing at the sun, etc, which my $1,500 SLR also gets.

 

But I think the media should run with this, I expect some hard hitting piece from the NYT, Washington Post, and another heartfelt analogy from Tim Cook for this unforgiveable travesty. 

 

I'm seriously starting to get nauseous and losing all faith in humanity by this spoiled, whiny, entitled, ignorant sense of entitlement and faux outrage. Do people not recall it was only 5 years ago when a touchscreen phone entailed using a shitty stylus to try and get a shitty resistive screen to register your taps after after 9 times? I recall it well. God knows where'd we'd still be if Apple didn't pull us out of the darkness, but now, it's an outrage if they don't single-handedly solve the physics of light which has plagued every camera on the planet in their phone. 


Edited by Slurpy - 10/1/12 at 5:00pm
post #9 of 93
OK, I take the "outraged people" role.
There's no possible way that the "purple fringing," like in the example image above, is normal or acceptable. I can assure you that it isn't anything like "normal chromatic aberration" either (not proportianllay related to distance from the center of the lens.) I would describe it as pronounced "purple flaring" possibly caused by internal reflections in the lens or as an artifact of the design of the sensor. This is a camera design problem.
If Apple thinks this is normal and acceptable, I would just see this as another reason (along with the aluminum case) to either stick with the 4S or wait for the next decently designed iPhone---a pretty difficult resolution to keep, in light of the other very real & tantalizing HW & SW improvements made with the iP5!
Edited by DESuserIGN - 10/1/12 at 5:15pm
post #10 of 93

If you look at JJ Abrams Movies & TV Shows (i.e. Star Trek and Fringe) you will see that some directors use this light flare from bright light sources as an artistic addition.  

It happens with most lenses at different angles.  Hence the lens flare cover on most SLRs.

post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post

I have seen a little of this with my iPhone 5 in the transition from dark interiors to bright windows, as an example.

 

This fringing (chromatic aberration) is easily removed in a vaiety of processing tools.  I use Lightroom which has excellent - and very simple - adjustments to correct this sort of thing.  Not a big deal.  Not FringeGate.

 

Except you know how to do that and have the tools.  You don't represent the majority of people.  Most people just want to point and shoot and aren't used to being cognizant of having to adjust for lighting, much less have a copy of Lightroom laying around or something similar.  They may use iPhoto and even then aren't experts at it (it's not hard).  While the purple haze can be reproduced on the 4 and 4S (remember the 4 had a green dot/haze in the middle of pictures depending on indoor lighting against white backgrounds), I think the issue here is that it's easier to get the effect on the 5.  You get it more often.  Who knows.  I am getting mine in a couple of weeks, so I'll see what happens.  I don't really take many pictures.  Maybe it's the new lense cover.  Sapphire crystal right?  There is a thing called physics at work here. 

 

It'll be fixed in the 5S. 

post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

It was speculated that the "purple haze" was caused by... 

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Jimi-Hendrix.jpg

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post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skillquest View Post

If you look at JJ Abrams Movies & TV Shows (i.e. Star Trek and Fringe) you will see that some directors use this light flare from bright light sources as an artistic addition.  

It happens with most lenses at different angles.  Hence the lens flare cover on most SLRs.

Well, that's a classic example of how people spin a bug into a "feature." Just because some people become nostalgic for the glaring faults of of old doesn't mean we all are. Apple could always just replace the Camera app with Instagram, but I wouldn't like it.

post #14 of 93
Purple fringing has been a topic of conversation among photographers and lens designers since the 1800s. Nothing new here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_fringing

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post #15 of 93
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 

This is actually the first reference I've seen to Hendrix, even after several days of various discussions of this issue on various forums.

post #16 of 93

They just keep throwing everything against the wall in hopes of some of it will stick.  However this time they lost any serious consideration when I saw "Gizmodo"

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post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Purple fringing has been a topic of conversation among photographers and lens designers since the 1800s. Nothing new here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_fringing

Except if you had actually read the text and looked at the photos in the article you so glibly linked to, you would see that "actual" Chromatic Aberration is quite a different thing from the huge lens flaring exhibited by the iP5. TCA is a tiny effect at contrasty edges, not a huge flare that blasts a large part of the image area.

post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by focused View Post
......... I'm seriously starting to get nauseous and losing all faith in humanity by this spoiled, whiny, entitled, ignorant sense of entitlement and faux outrage. ......

I think what we're seeing is the competition's failed attempt to keep up with Apple. They think the way to succeed is to knock Apple down rather than boost their own products up to Apple's level. That's what happens when those "usual suspects" keep putting the needs of their customers at the bottom of the totem pole and their profits at the top. I still find it amazing that even when Apple shows the way ..... these guys still don't get it. That's ok .... keep hiring more trolls to dog the internet forums .... Apple will still keep on growing its user base.

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post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 

 

This is actually the first reference I've seen to Hendrix, even after several days of various discussions of this issue on various forums.

Sorry I swapped out the picture on you.

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post #20 of 93

Common photographic phenomenon affects smartphone camera.

 

NO WAY!!

post #21 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

. . .

2. I've taken a couple hundred photos with the iPhone 5, many which include the sun, and not once have I experienced this purple fringing. 

. . .

If it's not a common occurrence, great. I don't see it as a problem.

But what I see in the example image in the article is very unusual. I've never seen flaring like that from a headlight!

If it routinely occurs in that kind of a lighting situation, it's a glaring (no pun . . . ) camera design fault.

post #22 of 93

I can create the same thing on my iPhone 4s.  Why is this such a big deal now?

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post #23 of 93

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 1/21/13 at 3:12pm
post #24 of 93

Everyone with an iPhone5 I know have this problem. 

Purple haze on ordinary pictures. Something that does not appear on other cameras/phones including the iPhone4S. 

 

Many of the Apple fans/users I know are returning their iphones. Something I have not seen in over 12 years following Apple products. This is huge. 
Antenna gate (that was really a non issue, since it was a USA/AT&T problem) can't compare to this. Lens covers solves the problem. Maybe Apple will release free lens covers? 
Otherwise: this is a flawed design. Steve would fire Tim on the spot. 

post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

. . .

2. I've taken a couple hundred photos with the iPhone 5, many which include the sun, and not once have I experienced this purple fringing. 

. . .

If it's not a common occurrence, great. I don't see it as a problem.

But what I see in the example image in the article is very unusual. I've never seen flaring like that from a headlight!

If it routinely occurs in that kind of a lighting situation, it's a glaring (no pun . . . ) camera design fault.

 

I agree that is not the common purple fringing at edges that is often seen in digital images. My first question would be whether the phone was in a case. A reflective surface near the field of view of the lens might produce that kind of flare with strong off-axis light sources.

post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

I can create the same thing on my iPhone 4s.  Why is this such a big deal now?

 

Because the media have drawn attention to it. And now all of a sudden, everyone has this "problem." 

post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by shompa View Post

Everyone with an iPhone5 I know have this problem. 

Purple haze on ordinary pictures. Something that does not appear on other cameras/phones including the iPhone4S. 

 

Many of the Apple fans/users I know are returning their iphones. Something I have not seen in over 12 years following Apple products. This is huge. 
Antenna gate (that was really a non issue, since it was a USA/AT&T problem) can't compare to this. Lens covers solves the problem. Maybe Apple will release free lens covers? 
Otherwise: this is a flawed design. Steve would fire Tim on the spot. 

 

'Everyone' you know with an iPhone 5 has this problem? Even when many (like me) have never experienced it once after a couple hundred photos?

'Many of the Apple users you know' are returning the phones? Yeah, I call bullshit on that. Complete bullshit. It's so easy to say unlikely, trollish, lying garbage like this online when you don't need to back it up. And yes, you're a troll, your last statement confirms it. Really, 'Steve would fire Tim on the spot'? The guy who SJ decided to give the company to, after working with him for more than a decade and trusting him with the company during his leaves of absence,  this is who he would 'fire on the spot' for this non-issue that affects all cameras to some degree? Such catastrophic issue that somehow all reviews I've read proclaim this to be one of the best cameras on any phone, period? And that the phone itself is a remarkable feat in design and engineering, in so many ways? Yeah, ok. Go back and play with all your imaginary iPhone 5 owners who are returning this imaginary phones, and spare us the 'what Steve would do' drivel. 

 

Not only do you know many people who bought the iPhone 5, *ALL* of them somehow encountered this problem (even though it only made blog headlines today), they were able to communicate to you the fact they encountered this problem, and in addition to this a large number of them already decided to rectify the situation by taking the most extreme measure possible, which is returning the phone. Yeah, not in the LEAST bit likely. You forgot to end your post with the requisite 'I've been an Apple fan since 1600 BC' mandatory line which is supposed to convey how much it pains you to speak negatively about Apple since you're such a giant Apple fan. 6.5/10. 

 

Oh and re this appalling 'flawed design' of a phone.. (a review from a site that regularly trashes Apple)

 

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/10/01/tnw-review-iphone-5-apple-creates-archetype/

Quote:

The iPhone 5 is the most capable and carefully designed smartphone ever. There is no other on the market that combines the best screen in the world with a completely custom processor and a wafer thin chassis to produce an LTE-fast device with industry standard or better battery life.

The only way that the iPhone 5 could be unimpressive is if you’re the kind of person that thinks that the more aftermarket fiberglass fins that a car has, the faster it will go.

This device is a tour de-force performance of a company firing on all cylinders. The internal components work together in concert to deliver one of the most pleasant and powerful experiences of any ever produced. If you’re reading these sentences and rolling your eyes, then you probably have an allergy to hyperbole, and I understand because I do too. But this isn’t hyperbole, it isn’t exaggeration.

The more research I did into the construction of the iPhone 5, the more I put the pieces together about how they managed to combine these parts to deliver the product they did, the more insanely impressive this device is. 

 

Yeah, what a catastrophe. 


Edited by Slurpy - 10/1/12 at 6:21pm
post #28 of 93

Suggestion. Don't be an idiot, and try taking pics with bright lights, or sun in the background. My parents taught me that in the 50's, when they were using Hassies, Leicas, Contax's and Rolleiflex's, and I was using my Brownie Starflash.

post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

. . .

2. I've taken a couple hundred photos with the iPhone 5, many which include the sun, and not once have I experienced this purple fringing. 

. . .

If it's not a common occurrence, great. I don't see it as a problem.

But what I see in the example image in the article is very unusual. I've never seen flaring like that from a headlight!

If it routinely occurs in that kind of a lighting situation, it's a glaring (no pun . . . ) camera design fault.

 

I agree that is not the common purple fringing at edges that is often seen in digital images. My first question would be whether the phone was in a case. A reflective surface near the field of view of the lens might produce that kind of flare with strong off-axis light sources.

 

Not the case in fact. I reproduced approximately the lighting conditions and found the same effect on an IP4 and a similar effect on a couple of $400 consumer-level digital cameras. No sign of it on a Nikon D200 with high-quality glass. I suspect it might be down to the anti-reflection lens coatings that suppress multiple internal reflections in the lens assemblies.


Edited by muppetry - 10/1/12 at 7:11pm
post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

I agree that is not the common purple fringing at edges that is often seen in digital images. My first question would be whether the phone was in a case. A reflective surface near the field of view of the lens might produce that kind of flare with strong off-axis light sources.

That is a good point. I just got a case for my iPhone 5 at Best Buy made by Griffin (named for the New iPhone which is why I think they are unavailable at the Apple store). This case has a huge opening around the camera lens and has a black color on the edge of the opening. I've seen some iP4 cases that have very little area opening around the lens.

 

There is always going to be odd artifacts around the edges of a lens, sometimes just referred to as fall off by photographers, but it can include things like this flare as well. There are so many odd characteristics of different full SLR lenses costing hundreds of dollars, I can't imagine that a tiny little lens from a smartphone would be without any compromises.


Edited by mstone - 10/1/12 at 6:27pm

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post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post

I have seen a little of this with my iPhone 5 in the transition from dark interiors to bright windows, as an example.

This fringing (chromatic aberration) is easily removed in a vaiety of processing tools.  I use Lightroom which has excellent - and very simple - adjustments to correct this sort of thing.  Not a big deal.  Not FringeGate.

Remove? There are Photoshop filters for ADDING lens artifacts. And Instagram for adding all kinds of color aberrations.

Speaking of FringeGate, anyone else notice that the blue lens flare is back in Season 5 premiere of Fringe? Why would anyone want a perfect lens?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #32 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by shompa View Post

Everyone with an iPhone5 I know have this problem. 


Purple haze on ordinary pictures. Something that does not appear on other cameras/phones including the iPhone4S. 

Many of the Apple fans/users I know are returning their iphones. Something I have not seen in over 12 years following Apple products. This is huge. 

Antenna gate (that was really a non issue, since it was a USA/AT&T problem) can't compare to this. Lens covers solves the problem. Maybe Apple will release free lens covers? 

Otherwise: this is a flawed design. Steve would fire Tim on the spot. 

Use of hyperbole. It gave your parodist position away.

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post #33 of 93

Frankly whether this is real fault (i.e. a miss on the design folks hands) or not depends on how significant the purple fringing is - but there's two different things here - chromatic aberration (purple fringing) and lens flare.  

 

On the photography sites (DPReview for example) they always check for purple fringing and how bad it is...normally you might see it with the edge of white building next to a dark background and you'd see a little purple edge running along the white (many folks wouldn't notice it without blowing the image to the max to see it and looking for it).  A small amount is somewhat expected, a large amount means the camera will be avoided by folks who are into photography and would be considered a design fault of the manufacturer (for not fixing that before releasing it to manufacturing since it can be minimized in design and post processing even).

 

DPReview has their review up for the 5 now and here's their analysis overall of the 5's camera (they do a nice unbiased job reviewing cameras no matter the manufacturer):

 

The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and - crucially - it is supremely easy to use. It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare). When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn't with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display. 

 

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6867454450/quick-review-apple-iphone-5-camera

 

They have an entire page dedicated to dissecting the issue with Purple Haze / Fringe / Flare here:

 

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6867454450/quick-review-apple-iphone-5-camera/3

 

So it appears there's some lens flare associated with the 5, but this is not a huge issue on the camera.  As the photography experts at DPReview say:

 

Really, our advice is not to worry. Just do what you should do anyway, and avoid putting bright lights near the edge of the frame when shooting. 

post #34 of 93

Here's a 5 page thread about purple fringing on the Leica M9. For those who are unaware, the Leica M9 retails for about 7 grand, and that's just for the body. lol.gif

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m9-forum/195456-purple-fringe-problems-leica-m9-5.html

post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Here's a 5 page thread about purple fringing on the Leica M9. For those who are unaware, the Leica M9 retails for about 7 grand, and that's just for the body. lol.gif

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m9-forum/195456-purple-fringe-problems-leica-m9-5.html

 

This isn't fringing though.


Edited by muppetry - 10/1/12 at 8:03pm
post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


This isn't fringing though.

 

Right this is lens flare and only happens when you put a bright light on the edge of the frame, keep them from the edge of the frame (as you're supposed to do with all camera's) and you're good.

post #37 of 93

Crappy Map, terrible camera, buggy cellular.... Apple is doom!

 

Meanwhile, Google, MS, HP and Samsung are banging their heads against the porta johns to figure out how to sell 5 million crapware per weekend.

post #38 of 93

Thank you thank you thank you.  I have really had it with stupid, entitled, ignorant people who aren't continually amazed at what the iPhone (and other miniaturized technology) can do. Yes, some purple fringing is normal for digital sensors. It is a spec in most professional reviews: ALL sensors have it, or something like it. Given the givens, Apple (and everyone else out there with customers) has to be very patient and be very nice, even when they act like spoiled brats, hiding behind the anonymity of the web.

post #39 of 93
I can assure you that you have no idea what you are talking about. You can introduce lens flare in any lens ever made. The characteristic of which will vary with the lens design.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

OK, I take the "outraged people" role.
There's no possible way that the "purple fringing," like in the example image above, is normal or acceptable. I can assure you that it isn't anything like "normal chromatic aberration" either (not proportianllay related to distance from the center of the lens.) I would describe it as pronounced "purple flaring" possibly caused by internal reflections in the lens or as an artifact of the design of the sensor. This is a camera design problem.
If Apple thinks this is normal and acceptable, I would just see this as another reason (along with the aluminum case) to either stick with the 4S or wait for the next decently designed iPhone---a pretty difficult resolution to keep, in light of the other very real & tantalizing HW & SW improvements made with the iP5!
post #40 of 93
Your response here indicates a rather significant ignorance when it comes to optics and physics. It would be best to stop posting else you will convince everyone of your ignorance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Well, that's a classic example of how people spin a bug into a "feature." Just because some people become nostalgic for the glaring faults of of old doesn't mean we all are. Apple could always just replace the Camera app with Instagram, but I wouldn't like it.
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