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Apple support document addresses iPhone 5 'purple haze'

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 
Apple has publicly explained an issue that can result in a purple "haze" or flare that users have discovered can show up in pictures taken with the new iPhone 5.

The official support document posted on Apple's site is entitled "iPhone: Camera image effects." It notes that users may sometimes see "a purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot" in an image with an "out-of-scene bright light."

"Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources," the offered resolution states. "This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor.

"Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect."

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


Days after the iPhone 5 was released, the so-called "purple haze" issue was noted by users online. While some speculated it could be related to a defect with the phone, further investigation revealed the problem is common with many modern digital cameras, especially miniaturized devices.

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.

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.
post #2 of 113
Oh boy, how is this explanation going to assuage the outraged crowd? Not much I'm afraid. It will only fuel their anger and rage. Their veins will pop out more and turn a brighter purple hue to match their defective pictures. Some might even end it all I'm afraid.
post #3 of 113
It's just lens flare, every lens will produce it under various conditions ( like pointing into the sun). Every good lens has coating, nikon, canon etc. this is no different.
Geesh not everything is a scandal. Oh the black iPhone get warmer in the sun than the white version.... Ya just like a car.

Now apple is paranoid & feels it has to defend every comment even a non issue.

If its an issue, or other things tick you off about the iPhone..... simply just don't get one..
post #4 of 113
Wait... are you saying my iPhone 5 isn't a professional DSLR with a 30,000 dollar lens? I want my money back!

Or, I suppose, I could take fewer pictures of the sun.

Interesting article, though.
post #5 of 113
Yes lkrupp. At at minimum a few brain aneurysms will blow. Why doesn't Apple come up with an ultra low sensitivity sensor, so that users can point their iPhones directly at the sun or super novas and not suffer the heart break of purple fringe. Mind you normal shots of family and friends will be completely black but I think that is a small price to pay for that perfect picture of an arc welder working.
post #6 of 113
Mapgate, Scuffgate, now jimihendrixgate.

Can't wait for whatsontapfornextweek'sgate. That'll tide us through until it's time for a whole new bunch of iPad Mini gates.
post #7 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigalmac View Post

It's just lens flare, every lens will produce it under various conditions ( like pointing into the sun). Every good lens has coating, nikon, canon etc. this is no different.
Geesh not everything is a scandal. Oh the black iPhone get warmer in the sun than the white version.... Ya just like a car.
Now apple is paranoid & feels it has to defend every comment even a non issue.
If its an issue, or other things tick you off about the iPhone..... simply just don't get one..

All this happened because Gizmodo (I think it is) show this compared with iPhone 4 and another camera and both didn't show this "purple" issue but iPhone 5. They don't tell you though that: 1. They never shoot them at the exact same angle. 2. All the lens they tested didn't even have the same focal length. And 3. This kind of aberration can go away even with a slight change of angle (the glare not but the purple tint will). People who see the comparison then freaked out thinking not only iPhone 5 alone produces this but you will get purple tint every time you shoot at the sun. Both are false. I don't know all of this was because of Gizmodo's lack of expertise in this field or their lack of honesty.
Edited by matrix07 - 10/7/12 at 11:18am
post #8 of 113
The whole purple haze thing is a total non-issue. It is obviously just a Google conspiracy to drum up bad publicity for Apple. 

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #9 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigalmac View Post


Now apple is paranoid & feels it has to defend every comment even a non issue.
 

 

 

The industry at large is in a state of panic. 

 

Apple's got all the mindshare, and has got everyone counting their legal chickens. Competitors worried about who will be *next* to get dragged into court kicking and screaming. Because the competition was lazy and stupid at the worst possible time, having also engaged in theft of intellectual property in order to attempt to make up for their deficit in innovation.

 

The industry at large is paying the price for their collective laziness. To the degree that every "natural event" must be spun artificially by the industry and pundits outside of Apple into an Apple-centric problem.

 

Of course, it's not going to work. 

post #10 of 113
Still no apology for Android-gate, ie the series of crappy Android devices I got at work that weren't worth turning on.
post #11 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Mapgate, Scuffgate, now jimihendrixgate.

Can't wait for whatsontapfornextweek'sgate. That'll tide us through until it's time for a whole new bunch of iPad Mini gates.

My iPhone is actin' funny and I don't know why
post #12 of 113
Originally Posted by quinney View Post
My iPhone is actin' funny and I don't know why

 

'SCUSE ME, WHILE I SUE THESE GUYS!

 

*bow-now-now, class-actION, class-actION*

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post #13 of 113

AI staff writer,

You should write much less when you don't know what you are talking about.

This is not an example of the (axial OR transverse) chromatic aberration you reference. If you look at the hands of the sculpture in this image, you will see an example of the "purple fringing" resulting from chromatic aberration. It is nothing like what people are complaining about with the iP5:

http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/photography-tutorials/correcting-and-preventing-chromatic-aberration/#1

 

The image used in this AI story is clearly an example of lens flair. The iP5 lens is in no way shielded from off axis light. Clearly light is reflecting off surfaces and lens elements in the lens, causing this purple flair. I had a chance to play with an iP5 yesterday and I can say the camera is quite nice. There is no glaring CA issue with the lens. The lens flair in this image is very pronounced and results from a lack of flair shielding. Why? Mainly because of a design decision to sacrifice flair for a very compact camera depth. There may also have been a lack of attention paid to minimizing reflections off of areas in and around the lens barrel and internal parts of the lens and camera.

 

This problem arises from deliberate design compromises (which always must be made) and and probably some poor attention to the design as well. That said, I found the camera quite nice and was not able to induce the fault easily indoors. Under certain common lighting conditions though, other similar cameras would perform much better.  And this problem on the iPhone could probably have been minimized greatly with a bit more attention to some details. In the mean time, some third party can probably make a buck selling a small lens shield for the camera. And frankly, it's still a great camera that produces excellent images most of the time (even without shielding.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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


. . .  further investigation revealed the problem is common with many modern digital cameras, especially miniaturized devices.
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.


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.

post #14 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple II View Post

Just move your iPhone a half an inch and it will disappear, you retard.

Inches aren't a measure of angles. Should you be calling people retards when you can't get that critical detail correct yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

The image used in this AI story is clearly an example of lens flair. The iP5 lens is in no way shielded from off axis light. Clearly light is reflecting off surfaces and lens elements in the lens, causing this purple flair. I had a chance to play with an iP5 yesterday and I can say the camera is quite nice. There is no glaring CA issue with the lens. The lens flair in this image is very pronounced and results from a lack of flair shielding. Why? Mainly because of a design decision to sacrifice flair for a very compact camera depth.

Flare.
post #15 of 113

What do people exact from Apple?  This is a secondary feature.  Go buy a real SLR if you want to filter out the light in a sun shot.  

post #16 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Flare.

 

Yeah I realized I miss-spelled it after I posted, but as a terminally poor speller, I decided not to correct it. :)

post #17 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


Inches aren't a measure of angles. 
 

 

I never wrote or claimed that angles were measured in inches. 

post #18 of 113
The article contradicts itself. The Apple source cited, and others I've seen, say the problem is lens flare, which is an issue caused by reflections in the lens system. But after quoting Apple on this, the AI article says it's chromatic aberration, as if it were agreeing with Apple. Chromatic abberation is a completely different thing, that involves refraction, not reflection.
post #19 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

The article contradicts itself. The Apple source cited, and others I've seen, say the problem is lens flare, which is an issue caused by reflections in the lens system. But after quoting Apple on this, the AI article says it's chromatic aberration, as if it were agreeing with Apple. Chromatic abberation is a completely different thing, that involves refraction, not reflection.

Really? Sounds to me like people tried to splitting hair here. Look at the photo, delete the flare (suppose no sun there) what will you get with the black leaves and white sky? Oh, Chromatic aberration around the edge of the leaves. Now put in the sun, we have the flare and this aberration is amplified by the much higher contrast so the tint is much more pronounced and mixed with the flare but we can't call this change in color (from black leaves and white sky to purple) Chromatic aberration? Please...
You can shoot directly at the sun with no tint. Even iPhone 5 can. The appearance of the tint is what it's called CA. I'm glad I'm not academic person so I don't have to splitting hair in real life.
post #20 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple II View Post

I never wrote or claimed that angles were measured in inches. 

Then I don't believe you understand what you're talking about. To alleviate the problem, you need to change the angle (orientation), not position.
post #21 of 113
how about a filter in iPhoto to handle the problem?

Elmo

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Elmo

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post #22 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


Then I don't believe you understand what you're talking about. To alleviate the problem, you need to change the angle (orientation), not position.

 

Perhaps. I don't claim to be any sort of photographer, my specialty is audio.

 

If a strong light source was all the way on the right edge of a photo, wouldn't moving the camera ever so slightly to the left alleviate the problem?

 

When I've taken pictures using regular cameras before (not iPhones), and there were strong light sources on the edge, the tiniest movement would change the image drastically.

post #23 of 113

for those brainless users Apple should include a feature that blocks the photo app when it shows this issue, an alert, just like what you have in any compact camera in low light when you have the flash off.
It can be solved with a software update.

post #24 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Really? Sounds to me like people tried to splitting hair here. Look at the photo, delete the flare (suppose no sun there) what will you get with the black leaves and white sky? Oh, Chromatic aberration around the edge of the leaves. Now put in the sun, we have the flare and this aberration is amplified by the much higher contrast so the tint is much more pronounced and mixed with the flare but we can't call this change in color (from black leaves and white sky to purple) Chromatic aberration? Please...
You can shoot directly at the sun with no tint. Even iPhone 5 can. The appearance of the tint is what it's called CA. I'm glad I'm not academic person so I don't have to splitting hair in real life.

Well you and AI are wrong.

Chromat Aberrations exist in all lens to some extent. Such defects do not depend upon what you are pointing at assuming a normal spectrum of light. That is you will get the same CA on the test bench that you see in the field. The reason being is that this defect depends upon the physical design of the lens elements and how well they are corrected for the various focus points of the different wavelengths of light.

The issues being seen here are for the most part related to flare. Flare can produce the gross image defects seen here but it can also negatively impact contrast.

Beyond that this is not simply a problem with digital cameras, AI states this but I have to wonder if any of them have actually used a film based camera. To put it bluntly I have, and all of them can be forced into flare conditions. This includes 35 mm SLRs, 6x7 medium format cameras, twin lens reflex and others I have used. Lens design is an exercise in compromise that is why ligitimate camera and lens reviews test systems for a number of aberrations. Further such reviews don't go off on any one characteristic of a lens unless the feature/issue is significant.
post #25 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Apple 
[" url="/t/153202/apple-support-document-addresses-iphone-5-purple-haze#post_2206755"]
Perhaps. I don't claim to be any sort of photographer, my specialty is audio.

If a strong light source was all the way on the right edge of a photo, wouldn't moving the camera ever so slightly to the left alleviate the problem?

When I've taken pictures using regular cameras before (not iPhones), and there were strong light sources on the edge, the tiniest movement would change the image drastically.

I would bet that most of that movement is an unconscious rotation. True linear movement does practically nothing relatively speaking. I'll have to figure out how to explain why this is.
post #26 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


Really? Sounds to me like people tried to splitting hair here. Look at the photo, delete the flare (suppose no sun there) what will you get with the black leaves and white sky? Oh, Chromatic aberration around the edge of the leaves. Now put in the sun, we have the flare and this aberration is amplified by the much higher contrast so the tint is much more pronounced and mixed with the flare but we can't call this change in color (from black leaves and white sky to purple) Chromatic aberration? Please...
You can shoot directly at the sun with no tint. Even iPhone 5 can. The appearance of the tint is what it's called CA. I'm glad I'm not academic person so I don't have to splitting hair in real life.

 

Take a look at what dpreview says about this problem.  Chromatic aberration occurs when the lens can't focus all colors sharply at the same time.  Lens flare occurs when stray light gets in and bounces around between the elements of the lens.

post #27 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

'SCUSE ME, WHILE I SUE THESE GUYS!

*bow-now-now, class-actION, class-actION*

Funny stuff. Now do we all need to throw our iphone5's on the stage, dowse with iLighter Fluid (tm) and burn, baby, burn? (with apology to Jimi).
post #28 of 113
To those arguing about what this is, read:

Actually, it is both flare and chromatic aberration. The severity of the lens flare in the picture exposes the chromatic aberrant behavior in the camera — hence the purple fringing. In a system without chromatic aberrant behavior, the flare is a whitish haze overpowering part or all of the image. It may or may not include speculate highlights.
post #29 of 113

Um . . . No.

Call it "splitting hair" if you want, but your "explanation" brings no information to light.

Flaring and fringing are totally different effects, resulting from totally different causes, with totally different remedies.

The purple color of the flair is probably a result of thin film diffraction somewhere along the line where the flare hits a coating on a lens or possibly the sapphire lens protector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


Really? Sounds to me like people tried to splitting hair here. Look at the photo, delete the flare (suppose no sun there) what will you get with the black leaves and white sky? Oh, Chromatic aberration around the edge of the leaves. Now put in the sun, we have the flare and this aberration is amplified by the much higher contrast so the tint is much more pronounced and mixed with the flare but we can't call this change in color (from black leaves and white sky to purple) Chromatic aberration? Please...
You can shoot directly at the sun with no tint. Even iPhone 5 can. The appearance of the tint is what it's called CA. I'm glad I'm not academic person so I don't have to splitting hair in real life.

Edited by DESuserIGN - 10/7/12 at 1:29pm
post #30 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post


My iPhone is actin' funny and I don't know why

 

Ah, Now we have clown-gate. 

 

It has been observed countless times; a person at first opening the iPhone box will grin, make chuckling sounds or even break out in laughter. This unexplainable phenomenon seems to be totally unique to new iPhone owners and has not been seen in the wild among the intelligence challenged purchasers of other OS phones.

 

 

post #31 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

AI staff writer,

You should write much less when you don't know what you are talking about.

This is not an example of the (axial OR transverse) chromatic aberration you reference. If you look at the hands of the sculpture in this image, you will see an example of the "purple fringing" resulting from chromatic aberration.

 

Bullshit.

 

You can see it yourself when you point your iPhone 5 at a bright light source, tilt the phone a few degrees, move it a few fractions of an inch or shade it with your hand and watch the "purple haze" vanish.

 

What next?

 

Apple is "copying" every camera manual ever written.

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post #32 of 113

 

 

Apple should not use their arrogant tactic, “You’re taking pictures wrong.”

 

'Sapphire glass' is problem.

 

------------------------------

 

We’ve just learned that the iPhone 5 camera may be faulty, showing a purple haze (yep, I said it) in certain lighting conditions. If you take a picture with the iPhone 5, and there’s a bright light that’s outside of the frame, you’ll see a purple tint come across the image.

This is possibly due to the Sapphire glass used in the camera’s lens.

 

http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/26/the-iphone-5s-camera-is-faulty-shows-a-purple-haze/

post #33 of 113
Originally Posted by 845032 View Post
Apple should not use their arrogant tactic, “You’re taking pictures wrong.”

 

'Sapphire glass' is problem.

 

Run away, Samsung shill. Run long. Run far.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #34 of 113

This is good news for Apple, who can now patent the never before heard of phenomenon called 'lens flare' and sue everyone else for patent infringement, starting with Adobe Photoshop.

post #35 of 113
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post
This is good news for Apple, who can now patent the never before heard of phenomenon called 'lens flare' and sue everyone else for patent infringement, starting with Adobe Photoshop.

 

I support the idea of Apple suing everyone for the use of lens flare on the sole condition that when they win the lawsuit, no one else can ever use it again. And since Apple themselves wouldn't use it, the world will be a better place.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #36 of 113

And . . . nope.

There is no such thing as a lens "without CA behavior." Also, although a flare is proportional to it's brightness, CA is a constant that does not "increase in severity" due to the brightness of the light. It appears consistently (relative to the distance from the focal point) throughout the image, but is most easily noticed at edges with high contrast (e.g. an edge where whit and black meet abruptly.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post

To those arguing about what this is, read:
Actually, it is both flare and chromatic aberration. The severity of the lens flare in the picture exposes the chromatic aberrant behavior in the camera — hence the purple fringing. In a system without chromatic aberrant behavior, the flare is a whitish haze overpowering part or all of the image. It may or may not include speculate highlights.

Edited by DESuserIGN - 10/7/12 at 1:51pm
post #37 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


I would bet that most of that movement is an unconscious rotation. True linear movement does practically nothing relatively speaking. I'll have to figure out how to explain why this is.

 

I think you guys are just splitting hairs here.  Moving the camera will indeed correct the problem just as slight tilting will. It's also really unlikely that the average user could tilt the iPhone while still having it remain in a fixed position just as you note the unlikeliness of moving the camera without also tilting it somehow.  

 

Moving the camera so you are not facing the sun or do not have the sun either in, or to the edge of, your composition will obviously fix the problem, as will tilting it "just so," to change the angle of reflection.  Overall I still think the rational way to talk about the problem is just to tell people not to violate what is probably the first rule of photography by having their light source in front of them instead of behind them.  

 

The real problem is a whole new class of people who are avidly taking pictures without ever having owned a real camera or had any instruction in photography.  This is all fine as long as these people do not expect perfection from their photographs (and they generally don't).  The ruckus is being caused by the small subset of that group who know nothing about taking pictures, yet do expect the camera to automatically turn every shot they make into perfection.  

post #38 of 113

3866 posts and nothing intelligent to say.

What a surprise!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

Bullshit.

 

You can see it yourself when you point your iPhone 5 at a bright light source, tilt the phone a few degrees, move it a few fractions of an inch or shade it with your hand and watch the "purple haze" vanish.

post #39 of 113

In all this discussion of lens flare one important thing seems to always get overlooked. Pointing your lens at the sun, regardless if it is an iPhone or a DSLR, has the potential of damaging the imaging sensor. 

post #40 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

Wait... are you saying my iPhone 5 isn't a professional DSLR with a 30,000 dollar lens? I want my money back!
Or, I suppose, I could take fewer pictures of the sun.
Interesting article, though.

 

No, they're saying the lens of your 5 is shittier than that of the 4S, so watch where you point it.

 

 

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