Apple says purple fringing is normal for iPhone 5 camera

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member

    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.

  • Reply 3 of 94


    I want an apology letter!

  • Reply 4 of 94


    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.

  • Reply 5 of 94
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member

    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. 

  • Reply 6 of 94
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member

    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? 

  • Reply 7 of 94
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,144member

    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. 

  • Reply 8 of 94
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 94


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 94

    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. 

  • Reply 11 of 94
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



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


    The Jimi Hendrix Experience


    image

  • Reply 12 of 94
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 94
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    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
  • Reply 14 of 94

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 94


    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"

  • Reply 16 of 94
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 94
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 94
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 94
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member


    Common photographic phenomenon affects smartphone camera.


     


    NO WAY!!

  • Reply 20 of 94
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member

    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.

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