Apple on iPhone 5 Lens Flare: That’s Normal

| News
Following concerns that there might be a problem with the iPhone 5's camera thanks to reports of a purple-colored lens flare appearing in photos, Apple posted a knowledge base article acknowledging the effect and also saying it's normal for digital cameras.

iPhone 5's purple haze, or at lest our artist renditioniPhone 5's purple haze, or at lest our artist rendition

Apple described the effect as, "A purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot is imaged from out-of-scene bright light sources during still image or video capture."
The knowledge base article goes on to state,
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. 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.
In other words, Apple is saying the problem isn't with the iPhone's camera but instead with users pointing it at bright light sources. While that response won't please some iPhone owners, it is accurate because bright lights can cause lens flares in images -- just ask JJ Abrams.

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Apple's response to iPhone 5 lens flare artifacts is accurate, but in the back of my head I keep hearing "You're holding it wrong."


Lee Dronick

Oh no! That being the real reason or not the pundits will be on this like it was a politician’s peccadillo.


This is why SLR camera lenses all ship with lens hoods.  Most camera lens elements contain some type of anti-reflective coating to minimize lens flare, but no multi-element lens can eliminate it entirely.


Is it worse than previous versions? And if so is it because of the sapphire?


Actually, it is normal. Haloing can happen with any camera, even top end DSLRs. It has to do with the way light interacts with the lens - even old film cameras were subject to light leaks (although they generally appeared reddish on developed color film). It’s just the way light works, and there’s only so much a photog can do to prevent it under certain conditions. Haloing or light leaks can be removed pretty admirably with Photoshop though, or any photo editior that allows the manipulation of color channels.

Not to sound supercilious, but I think it’s likely that most non-professional photographers make up the vast majority of mobile’s user base and simply aren’t familiar with these phenomena that those of us on the pro side have been dealing with for a long time. It isn’t the end of the world, it can even make for some very creative shots. smile

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