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Apple Responds to Purple Lens Flare Experienced by some iPhone 5 Users

The iPhone 5 has been shipping for a little more than two weeks; in that timeframe some users have noticed a purple flare or halo when the iPhone’s camera is pointed near a bright light source such as the sun.

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Gizmodo reports that Apple has moved to address the issue, with the company’s support staff now offering a pre-canned email response to customers asking about the phenomenon. Apple’s engineers claim that this is a normal behavior and that customers should not point the device at a bright light source when taking a photo. Apple has even gone so far as to post a public support document:

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.

Overall, the camera in the iPhone 5 is very similar to the one found in the iPhone 4S. In fact, Apple reduced the thickness of the camera, and moved a sapphire lens cover. Other than that, the specs remain the same.

To me, this strikes me as another boogie man similar to that of Antennagate. A handful of customers noticed this, and the media who for some unknown reason is looking for anything to bash Apple with, latched on and now there is a PR problem on Apple’s hands. Granted this hasn’t spun into a “Antennagate” level yet, but the same silliness is present. Lens flare is lens flare- just watch a J.J. Abrams film for excellent examples of this phenomenon. ZINGER!

Image courtesy of The Next Web.

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  • Randomalexlol

    I’m an idiot and will point my phone to the sky where the sun is !! AMG THE GLARE IS PURPLE !! i dont like this at all even though plenty of cameras have done this in the past, MUST COMPLAIN, gotta give the droid fanboys something else to tragically use against us

    • hoseph

      Honestly though, I’ve never noticed a flare like this with anything but idevices. when the sun is low or you’re shooting something above ground level this can be a problem. I don’t think it’s an issue of android vs. apple, any camera shouldn’t create that effect, any evening shots you take would be at risk of a poor effect.

  • Jai Singh

    Absolutely right sometimes Iphone 5 camera have purple
    flare problem and it affects the quality of picture. Iphone 5 camera is not
    good in low-light situation. When we capture a picture in low or dim light
    (usually Night) then we see its picture quality affects camera. But I have
    solution for that at http://howmobile.net/apple-iphone/2853-solution-camera-issues-iphone.html.
    Hope you would like the solution. As it’s very easy to understand &
    implement. Hope the solutions work for your Iphone 5 camera trouble.


  • I saw this effect with my high-end Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (with a Leica lens) just this weekend. I was hiking in the mountains with my boys early in the day, and the trail we were on was on the east side of the mountain, so we were facing into the sun when taking pictures of the surrounding area. I noticed sun glare in several pics, and even small amount of purple fringing. This is a fact of life with ALL cameras to some degree or another, but the smaller lens, the worse it usually is.

  • Spinx Inc

    I have never marked this before but thanks for bringing the issue to light.
    Apple says that the iPhone 5 has a 8 MP
    camera but if 8MP camera is present, such issues to some extent would not be
    good. And one interesting thing is that when it has asked the company about
    this issue then the company has put all the issues on users saying that they
    are taking the wrong pictures. Ultimately the fault goes to the user. This is
    really weird.