Apple: ‘Purple Fringing’ Is Nothing But Plain Old Lens Flare [Opinion]

Apple: ‘Purple Fringing’ Is Nothing But Plain Old Lens Flare [Opinion]

It seems impossible for a new Apple product to launch without the idiots and morons crawling out from their dark shells of ignorance, their subhuman bodies propelled only by the motion of a jerking knee as they regain consciousness for just long enough to write a blog post about some perceived “problem.”

Today’s example: purple fringing.

Apparently these denizens of ignorance have never heard of lens flare. It’s caused when light hits a lens at an oblique angle and bounces around inside the glass. Its result is reduced contrast and colored blobs on the image. There are many software packages which add it in as a special effect.

Coating lens elements with anti-reflective potions can help, but there’s a reason that even lenses from Leica ship with tailor-made lens-hoods: flare is inevitable, and the only real way to avoid it is to move the lens out of the light, or shield it.

So, purple-fringe conspiracy theorists: The iPhone 5’s “problems” are plain old lens flare. Boring, right? And here’s Apple’s new support document explaining it:

Symptoms
A purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot is imaged from out-of-scene bright light sources during still image or video capture.

Resolution
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. [emphasis added]

Shocking, right? It’a almost as if the purple-fringers not only ignored the evidence but actively avoided it. There really is something about Apple that turns people crazy, huh?

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  • Shaun Green

    Is this supposed to be journalism Charlie? Insulting people who experience a problem with their iPhone and wonder what’s going on. Maybe the iPhone should only be sold to the all knowing intelligentsia like yourself.

  • Sean_Mapstone

    I’m pretty sure someone on this site posted an article about this being a genuine problem. So your insulting your colleague. Lol

  • RaptorOO7

    Granted this was an opinion piece but your site did report on this as other sites did. The reason why so called knee jerk responses happen with Apple products is the simple fact that Apple denies, denies, denies any possible issue, failure or wrong doing until the ground swell forces them to. iP4 Antenna problems, real or perceived, iP5 nicks, scratches and defects in physical appearance, real or perceived and now the flare issue, real or perceived.

    Perhaps if Apple would actually accept their products are not perfect and for the price point they charge consumers do have a right to demand higher and better of them.

    Opinions are like anything else, everyone is entitled to theirs, but be prepared for the responses.

  • minimalist1969

    It takes all of three seconds to Google “lens flare” and discover the following:

    A. All cameras deal with lens flare in some way, even 5,000 dollar DSLR’s. The laws of physics don’t change for anyone.
    B. Flares are different colors and shapes on different cameras (but purple is indeed very common and is not unique to the iPhone 5)

    This is such a non-problem. It’s just people whipping themselves into a frenzy over an common occurrence they didn’t noticed before. Because its Apple they start wildly speculating (it’s the beginning of the end for Apple! Steve Jobs would have never allowed this!, Apple is so arrogant! The iSheep will suffer any problem no matter how obvious!)

  • kavi

    Is this supposed to be journalism Charlie? Insulting people who experience a problem with their iPhone and wonder what’s going on. Maybe the iPhone should only be sold to the all knowing intelligentsia like yourself.

    Oh, really? Ha ha ha, wait who reported the purple lens flare, apple user right? Hmmm, u call them idiots and moron for their knee jerk action!
    Its like calling urself and the guy who posted this problem previously and millions who bought thme as morons and idiots and stupid!
    Its their right to ask for a better product when spend that much money for hype phone, u can sit on ur 100$ billion pile of cash but not with these kind of responses¡ Lens flare, antenna gate, scratches out of the box and many more to continue…

  • minimalist1969

    …The reason why so called knee jerk responses happen with Apple products is the simple fact that Apple denies, denies, denies any possible issue, failure or wrong doing until the ground swell forces them to. iP4 Antenna problems, real or perceived, iP5 nicks, scratches and defects in physical appearance, real or perceived and now the flare issue, real or perceived.

    Perhaps if Apple would actually accept their products are not perfect and for the price point they charge consumers do have a right to demand higher and better of them…

    So crazy, uniformed speculation and general foaming at the mouth over a completely trumped up (non)issue is justified because Apple has done some other unrelated stuff some people didn’t like? How about people taking some personal responsibility for their uninformed (and completely unnecessary) little freak outs?

    Lens flare affects all cameras. Many other cameras produce purple flares (some produce blue, some producr white, etc). None of this information is hard to find or new.

  • Sam Parmenter

    I am a little surprised that a lot of people that have had all iPhones have suddenly decided to complain about this issue now. I have a 4S and have never noticed it till I saw it on a friends iPhone 5 so I would have thought there is an issue..

  • Maksim Petrov

    This is definitely a genuine problem, i have personally experienced it. Pull your apple fanatic head out of your ass, you cant deny that their products have been having serious problems for years. There are number of real problems with the iphon5, and this is definitely one of them.
    Apple is a money making machine, they take into account problems, and calculate which will make more profit. Fixing the problem for end product, which will may cost a lot of money. Or sell the product as is, and count on fanatics to blindly buy the product.

    Here is an actual sample photo i just took, clearly demonstrating the lens issue – and no its not just good old lens flare. http://i.imgur.com/3wJgg.jpg – you can try this yourself, target the lens at very edge of the light source and you will see similar results every time. Even when taking photos of direct sunlight, the lens flare is 5-10x worse then its supposed to be – comparing to other flagship phones with similar cameras.

    Theres also a real problem with out of the box chipped paint on aluminum. Personally experienced this, as did one of my mates.

    Tho i do admit, that overall iphone5 is still the best smart-phone on the market. But after 2 years of using android, IOS seems lacking alot of utilities that i found useful and time saving. IOS is outdated, there is no denying that. They really need to up the game within couple years, android is already breathing down the neck. They have improved it hugely over couple years, and the latest version is really close to IOS on smoothness and stability.
    Also we havent seen anything cool and innovative on hardware part, and other manufacturers are basically outdoing iphones on hardware already. Design and “cool” materials is the only thing iphone hardware has going for it nowdays.

    IF apple keeps on this jerking, and dosent up their game im afraid this will be my last iphone.

  • MrsCleaver

    All good comments and information in this thread. But everything having been said so far, I’ll add these few observations:

    1. I’ve shot with some of the best cameras for years, both SLR and rangefinders, including many years with a Leica M4 and practically every Leitz lens made, and NEVER experienced purple lens flair. Certainly lens flare can be a problem depending on the situation, and that’s why sun shades were created. But NEVER a purple flare.

    2. I’ve shot with most brands of compact cameras, my recent favorites being Canon S95 and now S100. I’ve never seen a purple lens flare in any photo. The CCD model (S95) occasionally has trouble with bright lights when taking movies, but not stills. Never a purple flare.

    3. I’ve shot thousands of photos with both an iPhone 3G and 3GS, and never experienced a purple lens flare.

    4. My new iPhone 5 takes wonderful, nicely saturated, colorful and sharp photos. However, if any bright light source is even near the frame, there is a purple lens flare that renders most photos useless, or at least makes me recompose in a way I might not desire.

    The iPhone purple flare is real and it is not easy to deal with in every situation. It may affect *some* types or brands of cameras, but certainly not all, as some reports have stated. For my part, the iP5 is the first camera I’ve noticed having the problem.

    Maybe it will be improved or fixed with a future software update.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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