Mashable and other outlets are reporting that there may be a problem with the camera of the new iPhone 5. When pointing the camera at the sun or other extremely bright light source, a purple “haze” appears in the image around the light source.
It’s something that I missed in my review of the iPhone 5’s camera because I generally don’t point any lens at the sun. When I do, I expect (or hope for) bokeh, lens flares and other chromatic aberrations in the image.
But I’m glad Mashable does.
It’s an optical effect called purple fringing or PF. According to Wikipedia, “In photography, and particularly in digital photography, purple fringing (sometimes called PF) is the term for an out-of-focus purple or magenta “ghost” image on a photograph. This defect is generally most visible as a coloring and lightening of dark edges adjacent to bright areas of broad-spectrum illumination, such as daylight or various types of gas discharge lamps.” You can read more here, but the explanation is long and dry.
Some are suggesting that this may be the iPhone 5’s “Antennagate.” I say hooey. Weird and sometimes wonderful things happen when you aim a modern camera sensor at the sun, especially one of the small sensors of a mobile phone. This isn’t the first iPhone with a chromatic aberration. The 5MP camera of the original iPhone 4 had some great signature bokeh that would often appear when the camera was pointed at a bright light source.
I haven’t experienced the Purple Haze (on my iPhone…), but other forums are ablaze. For me, the iPhone 5 has been a remarkable camera under a wide variety of shooting conditions and has exceeded my admittedly subdued expectations.
Matthew Panzarino on The Next Web says that other cameras and phones can exhibit the same aberration, including the much-revered camera of the iPhone 4S. He has a great story on why this isn’t a story. Click to read it, “The iPhone 5?s camera “suffering” from ‘purple haze’ flaw? Not so fast”.
Looks like the iPhone 5 has it’s signature aberration….