iPhone 5 defective camera thread (purple flare)

Discussion in 'All Things Apple' started by Kaido, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Update: (7-Oct-2012) Official Apple response: You're holding it wrong:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4436?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    Another sample pic of the purple flare via CNET:

    http://asset2.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/10/07/photo_%2817%29_610x413.jpg

    Update: Official Apple response from Engineering:

    1. This is normal (the excessive purple flare)
    2. Don't point it at bright light sources, if you don't want purple haze

    :( Even worse, this doesn't just happen when you point it at bright light sources. Here's a picture on a rainy, overcast day with no direct sunlight - notice the light purple haze on the right side: (my 4S doesn't do this)

    http://i.imgur.com/MEVqF.jpg

    Welcome everyone!

    This is a thread discussing the issue of excessive purple light flare on the iPhone 5. It has been determined that many cameraphones, including the iPhone 4S, share the problem of purple haze around bright light sources, especially when those bright light sources are just barely off-screen. The problem is that the iPhone 5 exhibits more light bloom with a purple tint than other phones, to the point where it is affecting image quality. Here are some comparison examples:

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/180c7n48voye9jpg/original.jpg

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-506374b0/turbine/la-fi-tn-iphone-5-camera-purple-20120926-001/600

    The question is: Why is it so much worse on the iPhone 5?

    ******************************

    Edit 2: Note - don't just point your iPhone 5 at a bright light. The bright light has to be OFF-SCREEN for the effect to happen (the majority of the time, anyway). And it needs to be fairly bright - the sun, a lamp, etc. This is a fairly specific issue with results that you can easily replicate if your iPhone 5 has this issue. And please report your status/results. Thank you!

    Edit: It seems like a lot of iPhone 5's have this problem. For those just coming in, please do the following:

    1. Aim your iPhone 5 camera towards a bright light source (CFL, incandescent, sun)
    2. Move the camera so the light source is off-screen (especially on the shorter sides of the screen)
    3. See if you experience a purple halo - either flare or haze (see sample pictures below)

    Please report in if you have this issue (or if you don't, we'd like to know that too!) on your iPhone 5.

    ***************************

    I am having an issue with my iPhone 5's camera, where I get purple flare/haze when a bright light source (such as a lamp or the sun) is just off-camera. In addition, the 5's screen displays purple colors more brightly than a computer screens, so it looks even more prominent on the phone itself. Here is a crop & enhance of the problem: (a window with daylight coming in is just off-camera)

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/sVGVkz99

    Purple flare off a work lamp: (right corner)

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/z1SxJac8

    Purple haze off the sun:

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/C4HD6OxG

    Purple sun flare:

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/RrcVXaSN

    Slight purple haze off a tree:

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/57j8b6px

    I have confirmed this issue on five iPhone 5's so far, including both the black & white model.

    Testing procedure:
    1. Aim your iPhone 5 camera at a bright light source
    2. Move the camera so that the light source is just off-screen
    3. See if the purple flare happens

    It seems to happen the most off bright lamps and the sun. Not as bad on LED lighting or florescent lighting. I do get mild purple haze off my LCD computer monitors (2 tested). I take a lot of of photos and video with my iPhone and this is a really annoying problem for me. I haven't seen much on the web reported about it, but I've confirmed the issue on multiple phones, so I know it's not just me. I'm guessing it's related to the new Sapphire Crystal change from glass, but perhaps it's software-related to related to making the iPhone 4S's camera lens thinner.

    Please post your results if you have an iPhone 5 (definitely doesn't happen on my 4S) after testing indoors & outdoors, thanks!
     
    #1 Kaido, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  2. Kabob

    Kabob Lifer

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    Hrm, just checked with overhead florescent lighting in my workplace and got a tiny bit, when the sun comes up I'll test it outside.
     
    #2 Kabob, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  3. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Also, as long as I'm complaining ;) Here's some more problems I'm having with the 5's camera:

    1. They changed the noise from speckles to smearing. I really don't care for this. I can hide the speckled noise with a film grain app, or with a de-noising app, but the smearing just looks messed up. I think it makes the overall picture look a bit better, but if you crop ("zoom") the picture to get a certain section for your photo, it becomes really apparent. Bleh.

    2. Exposure blows out waaaaay too easily. Taking a picture of someone next to a bright window, for example, either results in them being extremely dark and the background with the correct colors, or a completely blow-out, all-white window with the person in semi-good color exposure. If I'm outdoors and don't nail the focus on the person, their colors get totally messed up. The 4S takes the same shot far better and does the colors correctly, even if the exposure isn't perfect. This is definitely a step down in the camera department.

    3. Focus is faster in most cases, but I have some issues with it. First off all, it seems to have a lot of trouble locking onto to subjects. Second, half the time it will re-focus after I've set the focus, and my subject will be out of focus in the split-second it takes me to press the camera button to take the picture. Not a huge deal since you can lock AE/AF on the stock camera app by holding it for a few seconds, but I liked how the 4S did focus a lot better (I have a 1-year-old who does NOT stay still lol). Plus I'm forced to wait for my camera apps to update (i.e. Camera+) so that I can just move the focus box around without having to wait a few seconds for a manual lock. Here's a sample shot, where I focused on the berries, but it switched focus to the leaves in the time it took to move my finger from the focus box to the camera button:

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/1IOw3yeT

    4. The viewfinder shows a crop of your final image. You are only seeing part of the image you will capture because the phone is widescreen and the final image is not that wide (black bars on the sides in preview). This is annoying because you will frame an image perfectly, take it, and then have to crop it to get that same image back - there are more pixels being captured on the top & bottom of the image than you see on the screen. I'm hoping Camera+ and the other apps will show you a 1:1 preview instead of a zoomed/cropped preview.

    5. The iPhone 5's screen is over-saturated. In addition to the prominent purple color, I have to super over-saturate my photos in editing apps to get them to appear normal on a computer screen. They are nowhere near as vivid on a computer monitor as they are on the iPhone screen, even with the brightness turned down. On the 4S, I had a pretty good idea of what the image would look like, but on the 5, it is just not that accurate.

    6. More of a hardware complaint really - the onboard storage is just as slow as the 4S. So now I can edit pictures really fast (Camera+ & PhotoFX are wicked fast now!), but saving edited images still takes forever. I'm guessing this is probably why they didn't go to a 12-megapixel camera...it would have taken forever to save pictures lol. I'm sure we'll see a dual-channel upgrade or something in the 5S or whatever.

    7. I get a lot more blurry pictures now. It's better in low-light, but it seems more prone to movement/hand-shake. May be related to the focus issue. Here's a sample shot, hand-held, with it in "focus":

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/xy7tFlhi

    I am pondering the idea of going back to the 4S. I take a lot of photos and also shoot a lot of video on my iPhone - I use it for my hobby photography, for my family photographer, and as my work camera. Really my biggest complaint is the purple flare, which is somewhat avoidable if I adjust the angle of the camera. I considered returning the 5, but since I've confirmed these issues with other iPhone 5's, that seems kind of pointless unless I just want to downgrade to the 4S.
     
    #3 Kaido, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  4. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Not that it probably matters, but have tested on both AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5 models. Same purple flare.
     
  5. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Seeing more of this problem at work. So far everyone's iPhone 5's have the same issue when we compare side-by-side, and the three 4S's we tried do not have this issue at the same light source.
     
  6. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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  7. ControlD

    ControlD Diamond Member

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    Maybe it has something to do with that fancy sapphire lens cover. Is sapphire blue or purple (colorblind here can't really tell)? Only half serious on the color, but maybe the new lens cover is more prone to flare than the old gorilla glass.
     
    #7 ControlD, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  8. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    That's what I'm thinking - sapphire comes in pretty much all colors but red and pink/orange. I'm assuming they use synthetic sapphire, based on this Wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire#Transparent_and_tough

    I don't think that it's a software issue. I'm hoping it is, though - I'm hoping that it can be fixed with a future patch - but if not, I want to return my iPhone 5 now and not be stuck with it. I average 2,000 shots a month on my iPhone (iPhone photography is one of my main hobbies), so the camera is a really big deal to me. I do like the additional sharpness and low-light capabilities of the 5, but if this is a general design bug on the 5 line, I don't want to be stuck with it until the new revision comes out.
     
  9. FerrelGeek

    FerrelGeek Diamond Member

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    Was thinking of taking the plunge and upgrading, but I'm gonna wait until they get this sorted. Hate the idea of waiting for the 5s or settling for the 4GS.
     
  10. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Confirmed with Apple over the phone, this is a widespread issue. They are researching the root cause. I'll know more next week, hopefully. Edit: To clarify for all those blogs mis-quoting this post - Apple said that they had a lot of calls & complaints in about the purple issue, i.e. widespread as in a lot of people are having it. Apple did not say the words "widespread". Their media outlet did not say widespread. To date, they've said nothing public about it. However, we have had users from NYC to London to Australia report in about having this issue. I'm surprised this is one of the only forums that's reporting it since it seems to be such a common issue. Also, Syringer is awesome :awe:

    Also tested some more iPhones at work. Same problem on all, purple flare/haze.
     
    #10 Kaido, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  11. Kabob

    Kabob Lifer

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    I tested it outside with the sun but didn't get any flare, maybe it wasn't far enough off screen. I'd assume it's hardware-based and can't be fixed but I'll try to remain optimistic.
     
  12. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Yeah I'm hoping they can produce a software-based fix for it. I had a weekend film project scheduled this past weekend for the 5, but had to cancel due to the light bloom issue. Otherwise I'll just have to deal with it, or go back to the 4S. Bummer.
     
  13. Doppel

    Doppel Lifer

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    They already were. Such a widespread issue there's no way QA didn't note it before release but they were unwilling to move schedule.
     
  14. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Yeah, I have a feeling this is going to be Antennagate all over again. Apple press release: "This is just what cameras do. All cameras have this." No...I've taken 20,000+ photos on my 4S, never ONCE had this problem. Here's a couple more shots from tonight, with light sources above the objects:

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/VzCHImH5

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/weaksauce12/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com/IQcoQmMc

    The lighting was awesome for the car shots, but I had to scrap the pics because they are all purple. Both my buddy's 5 and his wife's 5 have the exact same issue too, tested them out side-by-side with a 4S as well. Sigh.
     
  15. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    I was trying to find this problem over at Mac Rumors and couldn't find any related threads. Wonder how isolated it is to a particular batch.
     
  16. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    I can't find much online either. But then I don't know too many people who take 100-200 shots a day on their iPhone lol. I may be in the minority ;)
     
  17. alfa147x

    alfa147x Lifer

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    I couldn't replicate it. Time to for a new phone!
     
  18. Aikouka

    Aikouka Lifer

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    I have the same issue on my Verizon (if that matters) iPhone 5.

    It's pretty easy to test and definitely doesn't require the sun. My room is dark at the moment, and all I did was put the camera to the left of my computer monitor and then move it over toward the monitor. When a monitor is about to enter the field of view, the right side of my screen definitely got a purple hue on it. Interestingly enough... it wasn't nearly as vibrant with my left monitor (ASUS VG278H -- LED Back-Lit) as it was with my right monitor (Dell U2709W -- CFL Back-Lit).

    EDIT:

    I was curious about the focus problem, and just opened up my camera while looking at still objects. It definitely did seem to want to refocus a bit more than necessary. Although, it didn't seem to cause a problem. Unfortunately, I can't recall if what I saw is abnormal compared to my old iPhone 4S, which I don't have anymore.
     
    #18 Aikouka, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  19. DJ Callyman

    DJ Callyman Junior Member

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    Hi guys,

    I went and registered on this forum for the sole purpose of being able to reply to this thread.

    I have the exact same issue (I'm in Sydney, Australia) and have posted details on a forum here.

    I've also reported it to Apple. Interestingly enough, I was told nothing of it being a widespread issue and was asked to send through sample photos so the engineers could take a look. I'm not surprised that it is widespread though as I've been able to replicate it on every iPhone 5 I have gotten hold of.
     
  20. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Yup, LED lights & regular fluorescents seem less prone to it. CFL's, regular bulbs, and the sun are far more suspect.

    As far as the focus goes, I just do the focus trick now - you hold your finger on the object you want to focus on for a few seconds and the box grows bigger and blinks, and then it will say "AF/AE Lock" in small white text at the bottom off the screen and it locks the focus & exposure. So that fixes the issue - the problem is that it takes a few seconds longer than just tap-to-focus, so if you have a moving target or whatever, you can lose the shot (I have a speedy 1-year-old and he's usually out of camera range by the time I lock focus haha).

    Anyway, I don't know what is causing the issue with the purple glare. From the information Apple has given us, they made 3 changes:

    1. Took the 4S's camera and made it thinner
    2. Changed the camera glass to Sapphire Crystal
    3. Changed how the camera operates in software due to the new CPU (enhanced color, focus, etc.)

    So it seems like there are 3 possible culprits:

    1. Making the camera thinner changed the optics and causes the issue
    2. The Sapphire Crystal is causing the issue (seems most likely to me, due to the color issue)
    3. The software/CPU processing is not balancing things right and is causing the color imbalance

    Software problems seems the least likely to me, because it's a haze effect, which seems optical (hardware) to me. Even if the color was changed to white or yellow or whatever through a color balance shift in software, the haze would still exist. We did some testing at work yesterday between a 4S and a couple 5's and didn't experience the same issues at all with the 4S.

    I hate to get so fixated on one particular issue, particularly because I'm starting to feel like I'm whining about it, but the camera is a big deal to me. I do most of the photography at my work for it (group events, meetings, parts, machine tools, etc.) as well as my family photography and hobby photography. The camera was pretty much the sole reason I moved from the 4S to the 5. And it wouldn't be such a big deal if it was just my phone, but every single iPhone 5 that I have physically laid my hands on over the past 4 days has the exact same issue, so I know it's not just mine. Hopefully just a bad batch, but time will tell.
     
  21. ponyo

    ponyo Lifer

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    Kaido, I appreciate your posts on this camera issue. Hopefully news outlet will pickup on this issue and start covering it. Maybe it will cause Apple to issue some sort of software fix to mask it as best they can.
     
  22. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Hey, welcome aboard! :thumbsup:

    Yeah, when I called in, they looked into their complaint database and said there were a ton of calls in about it (but I was on the phone with them a long time, 30 minutes+, and talked to multiple people). So it's not a limited issue. Every single iPhone 5 I've laid my hands on over the past 4 days has had the issue. I'm really hoping that the first batch is just defective and has some quality-control issues (I've seen 3 phones with the "scuffgate" issue - my black one and my friend's 2 white ones) and that we can swap them out with better ones as they come in. I do like the sharpness and low-light better on the 5, so I'd hate to downgrade.
     
  23. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Thanks - yeah it's really weird, I've seen ZERO coverage of it ANYWHERE, despite people doing camera testing and whatnot. But when you follow the procedure (bright light off-camera), pretty much everyone has it. I'm up to 10 or so iPhone 5's tested, they all look the same. Le sigh :(
     
  24. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Just going to throw this in for people doing Google searches on the issue: (since there's not much info available)

    iPhone 5 defective camera
    iPhone 5 glare
    iPhone 5 haze
    iPhone 5 purple
    iPhone 5 magenta
    iPhone 5 bad camera
    iPhone 5 camera problems
    iPhone 5 weird camera

    Also light leaks are now being reported:

    http://www.bgr.com/2012/09/24/iphone-5-light-leak-apple-defect/

    Also people are now receiving iPhones that are scuffed & scratched right out of the box:

    http://www.bgr.com/2012/09/24/iphone-5-scratching-scuffs/
     
  25. VashHT

    VashHT Platinum Member

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    I'll try this today at lunch on mine, I've only taken a couple pics with mine so far and haven't seen this problem. Maybe it's worth reporting to some tech blogs and see if some of them would do a story on it? That might give the issue some more exposure, especially if they can reproduce it on the phones they have.
     
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