It wouldn't be an iPhone launch without some kind of controversy, it just wouldn't. (Un)luckily for Apple, the iPhone 5
is no exception. It has a tendency to scratch way too easily
, and is also prone to mucking up brightly lit photos with a purple haze. In a private email exchange
with one of its iPhone 5 customers, Apple
called the built-in camera's behavior in such situations "normal" and suggested angling it away from the light source. Now Apple has addressed the issue publicly.
A new support document on Apple's website acknowledges that photos taken with iPhones may exhibit "a purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot" when there's a bright light source off to the side. Apple's 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," Apple explains. "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."
Apple was careful not to call out the iPhone 5 specifically, even though that's the only iPhone model exhibiting the unwanted behavior. Comparison photos around the web show that the iPhone 4S and cameras like the Nikon D300 don't suffer the same effect as the iPhone 5's built-in camera. It's widely believed the reason for the purple haze is because of the sapphire glass covering the iPhone 5's camera, and not an actual defect with the optics inside.