iPhone 5 Features, Release Date: 'Purple Halo Problem' Not As Bad As Reported, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx Have Same Camera Issue, Says Consumer Reports
Not long after Apple released its new iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, consumers began reporting a hazy purple color appearing on the edges of pictures, and videos, an issue the public dubbed the "purple halo problem." In a rare moment of transparency, Apple surprisingly owned up to the problem and recently offered fixes on its website.
All that whining may have been for nothing, though. A new report today indicates the iPhone 5's camera is "no more prone to purple hazing ... than its predecessor, or several Android phones," according to Consumer Reports.
See an example of the "purple halo problem" here
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"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," said Apple in a statement on its website.
"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," the company added.
Consumer Reports -- whose opinions on products are taken quite seriously by many -- agrees wholeheartedly.
"We carried out our tests in response to reports, including those from PCMag.com and DPReview.com, that the iPhone 5 had a tendency to display a distracting purple color over parts of certain shots and videos. In our tests, the phone's camera did indeed display such a haze when we shot into a bright light source in our labs," said Consumer Reports.
"But it didn't do so in any more pronounced a fashion than did the iPhone 4S or two Android-based smart phones, the Samsung Galaxy S III and Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, when we tested those under the same conditions. In the course of our tests, the haze was sometimes purple, but sometimes another color or even a rainbow."
While users may have been confounded by the seemingly inexplicable "purple haze," in reality it's actually a fairly common camera, and smartphone camera issue. Unless you're buying top-tier camera lens', almost everyone can experience this "problem."
"All camera lenses, even those made for expensive SLRs, can yield lens flare, which is produced by scattered reflections inside the lens from a bright light source. How much flare appears in an image depends on how you orient the lens," says Consumer Reports.
"Some expensive advanced cameras, and even many point-and-shoots, have special lens coatings that can limit or eliminate such flare, and possibly associated colored haze. So can attaching a shading hood around the lens's edge. But smart phones' cameras are designed differently, so it's typically more difficult for manufacturers to minimize flare in them."
This evaluation backs up the review Consumer Reports released last week of the iPhone 5 that called the device "a winner," and noted that that the camera was "the best we've seen on a smartphone" apart from the Nokia 808 Pureview.
Consumer Reports said, "Excluding the phenomenal 41-megapixel camera we tested on the Nokia 808, the iPhone 5's 8-megapixel camera is the best we've seen on a smart phone. In the full battery of tests we give to smart-phone cameras, the iPhone 5's camera proved capable of capturing beautifully sharp and vibrant photos"
Fixes for the "purple halo problem"
"It's also pretty easy to minimize by using your hand to shield your phone's lens from the sunlight. You can avoid it altogether by reframing your photo or video whenever a bright light source appears in or near the frame," says Consumer Reports.
You can also try out a variety of lens add-ons, some of which purport to reduce lens-flare.
Apple iPhone 5 Features
Height: 4.87 inches, Width: 2.31 inches, Depth: 0.30 inch, Weight: 3.95 ounces.
4-inch (diagonal) Retina display, 1136-by-640 resolution, 326 ppi, GSM model: GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA model: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n; 802.11n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, 1GB RAM, SoC: A6 Chip, Nano-SIM, three-axis gyro, dual-mic noise suppression, assisted GPS and GLONASS.
Front and back facing cameras:
Front: 1.2MP photos, 720p HD video, Backside illumination sensor;
Back: 8 megapixel Autofocus Tap to focus, LED flash, Backside illumination sensor, Five-element lens, Face detection, Hybrid IR filter, ƒ/2.4 aperture, Panorama,
Video: 1080p HD video recording, 30 fps, Tap to focus while recording, LED light, Improved video stabilization, Take still photos while recording video, Face detection.