Consumer Reports Sees a Purple Haze in iPhone and Android Devices

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Last Wednesday, Consumer Reports revealed that Apple’s iPhone 5 is not the only smartphone affected with the “purple haze.” This defect is also present on Android devices.

After reports about the purple flare surfaced, the consumer advocacy group did a series of tests using the camera of Apple’s latest smartphone. The results showed that the iPhone 5 did display a haze when taking photos in bright light, although it is no more pronounced with the handset than with other devices.

In fact, the same issues were found on iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Motorola Droid Razr Maxx. The tests also revealed that the haze was sometimes purple, while it appears in a different color at other times. There were also images showing rainbow flare.

All devices were tested under the same conditions in Consumer Reports lab. As stated by consumer advocacy group:

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.

Purple Haze—Common to Miniaturized Devices

A few days after iPhone 5 was released, users noted the purple haze issue online. Some even speculated that the chromatic aberration is caused by a defect within the phone. However, further investigations revealed that it is a common issue that occurs in many modern digital camera—even the miniaturized mobile phones.

It was followed by a support document posted by Apple titled as “iPhone: Camera Image Effects.” The document addresses the issue, as well as noted that the issue is present in every generation of iPhone. In relation to this, the support document offered a resolution.

Possible Solutions for Chromatic Aberration

Consumer Reports acknowledged that the problem can be annoying, but it also pointed out that the issue is not something that can affect most photos. Thus, users are advised to minimize the presence of bright light on their images by shielding their phone’s camera lens from sunlight.

Users can also opt for an apochromatic lens to solve the chromatic aberration found on iPhone 5 photos. However, this system can be expensive and bulky because of the array’s additional glass elements.

The aspherical lens is another way to compensate the purple fringing. It is usually designed to reform light and achieve more accurate focus, although it can be expensive because of the required procedure to manufacture the glass.

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