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iPhone 4 LED Flash – Apple’s Biggest Camera Blunder?

Remember the days when every low light photo you took of your friends (with the flash on) had red eyes? Well the camera companies quickly addressed that issue, and nowadays you’d be hard pressed to find a camera that doesn’t have red-eye reduction. So what about mobile phones? More and more smartphones now include cameras with on-body flash, which is really useful if you want to snap a few photos of people when you’re in a dimly lit situation – of course you’ll still occasionally have to contend with red-eyed photos. It’s just one of those things that photographers are always grappling with…right?


Example of White Eye
Photo by Anu2008

So in June 2010, when Apple released the iPhone 4 with an LED Flash, fans of iPhone photography went mad for it. At last – a flash on the iPhone!
BUT after taking just a few shots in low light with the iPhone – it became pretty clear that there was a new and unusual problem with photos taken using the LED flash…white eyes! WHAT THE…? You may have noticed it, although you still occasionally get red eyes, now there’s the problem of white eyes too! White eye photos are as the description suggests – where the center, or pupil of the eye is made to look white as a reflection of the flash. So what are iPhone users supposed to do now?

Well, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June 2011, Apple announced many serious and much needed firmware updates for the iPhone, with iOS 5 coming in the fall of 2011. They’re making some huge improvements to the camera, and one of the updates they mentioned was red-eye reduction. Um…hello…what about white eye reduction then? As of now, the only options iPhone users have are 1) take low light photos with LED flash on and create demonic style portraits of our normally very nice friends. Or 2) don’t use the flash.

Not really ideal.


White Eye Photo Taken with iPhone 4
Photo by Guy Yang

So what’s the rumor mill saying about white eye reduction then? Is this something you would like to see addressed with iOS5? Do you think Apple will come up with a solution or will some bright spark come up with an app to fix it? Surely, if red-eye can be reduced, white eye can too? Time will tell…


9 Responses to “iPhone 4 LED Flash – Apple’s Biggest Camera Blunder?”

  1. I face the same issue while taking my new year family outing pics. Plz help me with a solution.

    • Manisha
    • Reply
    • Hello Manisha, on the iPhone 4S, I use Magic Eye Color Effect to Remove white eyes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magic-eye-color-effect-eye/id439588603?mt=8

      It works well with dark eyes. Have not tried it with light-colored eyes yet. The app is a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it (after 5 to 10 minutes), it works well.

      • Guy Yang
  2. The flash either leaves a halo or white eyes. I paid a lot to upgrade from. The iphone 3 and am disappointed!

    • Al
    • Reply
  3. I can relate to this ,I also experience same situation while celebrating our family day and taking pics for the affair.I am totally disgusted with the outcome of the pictures my friends eyes were all white.

    • Greg Bersabal
    • Reply
  4. This makes me SO upset! I wish I didn’t even upgrade my phone. They have to come up with aa solution to this. This is the first time I’ve been truly disappointed in an apple product. Come on already! Get this issue addressed!!!!

    • Amy Fox
    • Reply
  5. I have the same problem and my pictures are horrible. Even with no flash, the pictures are dark and fuzzy. I took the phone to the Apple store and the “genuis” (really?) said, “Well, the flash is really not a camera flash. There isn’t anyting to do but read the specs on the camera.”

    • Trish
    • Reply
  6. This is a horrible problem. I have so many wonderful photos with this effect and they are useless. This must be fixed by Apple. Anyone have an app or anything other than Photoshop that can deal with this? Terrible flaw. Worthless flash.

    • Anne MacDonald
    • Reply
    • Totally agree! SO frustrating!!!

      • Amy Fox

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