dpreview, a publication renowned for its excellent and thorough reviews of cameras, has put the iPhone 5 through its paces and found that it really is an outstanding camera. In particular, dpreview notes that the iPhone 5 shines in low light, and is matched only by the Lumia 920, which is actually currently unavailable. Low light performance was the only area which saw a dramatic improvement over the 4S, as the sensors are similar – though not identical – enough to make well sunlit shots almost indistinguishable.
Regarding the well-publicized “purple haze” issue supposedly affecting the iPhone 5, dpreview says the following:
The primary way that lens manufacturers prevent lens flare is to coat the glass elements in an anti-reflective coating. The iPhone 5′s lens elements are coated, but we don’t know if the coatings are identical to those used in the iPhone 4S’s lens. Maybe the sapphire glass has to be coated differently – we don’t know. And we won’t know, unless Apple releases a more in-depth statement about the technology.
Really, our advice is not to worry. Just do what you should do anyway, and avoid putting bright lights near the edge of the frame when shooting.
In their tests, the iPhone 5 did have an ever-so-slight “purple” flare when a bright source of light was put in the foreground, with a very dark background making up most of the image. While this type of image is particularly popular in a low-light setting, dpreview also noted that nearly every device has this same issue. The iPhone 5, however, did seem to exhibit it slightly more severely than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. Regardless, it’s not a deal-breaker, and images produced that are affected by the purple haze issue are still totally useable.