When I'm taking pictures of my log fire the flames and embers come out in rich shades of purple rather than red. I've tweaked everything I can on my camera; white balance, metering, ISO, exposure, but nothing makes a difference.

I'm assuming there's some obvious reason for why this is happening but I'm at a loss. Why are my pictures coming out purple?

Using a Sony Xperia Z camera phone

Example of purple embers

  • \$\begingroup\$ is it only fire or all bright and clipped highlights? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2013 at 11:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just fire so far @MichaelNielsen \$\endgroup\$
    – CLockeWork
    Dec 30, 2013 at 14:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I realize this has been solved, but any chance you could post a sample image. I'm really curious what it looks like and it would make it easier for those unfamiliar with the problem to see what's happening. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 30, 2013 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries @AJHenderson, I deleted most of them but I kept the one I've attached as I thought it looked kinda cool :D \$\endgroup\$
    – CLockeWork
    Dec 30, 2013 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh wow, that's crazy. I've honestly never seen a camera do that before, but then again, I'd be a little upset if my high end DSLR didn't have a good IR filter and I don't think I've ever thought to point my smartphone at a fire before. Now I'm curious to try though. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 30, 2013 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


What you are seeing is Infra-Red (AKA 'IR')

The sensor (probably) has an IR filter, but strong sources such as fire can still get through, and show up as a light purple on most CCD / CMOS sensors.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Darkcat. Is there any way to counter it (short of PhotoShop)? \$\endgroup\$
    – CLockeWork
    Dec 30, 2013 at 11:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ not really - the only method i can think of is to find some sort of extra IR filter and put it over you lens. You could possibly get one off a dead camera sensor. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2013 at 11:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ that wouldnt fit. on thorlabs and edmundoptics you can find IR cut filters in all sizes mounted and unmounted. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2013 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelNielsen - yes it would, use blu-tak. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2013 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ are you talking about putting in on the sensor or the lens? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2013 at 11:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.