How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 409

Why do people in flash pictures have "red eye"? How do cameras try to solve that problem?
When light from the flash illuminates people's eyes, that light focuses onto small spots on their retinas. Most of the light is absorbed, by a small amount of red light reflects. Because the lens focused light from the flash onto a particular spot on the retina, the returning light is focused directly back toward the flash. The camera records this returning red light and eyes appear bright red. To reduce the effect, some flashes emit an early pulse of light. People's pupils shrink in response to this light and allow less light to go into and out of their eyes. Professional photographers often mount their flashes a foot or more from the lens so that the back-reflected red light that returns toward the flash misses the lens.

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