How Samsung’s Space Zoom Moon Photos May Be Deceptive, Reddit User’s Investigation Sparks Controversy
Samsung‘s Space Zoom feature has been a highlight of the company’s flagship smartphones since the release of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. If we look at Samsung’s launch events from the past few years, we can clearly see how their camera zoom is marketed as a breakthrough feature. Well, it now appears that the whole thing may be built on nothing but lies.
Samsung’s 100x Zoom and Moon Shots
We all remember MKBHD‘s video from February where he showcased the S23 Ultra‘s zoom capabilities. That video alone managed to snag over 314K likes (at the time of this writing), even surprising Elon Musk. If you don’t know what this video was about, take a look down below.
With people closely examining the photographic capabilities of the S23 Ultra, it seems as if there is something fishy going on underneath the hood.
Is Samsung ‘Cheating’ on Space Zoom With AI?
With 100x digital zoom, Samsung’s S23 Ultra promises the ability to take stunning pictures of the moon and other distant objects. However, a recent Reddit post has sparked controversy by claiming that Samsung is “cheating” on space zoom moon photos using artificial intelligence.
The post argues that moon photos taken with the space zoom of Samsung’s flagship smartphones are not real, but instead are a feat of ad trickery.
The user tested the effect by downloading a high-resolution image of the moon, downsizing it to a 170×170 resolution image, and applying Gaussian blur to make any final details unclear of its surface.
They then showed the low-res blurry moon at full screen on their monitor, walked to the other end of their room, zoomed in on the fake celestial body and took a photograph. After some processing, an image of the moon was produced by the smartphone, but the surface had considerably more detail than the preview on the phone.
The user believes that Samsung is leveraging an AI model to put craters and other details in places where there were only blurry messes before. While super-resolution processing uses multiple images to recover otherwise lost detail, this seems to be something different.
The user concludes that Samsung’s marketing is deceptive and that it is the AI doing most of the work, not the optics. The optics aren’t even capable of resolving the detail that you see.
The Issue Has Previously Been Highlighted in 2021
This issue isn’t only with the S23 Ultra, or so it seems. Digging a bit further, the Reddit user claims to have found that something similar was observed with the S21 Ultra, and so, it looks as if Samsung had got away with that one. This is the article from MSPoweruser, in case you want to learn more about the whole issue.
It is strange that not a lot of people had noticed this for almost three long years, but then again, how many of us can clearly see the moon? We’re just impressed by how the final result turns out to be.
What This Means for the Future of Smartphone Industry
When it came to smartphones that people really trusted, Samsung was somewhere near the top. However, this trickery may cost the company in the future, and it’s not just Samsung.
If this controversy reaches a large number of people, consumers may start questioning the marketing of their favorite smartphone brands. If someone like Samsung can do it, what’s stopping the others?
The Issue with Computational Photography
While this controversy may seem like a minor issue, it highlights the growing use of artificial intelligence in photography. We all love good looking images, but there is a thin line, across which its simply deception.
All smartphone cameras rely heavily on software-based processing, and AI processing techniques are being applied to images from smartphone cameras across the entire mobile industry. Even some of the best players in the game, Apple and Google Pixel lean towards computational photography to improve the quality of images from its cameras.
People may think that using AI to process photos taken with smartphone cameras is a good thing in general, but odd cases like this one may make people who care about photography as an art form think twice.
It’s not clear yet if this short investigation will lead to a deeper look at how AI is used in photography, however as of now, we haven’t heard anything from Samsung.
Does This Controversy Make Samsung the ‘Bad Guy’?
While Samsung’s use of AI in space zoom moon photos may be a controversial topic, it is important to remember that all smartphone cameras rely heavily on software-based processing. Even the iPhone and Pixel’s much-loved cameras use AI processing to enliven their images.
The controversy highlights the growing role of artificial intelligence in photography and may trigger closer scrutiny of its use in the future. As for the consumers, it is important to not be carried away by foul marketing tactics.
While this is all that we know as of now, we will make sure to keep you updated as new information becomes available.