Samsung’s Moon Shots Force Us to Ask How Much AI Is Too Much IG News

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Have you heard of the lunar conspiracy theory? No, not about the moon landing. It’s about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and the theory is it photographs the Moon, creating images that are far more detailed than the camera can actually capture.

Is it true? The reality is a bit more complicated than a pure yes or no answer. And the closer you look, the more you can tell whether or not a photo is “real,” a question you can ask of most photos taken with a phone.

moon digit land

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Moongate saga began when Reddit user ibreakphotos posted about his own experiments with moon photography. He claims that when one shoots the moon using the phone’s super-extended hybrid zoom mode, Samsung effectively puts a lunar texture on the images.

Samsung denies this. We reached out to the company to get the official line: “Samsung is committed to delivering the best-in-class photo experience in any situation. When a user takes a picture of the Moon, AI-based scene optimization technology makes the Moon the main object.” and takes multiple shots for a multi-frame composition, after which the AI ​​enhances the image quality and detail of colors. It does not apply any image overlaying to the photo. User can deactivate the AI-based scene optimizer which will disable automatic detail enhancement in any photos taken.

Creating a single image from multiple exposures is at the heart of computational photography. But, as ibreakphotos proved, there’s a lot more going on here. Samsung’s fake moon photo controversy shows that some of the user testing was pretty smart. A picture of the Moon was blurred, and displayed at a distance, placing a strict ceiling on how much detail would be possible to capture, regardless of the quality of the camera’s optics.

However, the image from the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra still gives the impression of having a lot more detail than the source image being captured. The effect is dramatic in his sample images.

This test, to no surprise, has been repeated elsewhere since the eruption of this full moon issue. For example, famous YouTuber Marques Brownlee tried it out, and found that his results were by no means as dramatic as ibreakphotos on Reddit, but they were there. Mobile photography content creator Shayne Mostyn’s results sat somewhere in between the two.

Moon travels in circles?

Some happening here. But this isn’t the “caught” scoop that some parts of the internet might have you believe, as the issue has come up before.

Samsung introduced its Moon Mode processing two years ago with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, as it introduced us to the company’s 10x zoom camera and 100x hybrid “Space Zoom”. Its successor, the S21 Ultra, with even better zoom, was accused of fake photos, leading the input to cross-check itself, and it pretty much led to the same conclusions we see today. The Galaxy S21 Ultra did a little more than your standard image processing when shooting the moon.


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