Samsung is Faking Space Photography on S23 Ultra

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According to an investigation by a Reddit user, moon photographs captured using the “Space Zoom” feature on Samsung’s flagship phones may just be some AI trickery after all, rather than a proper space photo.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, just like its predecessors, has a rear camera with an exceptionally high level of zoom. For 100x magnification, the camera combines 3x and 10x telephoto cameras with digital zoom supported by Samsung’s AI Super Resolution technology to capture images of distant subjects.

This “Space Zoom” feature has led users to capture photos of the moon. However, a Reddit user claims that the level of detail in these moon shots may only be due to software manipulation.

In a post on the Android subreddit, user “u/ibreakphotos” declared that Samsung’s Space Zoom “moon shots are fake” and presented evidence to support this claim through an experiment.

The Experiment

To prove his claim, the Redditor downloaded a high-resolution image of the moon and downscaled it to a 170 x 170 resolution image, and applied a blur on it to trick the S23 Ultra’s camera. He then took a picture of this blurry low resolution moon photo from the other end of the room.

After some heavy image processing, the camera attempted to create a proper highly detailed photo of the actual moon even from the blurry mess of a photo. This was the result:

The Reddit user speculated that:
Samsung is leveraging an AI model to put craters and other details on places that were just a blurry mess. This is a case where you have a specific AI model trained on a set of moon images, in order to recognize the moon and slap the moon texture on it.
In this way, the AI is doing most of the work and not the camera hardware. Regardless, the experiment proves that the phone is trained to create a detailed image of the moon out of anything, even if it’s not the actual moon.

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