Samsung Faked Its Moon Shots: Should We Care?

Published on March 14, 2023

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra reaches for the stars and falls shortCapturing a remarkable image of the moon with a phone is a subject of discussion that delves more into philosophy than into science. This phone has a 10X optical zoom, the highest of any smartphone available. With optical stabilization and additional digital tools, the phone is able to zoom and improve the image. Is the end product an artificial depiction? The answer is a resounding no.

Capturing a remarkable image of the moon with a phone is a subject of discussion that delves more into philosophy than science. This phone has a 10X optical zoom, the highest of any smartphone available. The phone can zoom and improve the image with optical stabilization and additional digital tools. Is the end product an artificial depiction? The answer is a resounding no.

Image: Fernando Astasio Avila/Shutterstock

We attempted to reproduce the method the Reddit post alluded to that could allegedly trick the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but I had no success. There may be multiple causes, but I don’t deem them relevant. Even if it is true that Samsung is doing what the Reddit post states, they have not deceived anyone, and it would be inappropriate to dub the photos ‘phony.’

Let’s begin by discussing the capability Samsung touts, which is not as extensive as one may believe. Samsung never guarantees that individuals can snap a photo of the moon using optical zoom and achieve the results depicted. There is always a bit of a gimmick there. Even though it might not be entirely evident to the user what is occurring when the camera has its 100X digital zoom, it is clear that the image has surpassed the “what you see is what you get” stage.

Scene Optimizer can enhance a picture with extra details

On a forum, a Moderator for Samsung provides more information on the mechanics of the Moon Zoom photos. Since then, this form of improved imaging has been a feature of every Galaxy device. The process involves adding more details and harnessing Artificial Intelligence to optimize the environment. If you prefer to have this feature turned off, Scene Optimization mode can be disabled, which is on by default.

Image: Adam Kovacs/Shutterstock

The resulting shot will not be perfect when you point your 10X lens at the moon. Once you exceed the 10X optical zoom range, the camera performs its unique functions. After getting to 25X digital zoom, the AI of the camera considers the moon to be an achievable photo. Now, it is time to make use of the tricks available. Here are the tricks you get

When shooting, the Galaxy S23 Ultra provides two types of image stabilization to maintain steadiness: digital zoom, which crops the image to enlarge the subject, and optical and digital video stabilization for moon shots.

Using OIS, the lens is shifted to counteract the trembling of the hands. Digital video stabilization, on the other hand, involves taking a much bigger picture than required. The camera then centers on the moon, eliminating all the extra material. The result is a stationary moon in the frame.

It was obvious that the camera possessed magical powers

We were already aware that cell phone cameras have a lot of hidden capabilities. We appreciate those hidden capabilities. Like every phone manufacturer, Samsung employs a camera sensor with much more pixels than it necessitates. The end product would usually be 12MP by default.

Most smartphones have a four times more powerful sensor than average, allowing them to take in data from four pixels to produce a single image. The Galaxy S23 Ultra takes this further by binning up to 16 pixels into one for the finished product.

Whether the last pixel I look at is the average of 16 options or not, I’m not overly concerned. Does digital technology improve the picture? It doesn’t matter to me.

Rather than simply taking pictures, I consider myself a creator of photos. Since I’m not dealing with it, I don’t have to worry about getting the right exposure balance when using film. Instead of treating photography as a sport, I don’t need to wait for a photo to pass the finish line, with only my shooting skill as the determining factor.

Taking pictures that look amazing and that I would like to show off is something I do. Lightroom is the tool I mostly use for editing my shots. I brought out colors that weren’t noticeable before and erased any telephone wires in the way. Additionally, when doing portrait photography, I aim to make the person look as good as possible, even eliminating imperfections or marks.

Rather than just capturing a snapshot of the moon, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is taking a photo of it. It considers the moon’s current phase and enhances the image to show details that can be difficult without superior equipment. Is this deceitful? Of course not! It’s just the moon, after all.

Juliet, from Shakespeare’s works, brings to mind the unchanging beauty of the moon. Not much has changed with the moon’s material composition for thousands of years. Thus, we can clearly see how it looks now, how it did in the past, and how it will look in the future.

This camera really is magic

Taking a picture of the moon may be worthwhile, considering it is over a quarter million miles away. Nonetheless, I am unsure if it should be an ever-so-often photography subject. After all, the moon is not going anywhere or in a constant state of change. A single image could be taken to prove the camera’s capabilities.

It’s unnecessary to take two pictures of the moon when excellent telescopes and skilled photographers can provide a superior image for no cost. You don’t need a second shot from your cell phone – just one is sufficient.

Your initial snapshot of the moon may be appealing. Your subsequent one, however, can be pretty plain. If you take even more pictures of the moon, it is as if you are demonstrating that you exist. See, everyone, I can view the moon similarly to everyone else in this hemisphere.

Do you want to demonstrate your photographic talents? Do you take pleasure in the moon? Would you like to express your admiration for our cosmic companion? Why not compose a poem as an alternative?

Did Samsung do anything wrong?

I found it hard to be angry – I had invested my money into the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so I wanted to ensure Samsung was honest. However, there was no evidence of them promoting moon photographs or astrophotography without making it clear that digital alterations were employed.

To better understand what Samsung is doing with the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s cameras, one must go beyond the surface. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being utilized to add further detail to images, which Samsung is not advertising about the phone. That being said, it is a fact that the camera does produce excellent lunar pictures.

We already know what the Moon looks like – so who cares?

Can the Galaxy S23 Ultra be trusted with its moon photos? No, that’s a ridiculous query since all photography is a replication. That image isn’t the actual moon; it’s a picture. The moon is thousands of miles away, and the 10X zoom lens will be my closest approach to seeing it. If I want to experience the real moon, rock samples at the Smithsonian are my best bet.

To put it differently, Samsung isn’t fabricating the lunar landing, it’s manipulating a photo of the moon. It isn’t incorporating facts that could be real or not. It includes verifiable facts that we’ve been gazing at for centuries.

Should you be upset they faked the images?

If the camera from Samsung distorted reality, I would be highly upset. For instance, if it added a small flag from the moon landing or other unseen aspects, it would greatly infuriate me. If the AI were inaccurate, I would be livid. But since it’s just the moon, the AI can be precise with its extra details, and in this case, I’m content.

I do not desire AI to create a more realistic image that is too close to our world. I would not like the camera to add absent people to my birthday celebration. It should not be able to make someone appear to be grinning when they are not. AI is already capable of making someone look as if they are. If my mobile phone will influence others, it has to be something I decide to switch on, not a hidden AI technique.

I’m paying close attention to the potential of this technology, but so far, I’m not disappointed seeing the super moon shot I achieved. It was real, even though my camera could not take it. This isn’t a change that I would take offense to. It matched my goal of capturing a great image of the moon. The Galaxy S23 Ultra delivered it to me.

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