Samsung is under fire right now surrounding its claims that the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra‘s camera is so powerful, it can zoom all the way into the moon and take a somewhat detailed image of it. The feature is called Space Zoom, which allows the phone up to 100x digital zoom. Leading to some interesting photos that have been making their way around the internet.
I have been using the S23 Ultra for around a month now and have taken notice of some of the images the phone is capable of at full zoom. Taking impressive images of building and other landmarks that are miles away just to see how well the digital zoom does.
Each time, as soon as you take the image, the phone takes a moment before saving it as you can clearly see that it is processing the image for enhancement somehow. The end result turning out a little better than the initial image on the screen. Although half the time, the end result may contain various discrepancies due to mistakes made by the artificial enhancement being done to the time.
It appears that this is exactly what it is doing for anyone taking images of the moon and more. The initial image is mostly a blur (although you’d think it was still impressive when you consider how much detail you are getting out of such a tiny little sensor and digital zoom). However, then it processes the image using some form of AI enhancement and walla, you now have a detailed image of the moon (for a phone). This seems pretty cool, right?
The problem with this, is if this were exactly how it was being down, it would mean that it is mostly artificially enhanced. Therefore, it is fake. However, it seems to go much further than that. As a Reddit user by the name of ibreakphotos has posted his findings that these images are actually (potentially) stolen from a high-res image of the moon. Claiming that the company simply blurred the image down to make it look like the phone is straining to see the moon, then loading a less blurry image that is supposed to be the final result. But when you take all of the blur effects away, you realize it looks exactly like the hi-res stock photo.
His presentation of the facts are very well laid out with as much proof as one could hope for. Including blurring the hi-res photo down to various levels to show how it matches exactly.
This fell in line with my exact suspicions as there was no way this tiny little sensor with no optical zoom is almost out-performing my high-end DSLR and it’s $1,000 lens (that has plenty of optical zoom). I know, no matter what, that the image was being faked one way or another and said we should put it side by side with the DSRL or even a telescope to see what the current position of the moon really looks like vs what the phone was claiming the result was.
Now, we don’t even have to do that as everyone else is already rushing to do the same now that the cat is out of the bag.
All of this being said, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still an amazing phone with some pretty impressive specs. The 200MP camera is a little overkill due to the size of the sensor, so you aren’t getting the most out of those 200MP, but it still leads to an impressive image. The video capabilities of the phone are incredibly nice as well. It’s a powerful flagship that does well for securing Samsung’s position within the market. It’s just unfortunate that the company still thinks that it needs to deceive people about its capabilities.