Samsung’s “Space Zoom” feature has become the center of a controversy surrounding photographs of the Moon. In fact, some users on Reddit think the company boosts image quality artificially.
Samsung and the controversy over photographs of the Moon
In 2020, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 Ultra with a 100x zoom function, which remains a selling point even for the company’s newest flagship phones. Ever since its debut of the Galaxy S23, Samsung has been touting its devices’ ability to take impressive photos of the Moon.
However, on Friday a Samsung user on the r/Android subreddit shared a detailed post trying to prove Samsung’s moonshots are fake. Their methodology involved downloading a high resolution image of the moonwhich resizes a soli 170 x 170 pixel. Leveraging the application of a gaussian blur to heavily obscure lunar surface detail.
This low resolution image was then displayed on a monitor and remotely captured by a Samsung Galaxy device. The resulting image had far more detail than its source.
Credit: u/ibreakphotos are Reddit
Samsung devices seem to achieve this effect by applying the machine learning trained on a large number of lunar images, making the purely computational photographic effect.
This has led to allegations that a texture is still functionally applied to images of the moon, and that the function is one false representation of the actual capabilities of the hardware of the camera. This sparked a heated debate online, where they also questioned the iPhone’s reliance on computational photography on Reddit.
But the doubt remains: we’ll see if Samsung will answer the question.