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Samsung exposed for faking AI-enhanced zoom photos of the moon.

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Samsung’s Moon photos may not be what they seem, as Reddit post exposes heavy image processing blurring the distinction between authentic and fake photography in the age of AI.

Samsung’s “Space Zoom” technology has long been known for its ability to capture intricate photos of the Moon. However, a recent Reddit post shed light on the extensive computational processing that Samsung utilizes. Based on the evidence provided, it’s safe to say that Samsung’s pictures of the Moon are not entirely authentic.

But what does it mean for a photo to be “fake” in this context? It’s a complex question that will only become more convoluted as computational techniques become more integrated into photography. As technology evolves, our definition of what constitutes a fake photo will likely evolve with it, just as it has in the past with the advent of digital cameras, Photoshop, and filters.

Samsung’s Moon photography has been the subject of controversy since the company first introduced its 100x “Space Zoom” feature with the S20 Ultra in 2020. Some critics have accused Samsung of using pre-stored textures and copying them onto Moon images to create a fake sense of detail. However, Samsung has denied these allegations, asserting that their process is more intricate.

In an effort to test the validity of Samsung’s claims, Reddit user u/ibreakphotos created a blurred image of the Moon and then took a photograph of it using a Samsung S23 Ultra. Despite the original image’s lack of detail, the resulting photograph was crisp and highly detailed. This experiment demonstrated that the S23 Ultra artificially added details that were not present in the original image, thereby creating a “fake” Moon.

Samsung Denies Using Image Overlaying or Texture Effects in Moon Photography Process:

In the year 2021, a popular media publication-Input Mag ran an extensive feature examining the accuracy of Samsung’s Moon photographs, specifically those captured by the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, Samsung denied using image overlays or texture effects when taking photos of the Moon, insisting that the process involved AI technology to identify the Moon’s presence. Samsung also revealed that they use a detail-enhancing function to minimize blurs and noise, resulting in more precise images.

Samsung provided some additional information on their process in a blog post, although it was translated from Korean by Google. However, the crucial step of how they transform a blurry Moon image into a clear one was described in vague and unclear terms. Samsung referred to their use of a “detail improvement engine function” that is meant to remove noise and maximize the details of the Moon for a brighter and clearer picture. Despite the emphasis added to these claims, Samsung has failed to provide a clear explanation of what this actually entails, leaving us with more questions than answers.

How Samsung’s “detail improvement engine function” creates controversy over the authenticity of its moon photos:

The general interpretation of Samsung’s process is that it captures blurry details in the original photograph and then upscales them using AI, which is a commonly used technique. However, the recent Reddit tests suggest that Samsung’s process is more intrusive than this, as it creates new details that were not present in the original image. This raises questions about the authenticity of the resulting image.

The concept of “fakeness” in photography is a spectrum rather than a binary, and the standard of “realness” is usually defined by the information received by an optical sensor. While professional photographers can edit this information such as adjusting the colour, exposure, contrast, and so on, the end result is still not considered fake. In the case of Samsung’s Moon photographs, however, the images appear to be more the product of a computational process than optical data. This suggests that they are generated images rather than photos.

As smartphone manufacturers continue to use computational techniques to overcome the limitations of small camera sensors, the distinction between “optically captured” and “software-generated” data in their output is becoming increasingly blurred. This trend is likely to continue, and techniques like Samsung’s “detail improvement engine” may become more widespread. As a result, the definition of “fake” images is likely to become more complex and difficult to define.

While Samsung does not explicitly state that its Moon shots represent all its zoom photography. However, consumers may assume this, so it is worth knowing what the reality is. As photography continues to evolve with more computational techniques, our understanding of what is considered a “real photo” will undoubtedly shift. For now, it’s safe to say that Samsung’s Moon photos fall more on the “fake” side of the spectrum. If you prefer to take a natural photo of the Moon using your Samsung device, you just need to disable the “Scene Optimizer” feature and capture a fuzzy-looking circle in the sky!

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