Samsung’s Space Zoom feature for its Galaxy phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, has recently been the subject of heated debate after allegations emerged that the software process involves fabricating additional detail in moon photos. In response to the allegations, Samsung released an official statement denying the claims and explaining the technology behind their AI-based Scene Optimizer.
Samsung refutes claims of fake Moon photos
According to Samsung, when a user takes a photo of the moon, the Scene Optimizer recognizes the moon as the main object and takes multiple shots for multi-frame composition. AI then enhances the details of the image quality and colors, without applying any image overlaying to the photo. Users have the option to deactivate the AI-based Scene Optimizer if they wish, but doing so will disable automatic detail enhancements.
Samsung’s blog post explains that the moon shots rely on deep learning-based AI technology to eliminate noise and enhance image details, rather than copying and pasting extra detail not captured by the camera. The post acknowledges the Reddit controversy and states that Samsung continues to improve the Scene Optimizer to reduce any potential confusion between taking a picture of the real moon and an image of the moon.
The ongoing debate raises questions about the line between real and artificial photography. Digital photos are inherently artificial, as they involve guesswork during the demosaicing and interpolation processes. With the addition of multi-frame processing and AI sharpening, the extent of artificiality increases. The key question is whether Samsung’s moon shots have become entirely detached from the act of capturing photons.
While Samsung denies overlaying previous moon images on new shots, the acceptability of its AI-based processing remains a matter of individual opinion. The debate is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, but it highlights the growing influence of AI algorithms in modern photography and the evolving perceptions of what constitutes a “real” photograph.