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Samsung Space Zoom Moon Photos Proven Fake After All

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and have used the camera to zoom into the moon to take a picture, you need to know that the photo you took wasn’t technically real. In fact, Samsung’s AI algorithms on the Galaxy S23 Ultra work their magic to fake the moon you see in your image by replacing mostly everything in the image with fake content.

Samsung calls this feature “Space Zoom”. It has been around for a while now and allows compatible devices to zoom in up to 100x in order to snap photos of things really far in the distance. The quality of these super-zoomed photos leaves a lot to be desired but for some reason, whenever you take a photo of the moon while using the Super Zoom, it looks a lot better than everything else snapped at 100x zoom.

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The reason why these moon photos are better is that they are fake. Samsung’s computational techniques implemented into the phone’s SoC (system on a chip) run a bunch of enhancements to replace details on the image you took with something else. However, this scenario isn’t as simple as slapping a moon photo on top of the one you took. Samsung’s phones are leveraging an AI model of the moon in order to place the craters and other details which you see onto your photo.

This is done thanks to the 100s of Moon images which Samsung trains its AI to understand. So when you’re zooming into the moon, the AI will detect the time of day, the position of the moon on that exact day of the year you’re snapping the photo on and produce an image in its databank depending on this information. The phone will even colour the moon to match the version you have in the sky that night.

In some cases, a photo you take of the moon isn’t your photo at all but instead, an image concocted by Samsung’s AI. All you’re doing is pointing your camera at the moon so the computational techniques detect it is a moon and get to work adding all the fake details which you’re excited to share on Instagram.

Samsung Fake Moon Photos

This fake moonery was discovered by Reddit user ibreakphotos who fiddled around with blurred images of the moon across different scenarios. Every time he zoomed into a round white ball, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra simply turned it into a moon. Craters and all.

In one case, the user experimented with an image of half a moon only for the phone to create a full fake moon picture as a result. If you turn off the setting called “scene optimizer” in the camera app, this fakery stops. It seems that while this setting doesn’t list “adds a fake moon to your photos” it does in fact do just that.

Samsung has stated in the past that its computational camera techniques don’t add any extra details to the moon photos whatsoever. Instead, the company claims it uses AI to detect the moon’s presence and “then offers a detail-enhancing function by reducing blurs and noises.” The company even published a long blog post to try and explain how this system works.

If you want to see how this fake moon story works, you can watch the video down below by YouTuber Marques Brownlee who runs through the process and tests out the space zoom. You can also read the entire report by ibreakphotos here.

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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