Samsung’s Moon Shots Force Us to Ask How Much AI Is Too Much

Samsungs MoonShots
Samsungs MoonShots

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Moongate saga began when Reddit user ibreakphotos posted about their own experiments with moon photography. Their claim is that when someone shoots the moon using the phone’s super-extended hybrid zoom mode, Samsung effectively puts a lunar texture on the images.

This is something Samsung denies. We reached out to the company to get the official line: “Samsung is committed to delivering best-in-class photo experiences in any condition. When a user takes a photo of the moon, the AI-based scene optimization technology recognizes the moon as the main object and takes multiple shots for multi-frame composition, after which AI enhances the details of the image quality and colours. It does not apply any image overlaying to the photo. Users can deactivate the AI-based Scene Optimizer, which will disable automatic detail enhancements to any photos taken.”

Creating a single image out of multiple exposures is at the heart of computational photography. But, as ibreakphotos proved, there’s more going on here. Samsung’s Fake Moon Photo Controversy shows that some of the user’s testing was pretty smart. A photo of the moon was blurred, and displayed at a distance, putting a hard ceiling on how much detail would be possible to capture, regardless of the quality of the camera’s optics.

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