A Reddit user recently exposed Samsung for creating “fake moon photos” using AI instead of actual photography. It caused a lot of stir among netizens, and Samsung has decided to respond to the accusations. Well, sort of. The company published a blog post that pretty much says the same as the one published last year in Korean, and it confirms: yes, Samsung does use AI to recreate your Moon shots from blurry blobs.
[Related reading: Samsung fakes its zoomed phone photos of Moon using AI]
It started when Reddit user ibreakphotos did an experiment and tested Samsung’s “Space Zoom” feature. He described it all in this post, and here’s what he ended up with:
I briefly discussed the potential issues of presenting this technology as a camera capability, because that’s not what it is. This was my though because Samsung did that when they used my photo (taken with a DSLR, by the way). They photoshopped it, changed the background to a sharp one, and then made it look as it was blurred with the Samsung phone’s Portrait Mode. After my article went live (to which I never got a response), they added a fine print saying that the photo was “simulated for demo purpose.” I honestly don’t know if “Space Zoom” was marketed specifically as a camera feature, but Samsung wasn’t open about it being AI, either.
Samsung’s response to “fake moon” photos
The article on CamCyclopedia describes in Korean the technology behind Samsung’s feature (the translation is here). In this article, the author explains that “The moon shooting environment has physical limitations due to the long distance from the moon and lack of light, so the high-magnification actual image output from the sensor has a lot of noise.” They add that it’s “not enough to give the best quality experience even after compositing multiple shots.”
“To overcome this, the Galaxy Camera applies a deep learning-based AI detail enhancement engine (Detail Enhancement technology) at the final stage to effectively remove noise and maximize the details of the moon to complete a bright and clear picture of the moon.”
In its recent article in English, Samsung explains what goes into the “Space Zoom” feature, and it pretty much just confirms what we already knew and what was already described on CamCyclopedia. When you zoom in and the “Zoom Lock” feature activates, the AI-based processes get involved to recognize that you’re shooting the moon. They then help your phone to adjust brightness levels, recreate the Moon’s surface, and enhance details.
Interestingly enough, Samsung adds at the end that it “continues to improve Scene Optimizer to reduce any potential confusion that may occur between the act of taking a picture of the real moon and an image of the moon.” Although they confirmed what we’d already concluded, it’s good to see that Samsung is being more transparent about what its features include. All phones use different kinds of digital enhancements, but I think it’s important to be transparent and clear about them and never market them as something they’re not.
[via The Verge]
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