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Is Samsung faking moon photos with Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 100x Space Zoom?

The Galaxy S21 Ultra has the most versatile smartphone camera on the market right now. Thanks to its dual-telephoto cameras (3x zoom and 10x zoom) and the Zoom Lock feature, it is well-equipped to take clear images of faraway subjects. However, some consumers and experts have expressed doubts over its ability to take real photos of the moon. It was being alleged that Samsung is using AI trickery to fake images of the moon, similar to what Huawei did a couple of years ago with the P30 Pro.

The conspiracy was that Samsung is slapping a texture of the moon onto anything that resembles it. So, Raymond Wong from InputMag decided to investigate those claims by talking to experts and comparing the images of the moon shot using the Galaxy S21 Ultra and a $4,800 camera rig. He talked to some tech reviewers, including Michael Fisher (a.k.a MrMobile), Danny Winget, Dave Lee (Dave2D), Max Weinbach, and Brian Tong.

Dave Lee suggested that the images could be fake or at least optically enhanced beyond reality. He said, “I think if it is fake, they’re doing some higher-level stuff than Huawei.” Michael Fisher tried to trick the Galaxy S21 Ultra into thinking that a golf ball placed against a black background is the moon and checked if the phone is adding moon textures over it. Wong tried to do the same using a clove of garlic and taking a 100x shot. However, the Galaxy S21 Ultra didn’t turn those objects into a moon by adding textures.

Max Weinbach tried to search the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera APK to see if it had textures of the moon, but nothing turned up. Brian Tong said, “I don’t think the S21 Ultra is making up textures that it adds on top of the Moon. Adding textures seems way too aggressive. I could understand AI maybe filling in the blanks to a certain degree.

$1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra vs $4,800 Sony A7R III: Who took better shots of the moon?

After receiving mixed opinions from the experts, Wong figured that the only way to prove what was going on is to compare the Galaxy S21 Ultra with a mirrorless camera and a long-range zoom lens. He captured an image of the moon with the Sony ASR III, which had a $2,000 200-600mm lens attached to it. The patterned lines and textures lined up between the shots of the two devices. Moreover, even after cleaning up the image from the mirrorless camera and then sharpening it in Adobe Lightroom, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s image turned out to be better.

In the end, it was proven that Samsung isn’t faking photos of the moon, but there was a lot of software processing going on in the background. In fact, the Galaxy S21 Ultra shot better images of the moon than the Sony mirrorless camera that costs thrice as much as the smartphone. Even in our review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, we managed to capture some impressive images of the moon in the day and the night.

You can read more on this subject and how Samsung is using AI to improve its 100x Space Zoom so that it can capture such excellent shots of the moon in the detailed article on InputMag by clicking the source link below the article.

What do you think about the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera and its AI optimization techniques? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Model: SM-G998U
  • Dimensions: Bar: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
  • Display: 6.8 inch / 172.72 mm Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • CPU: Snapdragon 888
  • Camera: 12MP
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