The poster alleges that the “zoomed” images are merely preexisting pictures superimposed over the moon.
The current line of Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphones come equipped with a proprietary feature called “Space Zoom.” The lenses in the smartphone’s camera are capable of up to 100x magnification, which Samsung proved the efficacy of by using it to take a crystal-clear image of the moon. However, according to a Reddit user, the Space Zoom lens can’t actually take pictures of the moon, but merely create an approximation of it.
In a post on the Android Subreddit, Reddit user ibreakphotos alleged that, when using Space Zoom to take a photo of the moon, the Galaxy phone automatically superimposes an existing image of the moon over the moon in the photo to make it look clearer than it actually is.
“TL:DR Samsung is using AI/ML (neural network trained on 100s of images of the moon) to recover/add the texture of the moon on your moon pictures, and while some think that’s your camera’s capability, it’s actually not. And it’s not sharpening, it’s not adding detail from multiple frames because in this experiment, all the frames contain the same amount of detail.
Reddit user ibreakphotos discovers that Samsung's 'Space Zoom' simply replaces user's moon photos with higher-res images of the moon through a clever testing process. https://t.co/5cLybMld5s
This isn't computational photography — it's inserting imagery that simply isn't there. pic.twitter.com/67UyyUa7cX
— Halide (@halidecamera) March 11, 2023
“None of the frames have the craters etc. because they’re intentionally blurred, yet the camera somehow miraculously knows that they are there. And don’t even get me started on the motion interpolation on their “super slow-mo”, maybe that’s another post in the future.”
The user, as well as other users on the Subreddit, have managed to reproduce the results of their test fairly reliably, giving credence to their claims. Samsung has not publicly commented on the matter at the time of writing.