Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra has received fairly positive reviews despite its higher than usual price in India this year. The smartphone packs interesting hardware, which includes a 200-megapixel primary camera and a customised Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. However, the phone has been caught in controversy with its space zoom feature, which lets users zoom in and capture photos of the moon. Recently, a Redditor took to the platform attempting to explain how Samsung’s space zoom feature is fake and that it applies details that aren’t really visible to its cameras. After a brief silence, Samsung has finally responded to these allegations.
Samsung responded to Tom’s Guide, stating that the images of the moon captured by its Galaxy S23 Ultra aren’t fake. Samsung claims that its space zoom mode relies on its camera’s artificial intelligence capabilities, stating that when a user attempts to snap a picture of the Moon, the AI-based scene optimisation technology takes over. The camera first recognises the Moon as the main object in the scene. Next, it takes multiple photos for multi-frame composition. Post this, the AI enhances the details of the image in terms of quality and colours.
The company claims that the above process is very different from applying an image overlay to a photo. Moreover, Samsung states that users can deactivate the AI camera feature that enables all of this. Samsung claims that its Scene Optimiser feature when switched off will disable the automated detail enhancements and leave the user with the original image.
Our review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra also explains how Samsung’s Scene Optimiser interferes with output of its rear cameras. The AI-based feature that recognises objects or subjects in a scene and then applies the necessary enhancements automatically, can lead to some saturated photos that are not a representation of the actual scene. For example, blue skies on a sunny afternoon get enhanced to levels that appear abnormally oversaturated when compared to the actual scene.
In our camera shootout versus the Apple iPhone 14 Pro, we decided to keep the feature switched off in daylight and turn it on only post sunset, because Scene Optimiser does have its advantages in low light. Just like Apple’s auto night mode, which is enabled automatically depending on the available light in the scene (when it auto mode), Samsung’s Scene Optimiser will also automatically switch to Night mode when detecting a shooting scenario that requires it, reducing the need to manually switch between modes when shooting.