a comment on my answer to What is the ring of light around the moon and which star seen near it? links to the reddit Samsung "space zoom" moon shots are fake, and here is the proof.

I have high regard for Stack Exchange and I don't have any way to judge what in Reddit is proof and what is a rant, so I'm asking here.

The author describes a demonstration that "proves" the camera adds either real/known or AI generated surface detail to zoomed photos of the moon by photographing a white blob in a way that tricks the camera into thinking it was the Moon.

The author also asserts that no matter how much frame averaging and other processing might be done, the detail is beyond what the optics is capable of recording:

...but the reality is, it's AI doing most of the work, not the optics, the optics aren't capable of resolving the detail that you see.

Is all of this essentially true, that some cell phone cameras are actually "painting" a memorized or AI generated lunar surface onto the lower resolution images it records?

update: For some degree of fairness/balance, Gizmodo's What did an iPhone camera do to this poor woman's arms? Computational photography has its limits. Now l miss my Pentax Spot-O-Matic even more!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I posted the cited comment. The important point- assuming the Reddit material is accurate- is not that the camera was tricked but that it maliciously sought to mislead its owner into believing it had taken a photograph of far higher quality than was physically possible. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2023 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkMorganLloyd In a related area, Andy Warhol used to remove wrinkles from pictures of people, because when you remember someone, you automatically ignore a lot of defects. Samsung just takes this approach to the extreme. You could almost say to the point of being out of this world. /s \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Nov 25, 2023 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ xref to law.stackexchange.com/questions/97513/… \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2023 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ "and that some cellphones (e.g. S20 Ultra) use AI to add features?" reminds me of Samsung's Gallery app is adding creepy teeth to baby photos... \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 26, 2023 at 14:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ As for the moon shot, perhaps this might be interesting: I took pictures of the moon with 3 phones. This one had the best shot.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 26, 2023 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Based to the article in The Verge I get actually Samsung fake the moon. Of course there are vague expressions from the company about the process and when what is in use. But my personal estimation and understanding is this is a fake moon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The bottom line is that producing a "this is what I think it should look like" image makes this sort of device suspect for evidentiary purposes: if one manufacturer does it how many more (an advocate might argue) do something similar without admitting it? I remember a few years ago when somebody wrote that now that everybody carries a decent camera every minute of the day it wouldn't be long before there was incontrovertible confirmation of the Loch Ness Monster: I wonder whether the global AI population could be spoofed into believing that /any/ photo of Loch Ness had to include a monster? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2023 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I love that the Samsung fake image has the incorrect white balance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brad Lanam
    Nov 25, 2023 at 19:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkMorganLloyd xkcd.com/1235 \$\endgroup\$
    – wonderbear
    Nov 25, 2023 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wonderbear yes, that was probably where I saw the suggestion. In fact I had to trim "about ten years ago" in my comment to get it within the character limit, and I notice that that specific XKCD was dated 2013-07-08 :-) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2023 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkMorganLloyd I love it! So now flying saucers, lake monsters, ghosts and Bigfoot can return to us :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – uhoh
    Nov 25, 2023 at 21:08

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