The new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the newest smartphones on the market and it boasts a versatile camera that has dual-telephoto cameras (3x zoom and 10x zoom) which include a Zoom lock feature, the S21 Ultra has the capability to take clear shots of images at a great distance. In particular, people are using their Samsung phone camera to take pictures of the moon that are so zoomed in, there’s a question over whether it’s even real. Samsung calls it “moon mode” and it seems too good to be true. Some people think Samsung has found a way to make their phones fake moon photos.
Actually, those challenging the veracity of these Samsung moon pics aren’t even challenging the clarity, but the fact that, as they claim, the S21 Ultra is using beefed up AI to fake these pictures. It’s been done before, by Huawei PS30 Pro a few years back, but these are even better. But are Samsung’s moon mode photos real or fake?
How The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Takes Moon Mode Photos
First off, let’s unpack what the Galaxy S21 Ultra is packing when it comes to its camera. The S21 features four rear cameras and one 40MP selfie camera. The phone’s rear cameras are one 108MP wide-angle, one 12MP ultra-wide, and two 10MP telephoto cameras.
But, what we are focusing on here is the moon-shot feature that the S21 Ultra employs and is under fire for. In moon-shot mode, users can use the camera’s 100x zoom to grab clean, clear, and crisp pictures of the moon at night. You won’t even need a tripod to keep your phone steady.
Now, if you think that’s crazy, no way can that be done, well you’d be incorrect. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a Super Steady mode that compensates for the possible unsteady hand. What’s really in question is how it zooms in on the moon as far as it does.
Once you’ve got everything in working order, it becomes a simple click and view.
Why Some Think Samsung’s Moon Mode Is Fake
It’s the viewing part in Samsung’s Moon Mode that is coming under scrutiny. The conspiracy claims that Samsung is taking those moon shots, or anything that resembled the moon, and laying over the top a clean texture of the moon from a stored file. The naysayers are many, as evidenced by one Twitter user, Alexi Bexi, who responded to an amazed Twitter follower after he saw the compared moon shot from the S21 Ultra vs the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s feeble attempt.
After Joshua Topolsky tweeted, “HOLY SHIT the moon shot in this! INSANE for a phone to be able to do this!!!,” Bexi countered with a test of his own, stating, “Easy to Show. Tried it just now. Here: Even if you take an unsharp/messy photo of something that looks like a moon it snaps a moon(ish) texture on it. 🙂 simple as that. No magic hardware just clever software (combination), huawei did same year ago.”
Of course, all the iPhone believers followed up claiming Samsung somehow doctors the moon mode photos, prompting the battle to prove Samsung’s legitimacy as true.
Input’s Raymond Wong then took the S21 Ultra for a ride to show one way or the other that what Samsung’s S21 Ultra claimed was for real. The comparing shots (S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max) are the pictures Topolsky responded to and they were very telling. The shots show a crisp and clear moon shot with Samsung’s 100x camera, while the poor shot moon was done with the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 12x zoom.
Wong took his testing of the Samsung Moon Mode even further in order to get to the bottom of the controversy. Again, there are many who believe that you can take any moon-appearing object, shoot the picture, and the S21 Ultra will add a texture that makes it look like a clear moon photo.
Wong first used a clove of garlic with a black background to see if this were true. It wasn’t. No overlay occurred, just a garlic clove surrounded by a black background. The Samsung’s Moon Mode didn’t fall for it..
He then took a Google picture of the Moon and tried it again. Same result. Wong even used the assistance of a friend to help him test out the conspiracy theory. They used a ping pong ball with a black background but still that is all the S21 Ultra saw. No moon overlay created by Samsung Moon Mode.
After numerous tests, using other friends and foes, the determination was a tie. Half felt the S21 Ultra was taking great moon pictures, the other half swore Samsung Moon MOde is using an AI to create the amazing pictures.
So, Wong decided to compare the S21 Ultra with the very expensive Sony A7R III and 600mm telephoto lens. His results can be seen here and they too are telling. It appears that Samsung’s claim that the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the ability to give its customers the moon shot they desire is true.
Fake Or Real?
Who are you going to believe? The legion of iPhone worshippers or the ones who call Samsung their own? The evidence seems to point to Samsung’s Moon Mode, as unbelievable as it seems, being the real deal.
As the race to make smartphones “smarter” intensifies, cameras on said phones are becoming more and more sophisticated. Cameras are becoming the big selling point when it comes to the newest smartphones on the market and whatever new tricks or features a phone manufacturer can introduce, the better to get that sale.