100 is a magic number. In any case, they like to use PR and marketing departments when they want to draw attention to something. The liveliness of cars is always measured by the time it takes to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Music magazines compile the best 100 albums at regular intervals. Samsung has been advertising the 100x zoom of its flagships of the S series for several years. The smartphone combines an optical and digital zoom, so it feels its way as far as possible to the object and uses the resolution of the sensor to enlarge a piece of the image.

Marco Dettweiler

Editor in business.

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As with all manufacturers, the result is mere sensationalism. For years, we have been trying out the 100x zoom in tests. In order to get a usable photo at all, the smartphone must be kept extremely still. It is best to stand on a tripod. The result impresses for a few seconds, because you can approach the object amazingly with the camera of a smartphone. But after a long look, it becomes clear that the photo is too blurry and blurry to be placed in an album for resubmission.

Picked up the ball

Samsung does not let up with the 100x zoom. When the S 23 Ultra was recently launched on the market, the Koreans advertised it again. Now the moon was the focus. "Moon Shots – with the mobile phone to the moon," writes Samsung on its homepage. "Experiment with the zoom of your camera. How close do you want to bring the moon to you? The Galaxy S100 Ultra's 23x space zoom gives you plenty of scope for experiments like this." In fact, some testers recorded the ball and took impressive photos of the moon. The fact that Samsung's moon was chosen as the zoom object is also due to the fact that the Koreans advertised the S 23 Ultra with Nightography, i.e. the possibilities of photographing at night.

But everyone knows that not only with these photos, but also with all others, the AI department of the software helps to create the sharpest and crispest images possible. Only for the person behind the account "ibreakphotos" and wrote down his findings for the portal Reddit, it was apparently new. Because he headlines an article with "Samsung's moon images with 'space zoom' are fake, and here's the proof." And it works like this: ibreakphotos uploaded a blurry photo of the moon to the computer screen and photographed it with the Samsung smartphone.

Sharper than the template allows

The result is an image that is more detailed than the subject on the computer. So Samsung has helped, some would speak of a "fake". The explanation: The software of the smartphone calculates details with AI support and supplements them. In this case, this is quite easy because there is only one and the database that the AI accesses probably contains different perspectives in good quality.

None of this is new. Not only the manufacturers of smartphones, but also of TV sets use the possibilities of AI to make the images higher resolution. For example, 8K TVs can upscale footage in Full HD or 4K resolution because the software has been trained with a huge database of images and patterns. The devices then sharpen images because they can assume that they should look like this based on other images. Huawei was one of the first smartphone manufacturers to start doing so. Samsung and others have been working with it for a long time.

In the case of sharpening the moon, if you shoot it with the 100x zoom, the Koreans have now exaggerated it a bit. Because they explicitly advertise that you can capture the moon so sharply with the flagships of the S series and want to emphasize the technical capabilities of the camera. But in reality, it's the software with AI support that they're promoting with it. Presumably, the AI cannot be stopped from sharpening the moon.