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Samsung used my DSLR photo to fake their phone’s “portrait mode” (diyphotography.net)
669 points by minikites on Dec 4, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 267 comments

Ah man, I immediately thought of another recent case of a smartphone manufacturer faking their phone's camera shots[0] (turns out TFA links to it as well). Just a single instance of this kind of fraud is enough for me to write off a brand forever, frankly. If you're lying to my face before I even bought your product, who knows how much else you're lying about. Zero trust for companies like this.

[0] https://www.diyphotography.net/huawei-passes-off-dslr-photos...

Yep - zero trust is exactly right... I bought a Samsung smart watch for Black Friday for $280-ish. Figured "hey - this will probably have better calendar/application support than my Garmin watch!"

Nope. Literally can't get it to vibrate/alert when a notification comes through unless it's through Samsung's SPECIFIC applications. So my HipChat messages, Gmail inbox, etc have ZERO notifications even though it WILL show as a new notification on the watch face. Before anyone gives me crap saying "you screwed up the settings" - trust me, I didn't, and I've tried everything.

I learned my lesson - Samsung is a faceless company with zero attention to user experience, and customer support. It is of no surprise that they outright lie about their features - which is EXACTLY what using a DSLR stock photo for this marketing is. An outright lie.

I will stick with my Garmin devices from here on-out and am looking to switch ecosystems for my phone as I'm on an S8+ that disgusts me as a user (Bixby, bloatware blah blah).

ZERO trust for Samsung.

Samsung is completely untrustworthy. I might buy another television from them in the future as the screen quality on my Samsung televisions has always been great. But their smart appliances are a joke. Read the reviews for any of the required Samsung "Smart" Apps and you'll find terrible software that doesn't work. Where it does work, at best it technically meets the advertised criteria, but in other cases it seems like bald-faced lies.

I've got a Samsung washer/dryer. They're fine. But the advertised smart features don't work without the app, the App basically doesn't work, and while they say they can be connected to the Wi-Fi, they can only be connected to Wi-Fi via WPS. If that was ever justified, it certainly wasn't justified in 2015/2016 when I bought them. Had I bought them for these features I'd have been furious.

Samsung internet connected TVs monitor what's on your screen and send super low res snapshots up to their servers - just enough that they can automatically work out what you're watching. Your IP can then be cross-correlated with other web companies like google so they can keep a record against your full identity of everything you watch. So even their TVs aren't safe if you care about privacy.


That's going to be interesting if they still do that in a post-GDPR world without positive informed consent.

Every single TV manufacturer does that. In US, Vizio the largest HDTV brand openly sells this as a service to media agencies. Samsung and Japanese TV manufacturer data is much harder to access to and Japanese brands are generally scrupulous over permissions. No one matches any personally identifying info with this viewership data... It's all anonymized.

Source: work in ad-tech and have personally worked with this kind of data from different firms.

Far out, that's the scariest thing I've read today.

These companies are putting spy bugs in citizens homes.

I keep hoping someone will kickstart a display company that sells just really amazing displays and none of the “smart” garbage. I read that some manufacturers even serve up ads in their latest smart UIs. That’s infuriating!

Look into "NEC Commercial Displays". They're intended for use as signage and things, but most of them are full TVs with ATSC tuners, remote controls, speakers, and everything. They generally do not have any smart functionality, but often have serial ports or interfaces for adding your own. They are often slightly more expensive than the more encumbered displays, but not by much.

The biggest problem that I've found with them is that they're not available at your local store, so you pretty much have to just buy one sight-unseen and hope it looks good when it arrives.

I got the NEC E554 from Amazon, and left a 3-star review for it there.

Seconded. I have a NEC P461 as a secondary/movie display in my office. It's the thin bezeled NEC that you see in airports worldwide. Love it.

EDIT: as a followup, I should mention that circa 2018 there aren't really any commercial/signage displays that have 4k resolution. There are lots of "4k signage solutions" but they are all groups of quad monitors. It appears there is not yet demand (or sufficient product dev) in 2018 for 4k signage monitors. It sort of makes sense given that a departures/arrivals screen doesn't really need 4k ...

Looks like NEC has added some very recently, like the C651Q-AVT2, which is a 65" 4K display with an ATSC tuner.


Do any of the TV review sites test these? That would be very helpful since you can't showroom them.

IF you like a smart TV but not the smart features (but have no dumb alternative), then don't connect it to the Internet. Now it's just a dumb TV.

I guess the smart features don't add a huge amount to the purchase price but it would be nice not to have to pay for a bunch of features I don't need.

No TV tuner, no WiFi, no ethernet, no loudspeakers. Just a great quality display with a few HDMIs please.

> guess the smart features don't add a huge amount to the purchase price

They reduce it, because having one do-it-all device increases units/SKU and decreases the contribution of fixed costs to the minimum unit cost needed to break even, and competition prevents charging excessive premiums across most commodity models.

I think that’s called a computer monitor

I know why you're getting down voted, but you're not exactly wrong. There used to be TVs and video monitors, and then there were computer monitors. They were all CRTs. The computer monitors were way more expensive than TVs partly due to being progressive scan vs interlaced. Televisions had low resolution and included things like speakers and tuners. Video monitors could be had with much higher resolution for post/broadcast facilities even though they were still interlaced.

It wasn't until everything went flat screen where "TVs", computer monitors, video monitors became so interchangeable. However, there's really not many 72" computer monitors to fill up the space in my living room.

For a while, computer monitors were limited by the HDTV specs, but a computer monitor usually has better specs - often resolution, refresh rate, display lag, connectivity options, etc.

The smart TVs still have a slow and clunky UI before you connect them to the internet.

Except of course that dumb TVs used to at least offer programme guide. Now you can't even get that without an internet connection

The only program guide I've seen on a dumb TV is the scrolling display from my cable provider - which it displays over HDMI, not internet.

If it's displaying anything from the internet, then I don't think it's still a "dumb TV".

In countries that use DVB-T or ISDB-T broadcasts there is over the air programme guide information for the TV to show

In the UK certainly, the programme guide is available over the air on dumb TVs.

There is a system for TV Meta Data to be sent over the air and TVs with tuners used to be able to read this data and create an on screen guide. I had this on one of the first HDTVs I got but haven't seen it since


They still do. My ota setup gets it just fine

Here's how I solved this for now: I've kept around my 10yo dumb 32'' TV from Samsung for casual viewing, like showing a video to our kid (we hardly every use it otherwise). For something serious I made a beamer cart that I can roll everywhere, with a PS4, a Nintendo Switch, and a place to put a laptop. Beamers can mostly still be had without any connectivity. A decent 1080p one from BenQ costs you around 600-700 bucks and that's plenty enough for me to have full bluray quality movie experiences. For sound I just bought an Avantree AptX low latency bluetooth receiver, and I plan on extending this with an HDMI audio splitter and low latency transmitter with optical input to get full stereo quality on a nice pair of speakers. Screw surround, screw 4K, keep your 3D crap, I'm getting too old for this.

A 700USD beamer to protect your privacy? Surely you can just broadcast your computer on to the tv?

Get a receiver with HDMI passthrough so the sound comes out your hifi speakers and the video signal gets sent on to the TV. No need for bluetooth, splitters, optical input

it's not just to protect my privacy, it's just generally how I've come to think about consuming media in my house.

* a beamer gives you a viewing angle as wide as you'd want to have in a cinema (wider than this is uncomfortable).

* therefore immersion in movies and games is about the strongest you can have for non-VR content in your home.

* cinema is (a) rarely showing what I want anymore and (b) incovenient now that we've got a small kid, so this solves that as well.

* a beamer on a cart is mobile - sometimes I just roll it to the end of our bed, lie down and play Zelda or whatever for half an hour to relax a bit.

* beamers are mostly still dumb, so there's not much to break that I cannot fix and not much to annoy me, like "go online to get the full experience (and our ads)" and all that crap.

* when we're done the beamer can be rolled out of sight, so you don't have a giant black hole in the middle of your living room, constantly telling you you should probably do something with it to make it worthwhile.

* setting up the beamer is a bit of an act, and that's good, so we do it about once every week and have enough activities in our life other than passive media viewing. with the cart it's still quick enough to not be very inconvenient, I can just plug in one power cable and push a couple of buttons and it's done.

Is beamer quality decent? Every time I've seen one in action (I admit last time was years ago) it was nowhere near the quality of TV and the room also needed to be very dark.

When the bulbs break they're quite pricey to replace no?

It depends on how you want to use it. With good lighting conditions it totally is, and this matches the way in which I use our beamer quite well (during the day there's no time anyways). If you want something that works during the day and rolling down blinds is too annoying for you, then yes, it's not the best choice. But beamers have become much better than 5-10y ago for a given price. DLP technology has become affordable for high resolutions and its rainbow effect has been treated quite effectively, giving you very sharp images. Strong light bulbs are also much more prevalent. Yes you gotta replace them, but I'm anticipating many years until I run out of their 1000+ hours of lifetime, and 150 bucks or so every couple of years seems quite fine for me, more realistically it's probably going to be a new device every 5-10 years like with TVs.

What is a beamer?

German (and possibly neighboring languages) term for a video projector. One of the weird "english-but-not-actually" words we have.

Thanks for clearing that up - the times when loan words mess up your foreign language skills... ;)

I’ve been complaining about this for a few years as well. When I went to buy a new TV last year my options were so horrifically limited that I gave up, bought a highly regarded model and have purposefully never connected it to any networks.

It’s getting worse, we couldn’t even find a new fridge with the options we wanted that wasn’t ‘smart’. I wound up taking apart my LG fridge to disable the WiFi module after we bought it. Not connecting it to the WiFi wasn’t enough, the damn thing broadcasts it’s own wireless network and I got sick and tired of seeing it. Shocker, there was no way to turn it off.

Unfortunately most TVs are "smart" TVs (the dumbest idea ever, seen from a tech's point of view - you're stuck with whatever is in the TV, unlike if you just connect your Pi (or even Chromecast) etc. through HDMI). But non-"smart" TVs are still out there, fortunately. I found a very nice Philips DVB-T "dumb" TV. And it was quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent sized Samsung "smart" TV. It does everything I need (and the guide is broadcasted over DVB-T, so no net is needed for that. A Pi connected to HDMI makes it smart, but my way.)

Have you looked at Monoprice's stuff? They sell displays using the same panels as some of the nice name brand stuff, and I'd personally be surprised if they packaged the same BS into their house brand displays.

Is it the same panels though? I've heard that a lot of these new TV vendors are buying panels that might not have met the QA standards of Samsung, Apple, Sony, etc, but still function. Rather than trashing the unit, it gets sold off to a different company.

Someone else mentioned that to me too but all I see on their site are Vizio TVs and I refuse to buy one of those. I bought a Vizio a few years ago and it was the worst TV I've ever owned. Replaced it with a Sony and never looked back.

Where do I get the Monoprice TVs?

monoprice qa is awful. would not recommend for larger ticket items. they're great for cables and accessories tho

You can get professional displays, they're just big monitors with HDMI, VGA, RGB inputs, those are also supposedly made to whitstand heavier usage but a bigger price tag.

Look at the less sturdy versions of digital signage devices. Iiyama is one of these manufacturers that in my experience doesn't sell bullshit, but results always wary and I don't buy a new screen that often, nor does (close) family/friends where one'd notice badly behaving devices.

I haven't yet found large OLED screens with none of the smart BS though, so if that's what you want, good luck.

When I bought my smart TV I've decided to not connect it to my WLAN and didn't plug in the Ethernet. So it isn't able to send information or install anything. Everything I watch on it is through my home theater PC. If I ever wanted to update it I would connect it with Ethernet and then remove the ethernet cable after the update.

Actually the Samsung dryers use some material in the drum that react over time and eventually fail. There was a good rundown by someone with the knowhow to explain why they fail. If I can find the video I'll link it.

Different video than I saw, but same explanation: https://youtu.be/0uDQaHiEfbA?t=29

This is classic galvanic corrosion. The manufacturing engineer in me understands why they made this choice, but the materials engineer in me is surprised they did. (And, yes, I own a Samsung washer).

If you want to learn more about the electrochemistry here, Google "Pourbaix Diagram"

Could you clarify what the manufacturing angle and the materials angle is for this choice? Thanks.

The short version is that it is much easier to form complicated shapes in aluminum than stainless. Easier to form and more processes to do so.

On the materials side, When you connect dissimilar metals, their is a potential that forms between them (long topic). This drives redox reactions at the surfaces of the two metals, and the stable species depend on the pH of the water they are in. In this case the aluminum will preferentially dissolve into solution. If you must connect dissimilar metals, you want the surface area of the more Noble (i.e. SS) to be small, and the metal that corrodes large. This is because you actually care about current density (current/area) on the part that is corroding. Here you have a lot of surface area of stainless, which, in broad strokes, is probably not a good decision.

Samsung is the one company I've decided to never get a TV from because of their privacy issues but also because they are so intrusive in their efforts to push ads. Buying a Samsung TV is like asking for commercials in the middle of every bluray or DVD you watch.


> I've got a Samsung washer/dryer. They're fine.

I would not be so sure, they have a recall on a number of units:


I have a Samsung "smart TV" and have no intention of ever letting it on my LAN. It does not get the wifi password and has no Ethernet cable. It's used as a dumb display hooked up to a home theatre receiver and Xbox one x, home theatre pc, etc.

Do not trust the software on these things.

I do the same. And the next step will be wrapping everything in alu foil, because it is cheap for companies to include gsm module. Only half kidding, unfortunately. :-/

"I've got a Samsung washer/dryer. They're fine. But the advertised smart features don't work without the app ..."

Lucky you!

Very high end (or commercial) appliances are the only ones left that don't have spyware/crapware/IoT so you really lucked out there ...

I had a Samsung Dryer whose heating element died three years after I purchased it brand new. They only have a warrenty of one year, I could only find grey market parts, and I would have had to completely disassemble it to replace it.

It was far easier to replace it, and I will not buy Samsung appliances again.

Surprise - modern appliances aren't made with easy maintenance in mind -- I had to disassemble my entire dryer to replace a $15 guide wheel. Took me nearly an entire day to do it, and would have been cost prohibitive to pay someone else to do it. (and indeed, if I priced out my own time it wouldn't have been worth it, but I liked the challenge)

My Samsung washer-dryer heater element broke pithing the first month of ownership (or was DOA) and it too over six months to be repaired under warranty. That was just over 2 years ago, it it's just failed again.

My first and last Samsung product.

Sounds like they should stick to hardware innovation and stop trying so hard on software.

I bought a Samsung phone (S9) over black Friday. Returned it already. Their apps were incredibly heavy handed and invasive.

The photo app had a hard coded button on top of my camera viewing area which linked a way to buy things via a samsung app. I was appalled. I also couldn't turn off the Bixby assistant without first making a new Samsung account.

Do you mean the shopping integration for Bixby vision? That can be disabled. In fact I think it is disabled by default.

Heh - I was stuck at Costco getting tires installed the other day and ended up buying one of those watches. My favorite part so far is the Bixby app, which presents itself as a Siri-like assistant that collects all of my contacts and GPS data, because hey, but fails on everything I ask it, including dead simple questions like "Where's the closest Starbucks?"

My assumption is that the Bixby app is the point. It's the only way they can get recurring revenue out of you, the TV is a loss-leader to grease its installation.

I'm just going to take a hammer to it. I know it's unreasonable but I'm that p'd off.

Are there more trustworthy options for Android smartphones in the US? I was recently shopping for an upgrade from my LG G4 and settled for the S9+. I'm pretty satisfied, actually, but it really felt like I had an extremely limited selection

From my understanding, the only flagship-level choices that aren't big hassles to to get are Samsung (Galaxy/Note), Google (Pixel), OnePlus, LG. Of those, LG seems to be the only one that's not constantly plagued by trust/privacy issues (although in my case, I wanted to try a different brand so I didn't end up going with it).

After my Nexus 5's power button finally gave out (third battery.) I upgraded to a LG V30. Had a similar feeling of lack of selection. Wanted to wait for the pixel 3 but it was way too far away.

The slippery glass back and round sides kills me. (Ducttapped the back panel/sides as a decent fix, black tape nobody ever asks, probly just think I'm poor eh)

Not happy with the weight on my pinky either. (Two hands required.) Size similar issue, can't type with one hand like I could with the nexus 5. There is a screen shrink feature but it's awkward and the weight is the real issue.

Software being non stock is annoying but you get used to it quick enough.

Other than those issues it's pretty decent.

Enjoying the 4k video, wide angle photos and software stabilizer a lot.

The dual Sim or sim+ micro SD feature comes in handy for travel/video shooting.

I probably wouldn't recommend unless you have money to burn or really need the video.

Something cheaper probably has relatively same specs/features.

Grab a cheap protection sticker for the back of your phone from eBay. They usually offer better grip than the slippery glass, and look more presentable than black duck tape.

Not in the US, but I'm happy with my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. (It's a year old now.)

I was able to disable almost all the Sony apps with little difficulty, and the "What's new?" notification that appears every 2-3 months I just swipe away.

(Of flagship-level Android phones that aren't huge, i.e. fit in my pocket without bending even while cycling or sitting, the Sony ### Compacts have been the only choice for the last few years.)

The "What's new" annoyance will go away in a year or two, when they stop making upgrades for your phone. :-/

IMO, the times I've tried Android it always ended up being a mistake to use something other than the Nexus and now Pixel. Android and privacy is whole other situation though.

I've settled on my iPhoneX for now.

Motorola has started providing ifixit and other 3rd party repairs with official parts for phones out of warranty. That was enough for me to decide to buy one of their lower end phones (Moto g6 plus).

The low end shows sometimes, but I am generally very satisfied. They also provide decent apps and not too much extra on top of stock Android. Upgrades could be better.

I've been looking into Blackberry (Key2 specifically) because they seem to be putting security first and I don't mind if my platform is a tiny bit behind on the raw system specs. If anyone has experiences to share I am ALL ears!

I was actually about to get a KeyOne when I was shopping! The primary concerns I had that stopped me from going through with it were: 1) not sure if I'd actually like the keyboard enough to be worth the screen size tradeoff, and 2) I'd read bad things about the build quality (screens falling off?!?) since Blackberry apparently has little oversight over the actual production. I'd be glad to hear from someone else if these concerns were justified.

I bought a new Samsung Android tablet for the kid in September 2016. It came with Android 4.4.4 and assumed that it could be updated to at least 5.1 or possibly 6.x since it was a device that was shipping new from the company.

E-mail from Samsung support (I'm in the UK) simply said

> please be advised that updates are released in batches, release dates can also vary by region, network and device. As of the moment, if the updates are not yet showing on your device, then we may have to wait until it becomes available and we are unable to confirm when will that be.

Of course, there never was any update.

My first Android device, I was not impressed.

Looked into lineage at all? I have a Samsung tablet that works well with that and I am happy.

Was it the SM-T230NU? I think its called the Samsung Tab 7 inch?

After being a loyal Nexus Android phone user, made the mistake of getting a recent Samsung Galaxy phone. Never again. Updates will undo menu settings and break user settings arbitrarily, that if if Samsung even respects your settings configurations. Don't get me started on the uninstallable Samsung bloatware that is redundant to Google apps (calendar, photo gallery etc) that breaks all the time and backs up your data on its own if your aren't careful.

Well, did Samsung promise this notification feature in their marketing campaign? I considered buying one for this exact feature, but decided not to buy it after TMobile sales folks confirmed that notification worked with Samsung apps only. I don't think however Samsung deliberately misled or lied. Now that isn't to say Samsung support is wonderful -- I personally wouldn't recommend buying anything other than TVs from Samsung.

> Well, did Samsung promise this notification feature in their marketing campaign?

Nope - but it's something I would expect any smartwatch to do. It's just a dark pattern and they don't GAF for any actual use-case.

> I don't think however Samsung deliberately misled

Yea this is where we disagree. It's a dark pattern to force users to use their ecosystem fully. What about my corp. Outlook, HipChat, G-suite products, etc etc!? If it shows a notification on the phone - it should show a notification on the watch like my Garmin. Period.

That's strange, did something change drastically for the latest Galaxy Watch? I have a Gear S2 from a few years ago, and I can get Outlook / GMail / WeChat / Kakaotalk notifications just fine. In fact, I was getting notifications from so many random apps, I started silencing most of them.

> Nope. Literally can't get it to vibrate/alert when a notification comes through unless it's through Samsung's SPECIFIC applications. So my HipChat messages, Gmail inbox, etc have ZERO notifications even though it WILL show as a new notification on the watch face. Before anyone gives me crap saying "you screwed up the settings" - trust me, I didn't, and I've tried everything.

You screwed up the settings. It defaults to only allowing a short list of (mostly Samsung) applications, but you can configure it. Galaxy Wearable > Settings > Notifications > Manage Notifications and enable those applications you want to see notifications from.

Unless I'm mistaken, the key difference is that he can see the notifications fine, but the error is that they do not vibrate. Only the notifications from the Samsung apps vibrate.

I have a Garmin forerunner 235, and there's no way I will ever replace it with any of those "smartwatches" nor apple or Samsung, the user base they target are absolutely to different (Garmin is a fitness watch with some smart capabilities, Apple/Samsung is a smart watch with some fitness capabilities).

Hmm. My Samsung watch does this just fine. E.g. it vibrates when I receive a Slack message.

I have a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smart-watch, paired with a Sony Xperia X Compact (i.e. no samsung). My friend has a Samsung Galaxy Wear, paired with a Sony Xperia XZ Compact. Neither of us use any Samsung applications other than the required "gear"/"galaxy" app.

I'm getting Gmail, Telegram, Slack, and all sorts of other notifications just fine, and can reply to them.

So while their software sucks (unlike the hardware, their smartwatches are by far the bets ones out there), you did indeed fuck up your settings. Or you use an iPhone, which there is poor support for.

Also, while it's not a particularly trustworthy company, this specifically has nothing to do with trust.

Do they vibrate the watch? GP is saying the notifications come through but only samsung apps vibrate.

Yes. Any notification causes vibration, wakes up the watch to show the notification (or if the watch is in use, show it as a small overlay), from which one can read the content and take actions, including replying straight from the watch.

I always have the watch on silent, so no notification tone. I have no Samsung apps short of the Gear app and Samsung Health.

Samsung makes great displays, that's about it.

how many weeks it's battery life? no problems with notifications btw

Amazfit Bip owner

Sometimes mfgs don’t have enough oversight over their creative agencies. Often agencies use interns for these kinds of image search —and things fall through the cracks.

Not exculpating the mfgs or agencies just putting it out there that sometimes it’s some poor schlep who ends up holding the bag.

The poor schlep did what his manager told him to do. The manager used the schlep because he wasn’t given budget to do it right. So, don’t excuse the behaviour the organization enabled it.

Can confirm at least that it can be done better than this. I used to work at Apple and you better believe they cared about details like this all the way up the chain. Every photo we used had to come from a marketing-blessed source, all modifications were auditable in source control, and the end result was blessed again by marketing.

Despite that Apple shipped a watch face in iOS 6 that was ripped from Mondaine:


This crap can happen to anyone, it's how they handle it what matters most. Apple apologized (and paid for it).

Using a trademarked design doesn't misrepresent the capabilities of the device. Using a DSLR photo in promotional material about a phone camera obviously does. The two incidents are not comparable.

Both cases are due to lack diligence and supervision in the media assets accusation.

No, Samsung legitimately acquired the IPR for their promotional material, but used it to lie to consumers; Apple failed to secure rights to a watch face, but did nothing to mislead anyone. The two cases aren’t comparable, other than “both cases represent mistakes”.

What source control software did you use for the pictures?

It varied by department. I am sure there were better options, but we just used SVN because it (mostly) worked and the folder model / shallow checkouts made it easy to explain to nontechnical people.

Adobe has/had a version control software for their products.

i.e you could check out a version of a Photoshop file, make some changes, commit it back. My understanding was the it was aware of layers/etc, so you could diff changes somehow.

you could probably version-control a lightroom catalog file... it's binary but you can still check in a binary file.

Sidebar: Lightroom catalogs are simply sqlite3 databases with a different file suffix. If you ever have corruption issues with them, you can open them up in sqlite3 and export or repair as you see fit.


Exactly. Companies have as much oversight on their agencies as they want. The problem is that companies don't care and shady agencies will do whatever is cheap. Every person in person in the chain is culpable here.

> Often agencies use interns for these kinds of image search —and things fall through the cracks.

You mean... if we paid employees properly, it might prevent fuck ups like this?!?!

You’re asking that creative agencies all iver the world change how they do business. It’d be a good thing for employees and interns especially, no doubt. I just don’t see them seeing a need to change their hiring practices any time soon.

Maybe, but it would also cost more than it's worth. How much impact do you think this screw up will have on their bottom line? I'm betting about zero.

It won't have any dramatic impact but I would bet there's some. A decent number of people will read this article and think something like, "Wow, that's a pretty shady thing Samsung did there". This won't swing anyone from being a huge Samsung fan to someone who hates the company, but most people are somewhere on a spectrum in the middle.

The next time I buy a phone I'll probably be vacillating between several imperfect options and something like this could consciously or subconsciously tip a close decision towards picking a Pixel or LG phone.

>but most people are somewhere on a spectrum in the middle.

Are they though? I obviously don't know this to be true, but I imagine most are actually somewhere on the ambivalence scale. Samsung makes a phone they want? They're going to buy it. People have a hard rnough time sticking to their guns on things that _really_ matter, and this doesn't.

The intersection of people who care enough to speak with their wallets and those who didn't already abandon Samsung for their insidious bloatware is, I imagine, rather small. You also have to weigh that against the number of people who they fooled with their marketing and will never know the truth.

While Huawei may have cheated that particular phone's photo taking ability, I have a Huawei P20 Pro, and can vouch it's easily the best phone camera I've ever used or seen (it has triple Leica lenses). It doesn't match my Fuji mirrorless camera in some ways, but its shockingly good for a phone.

Doesn't that render the fake images even more silly? Smartphone cameras are pretty good these days - I don't see the need to fake the results.

This is a reaction I see a lot (and used to be tempted to have as well), but it is imo a mistake, grounded in the fact that we tend to think of companies as individuals whom once they've betrayed us, are likely to do so again.

Companies like Samsung, while they claim to have a "culture" are, at the end of the day nothing but a large group of ever changing people, whose responsibilities in what the company does is quite often nil even when they are the one making them on the company' behalf.

We can't deal with companies with tools nature equipped us with to deal with other humans.

Organizations most definitely have their own cultures including codified practices, management frameworks, and a culture of "X." Patterns of behavior emerge from those cultures, and can lead to success or failure. It's been studied quite extensively - browse HBR.org to see research and theory about this.

If you're fortunate, the company you deal with as a customer or employee has a culture that rewards competence and high standards of behavior.

If you're not, you as an employee or customer or member of the public may suffer. Look at recent scandals involving Wells Fargo, Uber, police forces in certain cities, and others. Or companies that release crappy or copied products time after time. These aren't cases of "rogue employees" or "isolated cases." It's often a broken culture or one that encourages people to break rules, or even break the law. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/technology/uber-workplace... about how this manifested itself with Uber.

This is only true insofar as the company remains small. As soon as it grows, the cultural standards you describe diverge.

Google is the perfect example of this, where while they remained at a reasonable size adhered to their cultural standards staunchly.

They've grown way past the point where that's sustainable and are now exhibiting the exact same predatory business attitude they swore they wouldn't ever (dragonfly, contracts for the military, systematic and all-encompassing spying on their customers, obvious anti-competitive practice in the android space, shameless support for a specific political party, etc...)

That doesn't mean there isn't still some pockets of folks somewhere in there that play by the old rules. It just these business practices can't be wrapped under the "Google culture" umbrella anymore.

Cultures can absolutely change and evolve, in response to changes in leadership, new sources of revenue, or growth. Apple 1984 vs 1994 vs 2004 vs 2014 is a good example, particularly in the late 80s and 90s when it changed quite radically. Yet Steve Jobs' design-focused culture and marketing prowess (along with some negative aspects) re-emerged when he came back, and even as the company's growth exploded.

Google's cultural shift is not just a byproduct of growth, it's a byproduct of the founders and early leadership stepping back and professional technology executives and MBAs taking over. Compare that to Apple, which followed a similar journey but boomeranged back under Steve Jobs Act II. Cook, himself an MBA, is more in the Jobs mold when it comes to corporate ethics; I think his stance on privacy and other issues is admirable. And it's one of the largest tech companies in the world.

Google's culture is not the result of size. It is the result of the fact that absent specific and top-down reinforcement, culture will devolve. When a company all fits in the same garage, it's pretty easy to maintain the culture of the principals because they're right there. You know them personally and are aware of what they think. As a company grows, maintaining the culture that the principals want requires them to make repeated, specific, clear, unambiguous statements, backed up by actions (such as incentivisation, prioritisation, business processes that "bake in" the culture).

As a contractor, I've worked for numerous large companies, sometimes more than once over a span of years. Corporate culture is a real thing, and survives changes of individuals, but is not random/organic unless you let it be, and even then, will often reflect the values baked into other principles. e.g. if you want to know where Amazon's so-called mercenary culture comes from, check out their leadership principles [0].

[0] https://www.amazon.jobs/principles

Perhaps it isn't the company size.

Your examples of "predatory business attitude" must all be signed off at the top - and most likely deeper executive involvement than many decisions.

I suspect that at that company size, you need to have a certain predatory attitude to compete - you definitely need to at least defend against your competitors' practices.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft are great examples of the how we do judge a company's culture.

If anything, your argument works in favour of "company culture". As it grows, company behaviour increasingly averages to profit optimization. A purely market-driven entity does not have any morals other than those enforced through threat of lost profit - be it via regulatory action, or loss of market share.

Google operated censored search in China from 2006 to 2010. They haven't really changed that much.

Shunning dishonest people incentives people to be honest. Why shouldn't that work on companies?

Because individual choice on something that few people care about isn’t really anything to a company with Samsung’s power. It’s like saying “blowing on dust makes it disappear, why wouldn’t they work with Mount Everest?”

True, but that's the general issue of "voting with your wallet" not working in reality.

How is that a mistake?

You've just described a composite, changeable entity that's unable to keep an eye on honesty, and as such one that is very likely to do the same again.

> I immediately thought of another recent case of a smartphone manufacturer faking their phone's camera shots[0] (turns out TFA links to it as well).

In fact, TFA wrote the earlier article, which suggests a good rule for other companies thinking about doing this: before you buy the stock photo, check if the photographer has called other companies out on doing the exact same thing in the past :)

You'd write off an entire massive company for the mistakes of Hauwei Egypt or Samsung Malaysia? It's not like this is central company policy, it's the people localizing the marketing.

It seems sufficient to write off any trust you might have in that brand's name on account of the name only. That is, if Samsung's governance can't keep its employees or subsidiaries from lying with its name attached in the past, there's no reason to think they'd be able to do it in the future. This also incentivizes Samsung to police its underlings.

Of course, you might have other reasons to like Samsung's stuff (reviews, prior experience), and you might also be stuck trusting no one because all large companies have similar issues (so you're forced to buy from untrusted brands).

I don't see why not.

I won't buy a Samsung phone after what I read about its televisions spying on people.

I don't care that they're other people in other divisions. If everything is so blissfully separate, then don't have a single brand.

I mean, it was Samsung Brazil last time: https://www.diyphotography.net/samsung-busted-tweeting-stock...

But, yes. It doesn't take much for me to keep a note in my head "these guys are dishonest". OK, I may not boycott the company entirely, but it drops their perceived ranking in my mind wayyy down... which is exactly the opposite of what marketing is supposed to do, right?

Of course not - except in this case it’s multiple subsidiaries (Brazil, Malaysia, ...) which points to a systemic belief that faking a major feature is acceptable.

If you’re going to advertise your camera, and you do it by showing off a photo taken with anything other than the actual camera, that’s fraud.

They reflect company values and culture.

If this was the first incident, then I would tend to agree with you. But this is just one of a long string of similar incidents that together form a pattern that reflect on the company values.

>> They reflect company values and culture.

If it was from Samsung. This could have come down to a single decision by a very low-level person, or likely a contractor. Samsung's marketing execs dropped the ball in not supervising the campaign properly, but I'm not ready to fault Samsung generally because of a dozen poorly-managed publicity shots.

Instead, I judge them by how they react to this mistake. Do they pull the photos or not?

This sort of thinking on brands is always a puzzle to me. Samsung certainly takes credit for every good thing done by their employees and contractors. Why does a radically different standard apply when they do something bad?

Even if it made sense in some light, it's still a bad approach, because it means people with power and money are never held accountable for things that happen on their watch.

I’ve read the same kind of ‘logic’ applies to lots of situations.

People will judge a company or restaurant or whatever more favourably if they correct a mistake to their satisfaction, rather than not making mistakes at all.

It’s makes me wonder how many companies are hacking this. Don’t worry about quality past a certain point. Say everything works 95% of the time. After that, just offer a generous returns policy, eg just replace the whole thing. Probability that 2 things are broken is very small, and you just made the customer think you’re better than you are, and it’s cheaper than improving QC. Everyone perceives you to be better than the company with no mistakes. Profit.

It works at a job too: you get more attention rushing in as the hero to fight fires on a system that's blowing up than you do building it so it just works and scales better in the first place.

We hold them to account by not purchasing their products. But we call out the mistake for what it is: underhanded marketing. It isn't like they installed spyware or were handing personal data to foreign governments.

> But we call out the mistake for what it is: underhanded marketing.

Let's call it for what it really is, then: lying in your face, at scale.

> We hold them to account by not purchasing their products.

Totally agreed. That's one of few ways to send them feedback directly. Other ways would include lawsuits or voting for regulation change.

Given that signal here is roughly proportional to amount of lost market share, complaints in this thread are a fully legit, if indirect way, of getting more people to maybe buy less of their products.

Do we know how they reacted to the previous incidents?

How many fuck-ups do you require before writing off a company? Would the entire board have to personally come and shit in your mailbox?

The question isn't how many, but the scale of the fuck-up, and what it represents about the company. Maybe 5 people would have known that this ad campaign was using a non-phone-produced photo. Apparently that is enough for you to indict the 300,000+ people who work there.

It's not indicting 300,000+ people, it's one person: the chairman of Samsung Electronics for not having set a culture where blatant lying results in negative repercussions.

Did you give him a chance to fire this marketing professional in Malaysia?

299,995/300,000 behave well. 5 people misbehave. Bad culture!

5 people got caught misbehaving.

> 299,995/300,000 behave well.

Can you prove that? These guys were caught, does it mean the others just haven't been caught yet? What about the G7 battery explosions? What about the washing machines catching fire? What about last time Samsung faked images? What about when they faked benchmarks?

What about the time ten months ago when the grandson of the founder was convicted on corruption charges? https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2018/01/29/why-samsungs...

And many others just don't care.

When I'm shopping for a phone, I don't trust any of the company's own marketing collateral, I seek out independent reviews.

Even if the photos were genuinely from the phone, they'll have combed through thousands of photos to pick the very best ones, which is nearly as bad as using a stock photo.

It's not indicting people (except those directly responsible and those officially accountable); it's indicting an organization. It's what you should do; a corporation responds only to things that impacts its profits; complaining, if it leads to less people giving them money, is a correct way of sending a market signal. That's how capitalism is supposed to work.

Show me an organization of > 100 people where one person has not behaved badly. This isn't a very useful signal if literally every organization of any appreciable size is going to be punished.

Organizations are responsible for policing themselves. The only incentive they have for that is that the damage caused by "bad apple" may impact their bottom line. Per a book on risk management I'm currently reading, this actually is (or should be) accounted for in risk evaluation! So if we voluntarily refrain from punishing organizations for misbehavior of their people, we're severing the only feedback loop that keeps them from rotting completely.

I'm not saying no organization should be punished for the bad acts of members. I'm saying that one needs to consider the scale of the bad acts before pushing for punishment of an organization. Because there is always an opportunity cost, and you can't punish every organization that has someone who behaves badly(because that is every organization), so you need to pick and choose which ones are the worst offenders. And, personally, I don't think using a stock photo to show off the blur feature, instead of a photo directly from the phone camera, is worthy of punishing Samsung.

You can perceive the magnitude of it differently, that's fair. For me, it is a big issue, because Samsung made a bald-faced lie. This was no mistake, someone out there decided to lie to customers. For me, that's serious. Important enough that I'm that much less likely to buy a Samsung phone on the next iteration.

(But then again, I can't honestly exclude the possibility of buying a Samsung given the overall shitty state of Android smartphones. It's hard to find one that doesn't cause daily frustrations, and between various brands tried by me, my wife, family and friends, Samsung phones were so far the only ones that consistently didn't disappoint. So at this point I'm noting this incident as a bad mark on the brand, and I'll be reevaluating pros and cons when the time comes to buy a new phone.)

We don't owe companies anything. I'm a big proponent of not putting up with shitty design, and after a lot of bad experiences with Microsoft they're dead to me. I don't mind missing out on a good version of Windows sometime in the future, it's not worth dealing with their current awful software. Same goes for Samsung with the permanent Bixby button and Touchwiz UI. I'd rather reward good design like we have on the Google Pixel and iPhone X{'','R','S'} lines.

Personally, I've written all companies by default. Seeing things like that from both outside and sometimes inside, I came to conclusion that most sales&marketing material is simply full of shit, and unless your company gives me evidence otherwise, I'm assuming anything not casually verifiable is likely to be a lie.

Also, RE Samsung vs. Samsung Malaysia, etc. - that's a flip side of having a brand. If you want various groups of people to inherit good reputation from the common pool of a brand, you should also expect they'll all inherit bad reputation too.

Good luck buying a car.

True many car ads are actually cgi

Yep, most are. In fact CGI effects studio The Mill have a shell of a car that can expand/contract to fit the proportions of most regular cars, that can record its surrounds enough to build the environment for rendering, and that can be driven in place of the real car when shooting.

The car being advertised is then edited in over the top, using the recorded environment to ensure accurate lighting and colours.


That's really cool! Here's a video with more details:


I noticed the CGI cars in this clip don't have drivers in them.

How would they add a driver for an actual ad? I think cars are much easier than humans to do photo-realistically in CGI. Or do they just show the car in a way such that you can't see that there's no driver?

I'd assume they'd just use window tint if they're cheap, or the same stuff used in movies to drop actors in if they're not.


CGI is not lying. Faking photos as a demo of the camera is lying.

Depends on one's definition of lying, I suppose. At the very least CGI car ads are implying that you're watching the actual cars being sold being used in the various situations shown, when in actuality it is a generic rig that a CGI image has been stretched over.

I don't know that it materially makes much of a difference or really matters for car ads... as long as the cars shown can accomplish/look like in reality what they appear as in the ads. Still yet I think the intent is to have the public believe that they are watching video of the actual vehicles, in which case, one could call this "lying" in some form (whether or not we want to ascribe any particular moral bent to the term)

Buying a car has nothing to do with this specific discussion about advertising practices. Besides, none of us would be there when the parent commenter buys a car anyway, so what difference does that make? /s

Its pretty hard to find a company that never lied in ads

Which is part of the reason why advertising is a cancer on society, and why it shows the ridiculous double standard we have on the societal level about exploiting people we know vs. total strangers.

Which says a lot about the state of our legal systems.

a legal system where nobody knows the laws (the attorneys even have to specialize)

“Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”

-Thomas Jefferson

There is a small disclaimer on Samsung's site:

> The contents within the screen and images are simulated for illustrative purposes only.

I don't really have a problem with Samsung using a higher res DSLR photo for the purposes of illustration of their background blur technology. I will always check review sites to get real sample images to evaluate a phone's camera technology.

Edit: I assume this was downvoted because it comes across as cynical but that isn't what I meant to express at all. I don't expect companies to lie to me and I don't trust companies so little that I assume they would lie to me. I view this as more of an example of a company's marketing showing their product in the best possible light. It's clear most companies will want to do that so I prefer to go to review sights to get a better overview of the both the good and the bad before making a purchase decision.

I view this as more of an example of a company's marketing showing their product in the best possible light.

But it doesn't show their product in the best possible light. It shows some DSLR company's product in the best possible light.

It's like a magazine ad for a Kia, and inside the car photo the dashboard has been replaced with a Tesla's.

Or a commercial for McDonald’s, except instead of using real food, they use fake stuff that looks better.

In Canada, they are required by law to only show their actual food. That still leaves them a lot of leeway to show it in the best possible light. For example, they cook an entire tray of burger patties and pick the best one or two for the shoot.

They explain the process in a video, it went viral:


It's surprising how much of McDonald's advertising is regional, by the franchise holders, and not from corporate.

In some markets, ads for the breakfast sandwiches are deliberately made to look "messy" with splattered egg and crumbs from the muffin all around so that they look more rustic and authentic.

Source? I would be highly surprised if franchisees are allowed to produce any marketing assets independently. The brand is the most valuable asset McD Corporate has. It's much more likely they have a catalog of assets/campaigns that franchisees can choose from depending on their market. (Similarly to how they allow franchisees a certain amount of leeway in what menu items they feature, but they can't just make up their own sandwiches.)

It’s regional but absolutely under no circumstances are franchise holders allowed to advertise in this way. They’re restricted to issuing coupons in middle school fundraisers and buying billboards at little league baseball fields

Probably more analogous to, instead of showing you a McDonald's hamburger, they show you a steak burger from a four star restaurant.

More like: instead of using fake stuff, they used food from Five Guys.

No, it is like a McDonalds ad, but instead they show a burger from a fancy burger place that costs 4x as much.

I actually think the act of metaphorically picking out the best cereal for the best commercial is also dishonest; It's not displaying the product in the best light, because I can't ever realistically buy that.

To do the Portrait Mode post processing, I believe that they need a depth map to separate foreground and background elements. So, unless they use a phone with the hardware to capture this depth map, then it's impossible to use that post processing technique.

Instead, they found a photo of trees, duplicated it, applied a gaussian blur to the duplicate, then cut the girl out of the original picture and pasted her into both tree photos.

The final product has nothing to do with Samsung or it's products; it wasn't taken on a phone, nor processed on a phone, and there is no way you could use a Samsung product to capture of photo of that quality, since it was taken on a DSLR, and the post processing that they used is NOT Portrait Mode, it's Photoshop.

I think you are being down-voted because, despite the tiny disclaimer, the main content of the page heavily suggests that the images are from the phone camera. This is scummy.

I understand that the disclaimer would be missed be most people but I don't see the background blur photo as communicating "this is what our camera can do". To me it says "Our camera can do background blur and this is an example of a photo with and without background blur". Maybe it's too subtle a difference and in that case, it's fair enough that Samsung would get flack for poor communication.

I’m tally certain no one else on this site would find that disengenuosness prrmicible. Chime in with a comment if you disagree

But why would they simulate an image if the phone camera can produce the image they need??

It could be because phone/camera software/etc are not ready yet when the marketing content is produced.

Someone else replied to another comment here the most plausible explanation which is that it's much cheaper and quicker to simply photoshop a couple of different stock photos. To go out in the field even with a phone camera requires finding a model, a setting, a photographer and paying them for a day's wages. It's a lot easier to believe this is an instance of cost saving rather than savvy marketing.

I don’t buy that one bit. They could easily change the disclaimer to say “photos are from pre-production hardware and may differ...”

Samsung just isn’t a company you can trust. Period. The only consumer product they make that’s even half decent are their SSDs and even those are starting to lose to competitors.

Their TVs alone have had so many instances of them injecting ads into the ui, to spying on what you watch in plex, and many more.

Last thing I’d want from Samsung is a phone.

Can you recommend any other SSDs, or some site that has meaningful tail latency/MTBF data? I don't like sticking to them for SSDs, but I have yet to hear of one breaking, compared to a bunch of other name brands.

Indeed, I have an old 64GB 830 that is still working as if it's brand new.

So far I've had good experience with Crucial MX series, PNY CS11xx series of drives (YMMV widely depending on series, etc) and Sandisk, all have lasted through quite some use, but honestly I still prefer Samsung or Intel. I've been using the Crucial drive for long enough now that I'd probably make them a top choice too. Samsung, Intel, Crucial would be my top 3.

I've been running a Western Digital nvme for a couple of weeks now and it's great- but that says nothing about longevity. The speed of nvme is incredible though, so I really hope this drive lasts.

I wish I had some good suggestions myself but every other brand I’ve tried just hasn’t really kept up. Been having some good luck with an hp nvme (can’t recall model right now) but I suspect it’s probably just using Samsung memory

I thought Samsung phones were highly regarded by consumers?

The hardware is solid. The software is atrocious.

I suspect part of the reason they still have a fairly good reputation is that they really were some of the best Android phones available, a few years ago, but by now they're nothing remarkable (unless you're going by quantity of bloatware).

Their "MLC" marketing is cheeky

These sorts of 'illustrative only' graphics get pumped out every day in marketing design, even for large brand names. As a young junior designer, I once had a creative director ask me to use a Samsung phone asset to illustrate how 'Bixby Vision' or whatever it was called worked. He wanted an Asian language text in the background on a menu with the phone in the front, showing translated text. I attempted to comply with his request for a little while before pushing back gently; I was a greenhorn in the industry and didn't have a great relationship with the CD anyway.

Thankfully nothing came of it and we moved forward with another concept. But I was appalled at the time that he would have wanted me to grab seemingly anything off of Google Translate and create a graphic representing how the phone would supposedly work, all of which I was extremely uncomfortable doing. But I suppose he saw it as an extension of our other usage of stock imagery and device assets.

Samsung as a household brand is a disaster. I was relieved to scrap my 4 year old washing machine with 5 year warranty because of a Samsung guarantee fiasco (what do you do when they don’t respond for a few days and you have a household to run?). My 4in1 Samsung Lazer jet is also a disaster the WiFi drops off and never reconnects you have cut power reset. So this doesn’t surprise me at all.

The crazy thing is, their phones take amazing photos. Why do they need to fake it?

These ads are made months before the product is released, and often the team making the ad does not have physical access to the product. Even if they could get access it is standard to use stock photography to keep cost down and get the ads turned around quickly. For the same reason restaurants use stock photography instead of taking their food to a studio or any other type of marketing

This. Why send your device out with a photographer and hope they can get a compelling image when they can browse thousands from a stock photo outlet and get something perfect in an afternoon? The stock photo will be much cheaper as well.

Well, for one thing: because then you don't get a bunch of viral news stories floating around saying stuff like "Samsung couldn't even use their own cameras to do their marketing." For another, because it sends a strong message that your phone cameras aren't up to professional quality standards, despite the fact that they might well be.

And for a final reason: because their leading competitor has made a huge deal about using their cameras to do advertising-quality shoots, which somewhat ups the bar for Samsung. https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2018/10/shot-on-iphone-xs-use...

I wasn't aware of Apple's example; that's Apple being smart, not Samsung being stupid. Stock photos being used for simulated product images has been common nearly forever.

I'll agree that maybe the time has come for that common practice to be changed. Camera companies put prototypes into selected professional's hands to get early feedback and images, maybe the phone companies should do the same.

This is just plain dishonest. I hope public shaming works.

I like the idea that it takes longer to make the ad than to make the actual device, so they need to fake it.

Marketing teams working on different timelines than the production/manufacturing divisions doesn't necessarily mean one takes longer than the other...

The same reason anybody uses a stock photo for anything. You can spend $10,000 and a bunch of time to rent a set, actors, techs and a photographer or you can spend $200 to buy a stock photo in a few minutes.

Samsung must have a nice view from somewhere within walking distance of one of their buildings. How hard could it be to have the intern go snap some pictures. Perhaps hundreds of pictures and then choose the best.

You'd be surprised, very very surprised, when asking someone to take a "good photo" they return with utter crap. One of the "thought crimes" in our society is people thinking they can take a good photo - most can't, even if their life depended upon it. It is actually shocking, because most people, seeing professional photography all the time, just assume they can shoot professional quality - until they try.

This works better if the interns are professional photographers.

So hire interns with a photography background? If they can build a rechargeable device which is capable of taking high-resolution photos without outside assistance they are more than capable, as a business, of figuring out the challenge of hiring the right people to support their engineering efforts.

Edit: Or better yet, hire a professional photographer when you want to showcase the output of your high-end digital cameras.

Isn’t it the whole point of smartphone cameras that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to take good pictures?

The whole point of a smartphone camera is that you don't have to carry a separate device. Easy to use cameras existed long before them. And even with a smartphonesmartphonecamera, I don't think skill is useless.

The partial counter argument to that is $10000 is nothing compared to a promotion campaign for a product which usually costs millions.

The time and delay argument is a bit more valid. But if it is at the risk of such bad press, not sure it's a good idea.

>> The partial counter argument to that is $10000 is nothing compared to a promotion campaign for a product which usually costs millions.

From the looks of it, it's not a promotion campaign that cost millions.

It's just a bunch of microsites for a rehash of a previous Samsung product for a handful of countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia? India's microsite for the product doesn't appear to use the image)

I would guess that it's the work from the marketing department of one of Samsung's regional offices, not HQ or US.

Because they’re actually nowhere near as good as a DSLR and they want you to think they are.

They all fake it. Even those few that are taken with a phone are so far removed from what a phone owner has, I think it would be more honest to label them with a huge "FAKED photo" banner.

Here's an example for iPhone where they're using some complex mounting frame to connect a 35mm prime lens to the front of an iPhone. The phone becomes more like a smart camera back. https://petapixel.com/2017/06/30/truth-shot-iphone-style-ads...

I call it fraudulent, and should be in breach of advertising regulations.

> Here's an example for iPhone where they're using some complex mounting frame to connect a 35mm prime lens to the front of an iPhone. The phone becomes more like a smart camera back.

That’s... not an iPhone, though the video may have been created for a smartphone ad (I don’t know and I don’t think the video said)

In fact I didn’t see anything in that which specifically says Apple does it, and I’m pretty sure that Apple has said several times that they use an iPhone without any special lenses or attachments.

a) your article shows that there is a disclaimer on the ads about external equipment and shows a picture that it is possible to mount crazy lenses on a phone, but you are left to connect the dots yourself.

b) there is a categorical difference between using a different camera and presenting it as if it came from the phone and using external equipment to supplement the phone.

a) According to another comment there's a disclaimer there too: "The contents within the screen and images are simulated for illustrative purposes only". Most will never see it as those disclaimers are always buried as far as they think able to get away with. usually small point font, grey on grey, and on screen for too little time to read if it's a video.

b) Not really. Whether "Shot with iPhone", or DSLR pics cropped to the phone screen, they both imply to Ms Average that they could take their phone out of their purse and achieve the same results. Otherwise why bother with campaigns like that? Unless Ms Average has a bunch of slave flashes and lenses in there too it cynically misrepresents. A simple tripod or monopod mount would be OK, as that still fairly represents "what's in the box".

Like the GP noted, phone cameras are surprisingly good within their well known limitations. They could achieve perfectly good, but honest, advertising photos just by staying within those limits. They would just never achieve the results an SLR with large, fast prime lens, and large sensor, or even arrays of additional equipment plus phone could.

A vague disclaimer does not, and should not, replace honesty and presenting what's "in the box".

OnePlus doesn't, at least https://photos.oneplus.com/gallery

For years Apple was the only smartphone company that didn't have the disclaimer text "Screen images simulated" at the bottom of its TV commercials.

Then it started using the disclaimer "Screen sequences shortened."

Now I think it's like every other phone manufacturer with "Screen images simulated."


Hah. Apple had to be sued, or threatened with a suit, in order to add the disclaimer in the first place, because they were talking about how amazing the iPhone's performance was... with shortened screen sequences.

This appears to be speculation that Apple is doing this, without any evidence.

1. Not enough time to use the actual phones to take photos and then create final print materials.

2. Maybe some tops don't trust enough that the phone cameras are good and want to make a less risky bet.

When you say "their phones" do mean the Galaxy S and Note flagships? Because there's a huge gap in camera performance between those and the mid-tier A-series.

A phone camera lens just cannot take a photo as good as a DSLR without having a proper sized sensor and a matching lens size... you can do all sorts of software tricks to make a photo look "better" but it's not physically possible, despite what their marketing teams want you to believe.

I can sell anything, you know? You know how many times I fake on the streets? You know? You have to fake. The guys that don't fake, they're the ones that get it the worst.

Who cares? They disclose the fact that the photo wasn’t taken with the phone right on the page. It’s for illustrative purposes, not to show the exact quality of the phone’s functions. The author of this blog also just outed a paying client. If they paid, they can use it however they like (within the terms of the licensing agreement). This is a great way for the author to ensure they never sell another photo to a large company.

I think even a minimum level of honesty in an ad requires that pictures that illustrate what the camera can are taken with this camera. I know lying is common in advertising but we shouldn't accept it and point that out.

They hide the note in very small text a long way down the page – way past all of the big, attention grabbing pictures, knowing that most people aren’t going to read down that far and consciously discount everything they saw.

Do you have a citation for the assertion that this was a paying client? She clearly says the opposite in the post.

She put the photo up for sale on a stock photo site and Samsung apparently bought it and used it. Where are you seeing her state otherwise?

The article says nothing about being paid but does say this at the end:

“Since I’d made my first sale on EyeEm and saw the image on Samsung Malaysia’s website right after that, I didn’t even assume that they’d stolen the image. I mean, why would they? It’s not expensive for a huge company like that to buy one stock photo. Although, to be honest, I think that they should have paid more for a better retoucher. But just to make sure, I got in touch with EyeEm, asking whether Samsung bought the image from them.

A wonderful lady from customer support told me that the sale wasn’t registered on EyeEm yet. However, she explained that sometimes buyers have subscriptions with Getty Images, meaning that they will be billed later for their photos. “Photos can be used months before we get sales data for the photo,” she added, and promised to keep me updated.

After this, I contacted Getty to check whether the sale was made through their website. I never got a reply.”

Your quotes from the article don't support your original claim that she claimed that Samsung did not pay her for her photo. Just the opposite. I think you are reading the text incorrectly. To paraphrase what I think she is saying: "My photo was bought on EyeEm via Getty Images. I don't know who bought my photo from Getty Images but it was probably Samsung".

That’s why I was asking whether there was a subsequent confirmation. It’s definitely possible that they bought it but it’s easy to find photographers who’ve been ripped off by companies which are big enough to know better and given that the main story is an ethical lapse, a second one is hard to rule out.

What point is there in using the photo if not to trick viewers in to thinking its a photo from the phone. What exactly is it illustrating? Its deceptive and wrong. I have no trust for a company that tries to trick its users like this.

The point is illustration of a photographic technique. If you simply say "The camera has a background blur feature" that doesn't mean much to most ordinary consumers or help them understand why they might want that feature. If you say "Here is a photo with background blur" and "Here is a photo without background blur" they can instantly understand its value. The fact that they deliberately modified the photo to remove background blur should tell you there is a message they are trying to communicate here beyond "here is what our camera can do".

Any reasonable person expects when they are seeing images in reference to the phones abilities that the photos would actually be from the device itself. It would be very easy to just take photos with the device and use those but instead they chose to deceive customers knowing that most of them would trust it.

Its 100% immoral behavior from Samsung.

Anyone cares if they want to know how a phone performs on its advertised function.

Interesting. So you normally get a feel for how a 16MP camera works by looking at low resolution photos? Personally, I go find full resolution photos posted by countless users and blogs who critique tech products. Do you also get upset when your fast food doesn’t look exactly like the image on the website? How about when your hotel room doesn’t have the exact same gloss as that photo on their website?

Again, they fully disclosed that the photo was not intended to show the quality of the camera. How can you claim they’re being deceptive? You are choosing to interpret the photo in a way that was never intended.

Is there any level of disclosure that you would regard as not full? As in, let's say the disclosure is in 6pt font at the very bottom of the page, below all the marketing material. In grey. And 50% transparent. Is it enough that the content is included somewhere in the source of the page, and however it's presented doesn't matter?

If she wants full control over her work, she should not sell it for stock photo.

I think if I were to buy a stock photo then find out the original photographer publicly complaining / shaming my work, I would be so pissed. I might just complain to Getty to have her removed / banned.

Wow, I must say I am surprised that something this seemingly-fraudulent managed to make it to the public website. I'm interested to see what Samsung has to say about this, hard to give them the benefit of the doubt, even if it's possible it's just a "marketer went too far" or "The images went from the mockup to the live site before engineering sent the samples".

If this feature works even remotely as advertised, they could have gotten at least a couple shots (and saved the intermediate images, I guess, to do the before/after).

For a company with $10+B annual marketing budget, the company awfully is careless about little things that could destroy their reputation.

I think EyeEm and Getty should work on their integrations, it can't be right that an can't know for sure who licensed their work.

I could see cases where the artist might be wondering if their picture is legitimately being used by someone, or if they should get legal advice.

Never buy Samsung

This isn’t really new. Samsung bought (allegedly) his stock photo and used it. Nothing illegal with that, though it potentially could be false advertising.

I feel like all phone companies use dslr photos, or photos they didn’t even take with the phone, to advertise how great their cameras are.

Sad state of the world we are in. Everyone lies

Well iPhone ads use DSLR lens in front of the iPhone. A bit closer to reality, but net effects are the same, fake advertising.

This is not to excuse Samsung, it's just to remember that most of the companies does that and all should be mentioned, not just one.

Not sure what you’re talking about.

If you go on the iPhone pages of the Apple website you can clearly see the same artifacting, noise patterns, and lens distortion from both the native iPhone sensor and native wide angle and portrait lenses.

I am 100% positive they did not use lens attachments in those photos. Also, the lens adapters don’t make the photo quality “better.” They just have the ability to modify the focal length.

I find it funny that people care about the equipment a photo is taken on. Those photos are taken by professional photographers with professional lighting setups and professional models. I subscribe to Ken Rockwell's belief that you don't need a fancy camera to take a good photo, you just need to be a good photographer [0].

I used to sell cameras in high school/college, and ALWAYS steered people away from DSLRs/high megapixel cameras that flaunt the quality of their cameras. Likely, those people will never get close to needing a high-quality camera's features, and their purchase of one would almost always result in a return.

[0] https://kenrockwell.com/tech/150-vs-5000-dollar-camera.htm

False. Even the iPhone billboards were shot with iPhone without “attachments.” Time magazine had covers shot on iPhone without attachments.


Do you have a source?

Even Nokia was caught faking their image stabilizer. In the video allegedly filmed with one of the phones, you could see a big professional camera rig in the reflection of a car window ...

Seriously, How did they not think about busting. Like... they didn't know that there is a Google search?

Isn't false advertising illegal in the US? How do they get away with this?

As far as I can tell, the doctored image is used only on images for a handful of Asian countries - Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. I don't think US laws would apply in those places.

Ahh I got the impression it was in the US, thanks!

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