Demonstrated on numerous Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus examples, the alleged defect manifests itself as optical aberrations apparently induced by the shape of the lens, which is too small to evenly focus the image on the relatively large optical sensor.
The problems appear to manifest themselves in both the Galaxy S23 series and the S23 Plus, with the substantially different photo configuration appearing to exempt the S23 Ultra from these problems.
According to discussions on various forums and social media, the defect manifests itself as blurry areas grouped to describe a circle or semi-circle around the central portion of the image. The problem seems to be magnified in close-up photos, which show a lot of detailed content, like blades of grass on a lawn. Judging by the radial arrangement of the focus defects, it is unlikely that the problem is software, or that the image processing algorithms can compensate for the missing detail.
Unfortunately for users experiencing this problem, the focus defect that could be replicated even on phones submitted to publications for review is denied by Samsung, with the company rejecting warranty claims. According to the experience recounted by a Galaxy S23 owner, the official response received from Samsung Service Center employees is that the problem “cannot be fixed at this time”.
While the manifestation of the blur effect is a “feature” for any camera equipped with a large enough sensor, the mode of manifestation is not characteristic of the DSLR-style bokeh effect responsible for background separation in portrait-style photos. And since the reported problem does not manifest itself at all in the Galaxy S23 Ultra camera with 200MP sensor, the only reasonable explanation would be that we are dealing with a hardware defect/limitation specific to the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus phones. Unless the phone is still within the eligible return period, disgruntled users have little choice but to wait for a fix from Samsung, which may never come.