There are questions that appear more like mathematical excersises than photographic. Question only needs to include the size of a sensor of the camera at hand to make it answerable in MathSE, or PhysicsSE if that's more into it.

Personally I'm happy with any question that asks how to use a camera for this or that subject, be it a laser beam cross section or whatever. We can always answer with "no can do" without acting like MC Hammer "Don't touch it" and closing the question asap. But that's just me having broader view of what's On-Topic, and I've already realized that PhotoSE is not about cameras and how to use them in different ways, this site is about photography.

So, are mathematical puzzles about photography?

2 Answers 2


I think they are on topic mostly because there could be practical needs for knowing this within photography. For example, if you want to alter a photo and maintain proper scale, you need to be able to figure out what the relative size of things is. I think if they were doing it for some non-photographic purpose, it would probably become off topic, but I think the idea in general can be on topic.

  • Or it could be school physics class homework - kids are so clever to search answers from internet. I say off-topic in PhotoSE regardless of the reason to ask. Sep 3, 2013 at 7:15
  • @EsaPaulasto - just about any question could be someone doing a homework question. Generally I try to judge that based on how they ask a question. It also would be of limited assistance if we tell them how since they would still have to understand the process and do the calculations. Unless the question was only how to do it, it wouldn't really be doing the problem for them.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Sep 3, 2013 at 13:04
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    My point with that homework thing was, that it is an endless swamp to cross, if we start judging ontopic/offtopic by wild-guessing the reasons behind a question. That's not going to work. A question either is on-topic or it is not, regardless of the reasons to ask. For example a silent camera for timelapse could be about a boss spying on his employees, which is illegal but on-topic in PhotoSE. Sep 3, 2013 at 17:05
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    @EsaPaulasto - ah, that makes sense. Though I think it depends on if they ask specifically about a particular context or not too. Asking about the size of an object in a photo is based on optics and can apply to photography. If they specifically mentioned it for a non-photography related reason, then I'd agree off-topic. When context is ambiguous, I generally give the benefit of the doubt that it is related if there is a way it can be.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Sep 3, 2013 at 17:20

I agree that it is at the boundaries of what is on-topic here, but would advise against moving these types of question to MathSE or PhysicsSE based on some personal experiences there.
It occurred to me as if the members there would disregard relatively "simple" questions (which the linked questions are, compared to other stuff at Math/Physics.SE). They simply would not get answered, or only after a long time with a short explanation.
Therefore I would argue that we should keep this questions at Photo.SE, in the end helping more people. I notice that here even simple questions are answered (or redirected to duplicate or relevant questions).

  • That's a valid, though a bit sad, argument. Nov 4, 2013 at 4:54

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