Determination of contact areas in diarthrodial joints is necessary for understanding the state of stress within the articular cartilage layers and the supporting bony structures. The present study describes the use of a stereophotogrammetry (SPG) system [Huiskes et al., J. Biomechanics ,18, 559–570 (1985) and Ateshian et al., J. Biomechanics, 24, 761–776 (1991)] for determining contact areas in diarthrodial joints, using a surface proximity concept similar to the one used by Scherrer et al. [ASME J. biomech. Engng, 101, 271–278 (1979)]. This method consists of evaluating the proximity of the articular surfaces to determine joint contact areas using precise geometric models of the joint surfaces obtained from the SPG system, and precise kinematic data, also obtained from SPG. In this study, the SPG method for determining contact areas is compared to other commonly used methods such as dye staining, silicone rubber casting and Fuji film contact measurement techniques which have been often used and reported by other investigators. The bovine glenohumeral joint and the bovine lateral tibiofemoral articulation (without the meniscus) were used to represent congruent and incongruent joints, respectively. While all the methods yielded consistent contact patterns for the incongruent tibiofemoral articulations, the results for the congruent bovine glenohumeral joints showed that the SPG and Fuji film methods were in better agreement than those obtained from the dye staining and silicone rubber casting methods. The advantages of the new SPG method are that it can be used for intact joints, and used repeatedly and quickly thus making contact-area movement analyses possible [Soslowsky et al., J. orthop. Res., 10, 524–534 (1992)]. The results of this comparison study show that the SPG technique is a reliable and versatile method for determining contact areas in diarthrodial joints.