As in other machine vision applications, a good illumination and imaging system can reduce image processing requirements and increase reliability. Especially in three-dimensional machine vision, blurring due to either object or camera motion makes object location and recognition difficult. We examine the use of an electronic strobe light synchronized to an electronically shuttered CCD camera. Source design to reduce luminance variation with range for retroreflective materials is reviewed. Retroreflection greatly increases the luminance for near-axial sources and increases the effect of axial sources relative to ambient illumination.