Image point displacements due to systematic errors in the image formation process are typically modeled in analytical photogrammetry with polynomial expressions. An alternative to this approach is the concept that the displacement of an image point is equivalent to a proportional change in the camera focal length for that particular location. The finite element method (FEM) of self-calibration, as developed by R.A.H. Munjy can be used to model focal length changes due to inherent systematic errors. This paper presents the results of an investigation into the use of the FEM for charge-coupled device (CCD) camera calibration. Two CCD cameras were calibrated using both the polynomial approach and the FEM in order to determine the adequacy of this alternative model.