The psychophysical method of limits was used to measure the distance at which observers could distinguish military vehicles photographed in natural landscapes. Obtained from the TNO-TM Search_2 dataset, these pictures either were rear-projected 35-mm slides or were presented on a computer monitor. Based on the rationale that more difficult vehicle targets would require more visual pathways for recognition, difficulty of acquisition was defined in terms of the relative retinal area required for recognition. Relative retinal area was derived from the inverse square of the recognition distance of a particular vehicle relative to the distance of the vehicle that could be seen furthest away. Results are compared with data on the time required to find the vehicles in these pictures. These comparisons indicate recognition distance thresholds can be a suitable means of defining standards for the effectiveness of vital graphic information; and the two methods are complementary with respect to distinguishing different degrees of acquisition difficulty, and together may provide a means to measure the total information processing required for recognition.