Recent developments of digital cameras in terms of the size of charge-coupled device (CCD) arrays and reduced costs are leading to their applications in traditional as well as new photogrammetric, surveying, and mapping functions. Digital cameras, intended to replace conventional film-based mapping cameras, are becoming available along with many smaller formats capable of precise measurement applications. All such cameras require careful calibration to determine their metric characteristics, which are essential to carrying out photogrammetric activities. We introduce a new approach for incorporating straight lines in a bundle adjustment for calibrating off-the-shelf, low-cost digital cameras. The optimal configuration for successfully deriving the distortion parameters is considered when establishing the required test field. Moreover, a framework for automatic extraction of the straight lines in the images is presented and tested. The developed calibration procedure can be used as an efficient tool to investigate the most appropriate model that compensates for various distortions associated with the camera being calibrated. Experiments performed to compare line-based with traditional point-based self-calibration methods prove the feasibility of the suggested approach.