We present a theoretically optimal linear algorithm for 3-D reconstruction from point correspondences over two views. We also present a similarly constructed optimal linear algorithm for 3-D reconstruction from optical flow. We then compare the performance of the two algorithms by simulation and real-image experiments using the same data. This is the first impartial comparison ever done in the sense that the two algorithms are both optimal, extracting the information contained in the data to a maximum possible degree. We observe that the finite motion solution is always superior to the optical flow solution and conclude
that the finite motion algorithm should be used for 3-D reconstruction.