The proper analysis of positron emission tomographic scan data requires a careful knowledge of the limitations of the tomographic system used so that scan data can be collected and sampled in a manner consistent with those limitations. The present investigation was undertaken to clarify some of the limitations imposed by resolution. The usual imaging situation, e.g., 218FDG , C15O2, or 15O2 , involves imaging structures of limited size in all three dimensions which may appear either warm or cool in relation to some background level of activity. In emission tomography the importance of adequate data sampling within a given plane has been frequently emphasized. Little attention, however, has been given to proper z axis sampling for clinical scanning. The actual selection of regions of interest from scans can have a significant impact on the subsequent statistical analysis. Previous work on this subject has experimentally examined the relationship of object size to quantitative estimation in the hot spot-cold background situation for the one- and two-dimensional cases. Approximate three-dimensional recovery coefficients for the hot spot-cold background situation have been calculated. An examination of the factors discussed above, three-dimensional objects with varying contrast, z axis sampling, and selection of regions of interest, has not yet been addressed in the literature. The purpose of the present investigation is to examine these factors.