Gaze control in various conditions is important, since retinal slip deteriorates the perception of 3-D shape of visual stimuli. Several studies have shown that visual perception of 3-D shape is better for actively moving observers than for passive observers watching a moving object. However, it is not clear to what extent the improved percept of 3-D shape for active observers has to be attributed to corollary discharges to higher visual centers or whether the improved percept might be due to improved gaze stabilization during active head movements. The aim of this study was to measure binocular eye movements and to make a quantitative comparison of retinal slip for subjects instructed to fixate a visual stimulus in an active condition (subject makes an active head movement, object is stationary) and in a passive condition (the stimulus moves, the subject is stationary) for various movement frequencies, viewing distances, and stimulus diameters. Retinal slip remains below the "acuity threshold" of about 4 deg/s in active conditions, except for the highest frequency tested in this study (1.5 Hz) for nearby targets (0.25 cm). Retinal slip exceeds this threshold for most passive conditions. These results suggest that the enhanced performance in the visual perception of 3-D shape during active head movements can, at least partly, be explained by better fixation by actively moving observers.