We investigated the accuracy of 3D image registration using markers that are repeatedly applied to external anatomical landmarks on the head. The purpose of this study is to establish a lower limit of the errors that would occur in, for instance, MRI-SPECT matching, which in some situations can only be achieved using external landmarks. Marker matching was compared with (single-modality) volume matching for 20 MRI scans. The results were compared with a published expression for the target registration error (TRE) which gives the 3D distribution of the mismatch between both scans. It was found that the main error source is reapplying the external markers on the anatomical landmarks. The published expression describes the relative distribution of the TRE in space well, but tends to underestimate the actual registration error. This deviation is due to anisotropy in the error distribution of the marker position (errors in the direction perpendicular to the skin surface are in general much smaller than errors in other directions). A simulation of marker matching with anisotropy in the errors confirmed this finding. With four reapplied markers, the TRE is 6 mm or smaller in most regions of the head.