We have investigated the accuracy of the templating of digital radiographs in planning total hip replacement using two common object-based calibration methods with the ball placed laterally (method 1) or medially (method 2) and compared them with two non-object-based methods. The latter comprised the application of a fixed magnification of 121% (method 3) and calculation of magnification based on the object-film-distance (method 4). We studied the post-operative radiographs of 57 patients (19 men, 38 women, mean age 73 years (53 to 89)) using the measured diameter of the prosthetic femoral head and comparing it with the true value. Both object-based methods (1 and 2) produced large errors (mean/maximum: 2.55%/17.4% and 2.04%/6.46%, respectively). Method 3 applying a fixed magnification and method 4 (object-film-distance) produced smaller errors (mean/maximum 1.42%/5.22% and 1.57%/ 4.24%, respectively; p < 0.01). The latter results were clinically relevant and acceptable when planning was allowed to within one implant size. Object-based calibration (methods 1 and 2) has fundamental problems with the correct placement of the calibration ball. The accuracy of the fixed magnification (method 3) matched that of object-film-distance (method 4) and was the most reliable and efficient calibration method in digital templating.