Properties of the receptive fields of simple cells in macaque cortex were compared with properties of independent component filters generated by independent component analysis (ICA) on a large set of natural images. Histograms of spatial frequency bandwidth, orientation tuning bandwidth, aspect ratio and length of the receptive fields match well. This indicates that simple cells are well tuned to the expected statistics of natural stimuli. There is no match, however, in calculated and measured distributions for the peak of the spatial frequency response: the filters produced by ICA do not vary their spatial scale as much as simple cells do, but are fixed to scales close to the finest ones allowed by the sampling lattice. Possible ways to resolve this discrepancy are discussed.