Abstract Electronic (video) endoscopes are a significant new development in gastroenterology, offering the potential of enhanced teaching and permanent storage of pictorial data. The primary concern of gastroenterologists is the resolution and color performance of these instruments, as these parameters have important bearings on the ability to discern pathological changes in mucosa. We sought to determine the resolution and color capabilities of electronic colonscopes and compare them with a conventional fiber colonoscope. Resolution was determined using a standard test chart at various distances and the number of picture elements (a measure of resolution) was calculated. The mean number of picture elements was Fujinon (219), Fiber (172), Pentax (169), Toshiba (142), Olympus (140), and Welch Allyn (133). In close focus examination (target distances <1 cm), the Fujinon and Toshiba endoscopes had significantly higher resolution than the other instruments. Color was measured quantitatively using a standard color chart and a color analyzer. Color polygons were plotted for each endoscope on a reference chromaticity diagram. All systems had an acceptable overall performance but color was undersaturated with some systems. The optical performance of electronic endoscopes has improved considerably since the inception of electronic endoscopy.