Objectives Diffusion tensor cardiovascular magnetic resonance (DT-CMR) interrogates myocardial microstructure. Two frequently used in vivo DT-CMR techniques are motion-compensated spin echo (M2-SE) and stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM). Whilst M2-SE is strain-insensitive and signal to noise ratio efficient, STEAM has a longer diffusion time and motion compensation is unnecessary. Here we compare STEAM and M2-SE DT-CMR in patients. Materials and methods Biphasic DT-CMR using STEAM and M2-SE, late gadolinium imaging and pre/post gadolinium T1-mapping were performed in a mid-ventricular short-axis slice, in ten hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients at 3 T. Results Adequate quality data were obtained from all STEAM, but only 7/10 (systole) and 4/10 (diastole) M2-SE acquisitions. Compared with STEAM, M2-SE yielded higher systolic mean diffusivity (MD) (p = 0.02) and lower fractional anisotropy (FA) (p = 0.02, systole). Compared with segments with neither hypertrophy nor late gadolinium, segments with both had lower systolic FA using M2-SE (p = 0.02) and trend toward higher MD (p = 0.1). The negative correlation between FA and extracellular volume fraction was stronger with STEAM than M2-SE (r2 = 0.29, p < 0.001 STEAM vs. r2 = 0.10, p = 0.003 M2-SE). Discussion In HCM, only STEAM reliably assesses biphasic myocardial microstructure. Higher MD and lower FA from M2-SE reflect the shorter diffusion times. Further work will relate DT-CMR parameters and microstructural changes in disease.