Abstract A previously developed on-column detection technique using 35 mm SLR cameras [ J. Chromatogr. A 826 (1998) 1] was employed to visualize colored sample bands as they elute through frits of differing diameter. Head fittings containing a 4.0 mm frit and a 15.9 mm frit were mounted in a 17 mm I.D. glass column packed with C 18 silica with an average particle size of 21 μm. A carbon tetrachloride mobile phase of matching refractive index to that of the silica provides clarity along the column diameter during band migration. The photographs of the migrating sample zones were scanned and analyzed with appropriate imaging software. The smallest diameter frit induced severely parabolic sample distributions at the column inlet compared to the larger frit. Local axial dispersion coefficient values, expressed as local reduced plate height, were calculated as well as local zone velocities at the column inlet. The results demonstrate clearly the need to match the diameter of the inlet frit to the I.D. of the column so as to avoid the initial onset of zone broadening due to the frit.