The γ-Ruticon is an erasable image buffer device that has already been described in the literature. Its imaging properties depend on three separate mechanisms. The first mechanism transforms the input image into an electrostatic charge layer (an electrostatic image). The charge layer causes a deformation of the Ruticon surface (a surface relief image). The relation between the electrostatic image and the surface relief image is controlled by the second mechanism. The third mechanism consists of the readout optical system that converts the surface relief into a conventional, output image. The total device image transfer function is derived for the case when the device is operated for optimum image fidelity. γ-Ruticons have been evaluated for displays, projection TV, coherent optical processing and scanning of color images.