Electronic imaging in the form of television has served the public for over 40 years. Television cameras have up to now used mostly photoconductive tubes to capture the live image. However, the last ten years have seen the advances in microelectronics, including VLSI technology, introduce newer, more flexible ways to record images via the solid state sensor. One version of the solid state sensor, the charge coupled device (CCD) has found its way into consumer electronic imaging, replacing the Super 8 movie system, and today, portable, commercial television cameras are starting to use CCD arrays instead of the more conventional photoconductive tubes. There are several electronic still cameras (ESC) on the market using solid state sensors, but due to the limited number of imaging sites or pixels on these imaging sensors, the quality is far below that of present photographic-based systems. This paper will consider imaging characteristics of photoconductive tubes (solid state imaging sensors) and how they compare to photographic film. Also, based on a system analysis, the requirements for a solid state sensor that will provide image quality equal to current photographic systems will be defined. The importance of digital image processing and digital image compression will also be discussed.