In the present paper, Fresnel phenomena occurring in the near field of light diffracted by a plane ultrasonic wave are examined for parameters in the Raman-Nath, Bragg, near-Bragg, and intermediate diffraction regime. First, the basic equations of the theoretical model are presented. Next, some remarkable results obtained over the last three years are summarized, such as the possibility of reconstructing the time-history of the sound wave from the modulation profile of the diffracted light intensity under Raman-Nath conditions and the good agreement between theory and experiment in the intermediate diffraction regime. Finally, new results relevant to the Bragg and near-Bragg regime are presented. Throughout the paper, the very high sensitivity of the light intensity with respect to several diffraction parameters is emphasized and demonstrated.