A modular detector for measuring multicolor fluorescence from cells illuminated by single or multiple lasers has been developed for flow cytometers. Motion picture projector, camera, and CCTV/video lenses were evaluated for use in the detector by comparing their physical characteristics, image quality, and light collection efficiencies. A 25-mm focal length F/0.95 CCTV lens was selected, based on our criteria and test results. The detector was constructed out of square aluminum extrusion channels. A CCTV lens mounted on the outside of the first channel collected light emitted from cells and collimated it towards filters and secondary CCTV lenses located in each channel. The secondary lenses functioned as relay optics for directing and focusing light onto pinhole spatial filters for measurement by photomultipliers. The detector design allowed any number of channels to be connected together and the versatility for making simultaneous or sequential measurements. Measurements on lymphocytes labeled with four monoclonal antibodies conjugated to fluorescent dyes and measurements on viable tumor cells stained for DNA content and with three fluorescent-labeled antibodies were used to demonstrate the detector's capabilities.