Rapid separation and sensitive quantitation of vitamin A esters can be achieved by use of an acetonitrile-dichloromethane (80:20) mobile phase with a 5-microns C18 column (15 cm X 4.6 mm) and absorbance detection at 325 nm. Either a Waters Resolve or a Rainin Microsorb column was used satisfactorily. Retinyl palmitate is eluted at about 7 min (capacity factor, k' = 5.5) at a flow-rate of 1.5 ml/min; retinyl palmitate and retinyl oleate, which are usually difficult to separate, are well resolved (resolution 1.2). Sensitivity (at a signal-to-noise ratio of 10:1) is 8 pmol retinyl palmitate (equivalent to 2.5 ng retinol). Quantitation of total retinyl esters is identical to that determined by a gradient high-performance liquid chromatographic technique over the range 30-1000 ng retinyl esters. Retinyl ester peaks in rat liver extracts were identified by their characteristic light absorption spectra, susceptibility to saponification, and by co-chromatography with authentic standards. Nine vitamin A ester peaks were identified and quantitated in rat liver extracts. A 10-microns Whatman Partisil 10/25 ODS-2 column was used with the same mobile phase to obtain partial resolution of retinyl esters (resolution 1.05 between retinyl oleate and retinyl palmitate; k' = 11.0 for retinyl palmitate) and improved retention for retinol (k' = 2.5, compared with k' = 0.6 for retinol on the 5-microns column).