Digital radiography offers the potential of improved image quality as well as providing opportunities for advances in medical image management, computer-aided diagnosis and teleradiology. Image quality is intimately linked to the precise and accurate acquisition of information from the x-ray beam transmitted by the patient, i.e. to the performance of the x-ray detector. Detectors for digital radiography must meet the needs of the specific radiological procedure where they will be used. Key parameters are spatial resolution, uniformity of response, contrast sensitivity, dynamic range, acquisition speed and frame rate. The underlying physical considerations defining the performance of x-ray detectors for radiography will be reviewed. Some of the more promising existing and experimental detector technologies which may be suitable for digital radiography will be considered. Devices that can be employed in full-area detectors and also those more appropriate for scanning x-ray systems will be discussed. These include various approaches based on phosphor x-ray converters, where light quanta are produced as an intermediate stage, as well as direct x-ray-to-charge conversion materials such as zinc cadmium telluride, amorphous selenium and crystalline silicon.