Fluorescence lifetime images are obtained with the laser scanning microscope using two methods: the time-correlated single-photon counting method and the frequency-domain method. In the same microscope system, we implement both methods. We perform a comparison of the performance of the two approaches in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the speed of data acquisition. While in our practical implementation the time-correlated single-photon counting technique provides a better SNR for low-intensity images, the frequency-domain method is faster and provides less distortion for bright samples. © 2003 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.