Off-axis holograms recorded with a CCD camera are numerically reconstructed with a calculation of scalar diffraction in the Fresnel approximation. We show that the zero order of diffraction and the twin image can be digitally eliminated by means of filtering their associated spatial frequencies in the computed Fourier transform of the hologram. We show that this operation enhances the contrast of the reconstructed images and reduces the noise produced by parasitic reflections reaching the hologram plane with an incidence angle other than that of the object wave. (C) 2000 Optical Society of America OCIS codes: 090.0090, 090.1760, 070.2580, 100.2000, 040.1520. Univ Lausanne, Dept Neurol, Inst Physiol, Lab Neurol Res, CH-1005 Lausanne, Switzerland.