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Recently, a high-order instantaneous moments (HIM)-operator- based method was proposed for accurate phase estimation in digital holographic interferometry. The method relies on piece-wise polynomial approximation of phase and subsequent evaluation of the polynomial coefficients from the HIM operator using single-tone frequency estimation. The work presents a comparative analysis of the performance of different single-tone frequency estimation techniques, like Fourier transform followed by optimization, estimation of signal parameters by rotational invariance technique (ESPRIT), multiple signal classification (MUSIC), and iterative frequency estimation by interpolation on Fourier coefficients (IFEIF) in HIM-operator-based methods for phase estimation. Simulation and experimental results demonstrate the potential of the IFEIF technique with respect to computational efficiency and estimation accuracy. (C) 2010 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. [DOI: 10.1117/1.3454376]