We present an overview of imaging systems that incorporate a volume hologram as one of the optical field processing elements in the system. We refer to these systems as volume holographic imaging (VHI) systems. The volume hologram is recorded just once, and the recording parameters depend on the functional requirements of the imaging system. The recording step offers great flexibility in designing application-specific imaging systems. We discuss how a VHI system can be configured for diverse imaging applications ranging from surface profilometry to real-time hyperspectral microscopy, and summarize recent developments in this field. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.