Flat-panel (FP) based digital radiography systems have recently been introduced as a new and improved digital radiography technology; it is important to evaluate and compare this new technology with currently widely used conventional screen/film (SF) and computed radiography (CR) techniques. In this study, the low-contrast performance of an amorphous silicon/cesium iodide -based flat-panel digital chest radiography system is compared to those of a screen/film and a computed radiography system by measuring their contrast-detail curves. Also studied were the effects of image enhancement in printing the digital images and dependence on kVp and incident exposure. It was found that the FP system demonstrated significantly better low-contrast performance than the SF or CR systems. It was estimated that a dose savings of 70%–90% could be achieved to match the low-contrast performance of the FP images to that of the SF images. This dose saving was also found to increase with the object size. No significant difference was observed in low-contrast performances between the SF and CR systems. The use of clinical enhancement protocols for printing digital images was found to be essential and result in better low-contrast performance. No significant effects were observed for different kVps. From the results of this contrast-detail phantom study, the aSi/CsI-based flat-panel digital chest system should perform better under clinical situations for detection of low-contrast objects such as lung nodules. However, proper processing prior to printing would be essential to realizing this better performance.