OBJECTIVE. The in vivo radiographic features of two commercially available formulations of barium used as contrast media in dedicated small- bowel series were compared. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Fifty-six consecutive outpatients referred for a dedicated small-bowel series were randomly administered either E-Z-Paque or Entrobar. Representative survey radiographs from each examination were randomized and reviewed by six gastrointestinal radiologists from three institutions. Each observer assigned a numeric score (1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good, and 4 = excellent) that rated the quality of the radiograph with respect to these characteristics: definition of fold pattern, translucency, distention, and integrity of the barium column. Statistical analysis was performed for each characteristic using Wilcoxon's two-sample rank sum test. RESULTS. All six observers found a statistically significant difference between the two barium formulations for mean scores for definition of fold pattern and translucency. Mean scores for fold pattern were 3.3, 3.0, 3.2, 3.6, 3.3, and 3.4 for Entrobar and 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2, 2.6, and 2.7 for E-Z-Paque. Mean scores for translucency were 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 2.7, and 3.3 for Entrobar and 1.6, 1.7, 2.1, 2.3, 1.9, and 2.7 for E-Z- Paque. No statistically significant difference was found for mean score for distention or integrity of the barium column. CONCLUSION. On radiographs, Entrobar was found to have superior characteristics for visualization of fold pattern and translucency but offered no advantages for distention or integrity of the barium column. Improved translucency and definition of fold pattern may translate into improved sensitivity and confidence in diagnosing small-bowel abnormality.