A hybrid optical/digital method for measuring the displacements of compact images, in particular, particle images recorded on photographic or other recording media in multiple exposure photography. The method compresses the two-dimensional image field of the particles into two one-dimensional line images that are perpendicular to each other. The mean particle displacement between multiple exposures is determined by digitizing the one dimensional images, computing their autocorrelations, and locating the peaks of those autocorrelations. This method is particularly adapted to measure the velocity fields in fluids containing many small particles. Alternatively, when the first and second images of a single particle are the only images in the image field, the displacement is found by locating the peak of each image.