An approach reported recently by Alexandrov et al (2005 Int. J. Imag. Syst. Technol. 14 253-8) on optical scatter imaging, termed digital Fourier microscopy (DFM), represents an adaptation of digital Fourier holography to selective imaging of biological matter. The holographic mode of the recording of the sample optical scatter enables reconstruction of the sample image. The form-factor of the sample constituents provides a basis for discrimination of these constituents implemented via flexible digital Fourier filtering at the post-processing stage. As in dark-field microscopy, the DFM image contrast appears to improve due to the suppressed optical scatter from extended sample structures. In this paper, we present the theoretical and experimental study of DFM using a biological phantom that contains polymorphic scatterers.