OBJECTIVES:To compare the image quality between fine focal spot size (FFSS) and standard focal spot size (SFSS) in computed tomography of the abdomen and pelvis (CTAP) METHODS: This retrospective review included all consecutive adult patients undergoing contrast-enhanced CTAP between June and September 2014. Two blinded radiologists assessed the margin clarity of the abdominal viscera and the detected lesions using a five-point grading scale. Cohen's kappa test was used to examine the inter-observer reliability between the two reviewers for organ margin clarity. Mann-Whitney U testing was utilised to assess the statistical difference of the organ and lesion margin clarity. RESULTS:100 consecutive CTAPs were recruited. 52 CTAPs were examined with SFSS of 1.1 × 1.2 mm and 48 CTAPs were examined with FFSS of 0.6 × 0.7 mm. Results showed that there was substantial agreement for organ margin clarity (mean κ = 0.759, p < 0.001) among the reviewers. FFSS produces images with clearer organ margins (U = 76194.0, p < 0.001, r = 0.523) and clearer lesion margins (U = 239, p = 0.052, r = 0.269). CONCLUSION:FFSS CTAP improves image quality in terms of better organ and lesion margin clarity. Fine focus CT scanning is a novel technique that may be applied in routine CTAP imaging. KEY POINTS:• Fine focal spot improves organ margin clarity. • Fine focal spot improves lesion margin clarity. • Fine focal spot can be used in routine CT abdominal imaging.