Digital holography is a well-known technique for both sensing and displaying real-world three-dimensional objects. Compression of digital holograms has been studied extensively, and the errors introduced by lossy compression are routinely evaluated in a reconstruction domain. Mean-square error predominates in the evaluation of reconstruction quality. However, it is not known how well this metric corresponds to what a viewer would regard as perceived error, nor how consistently it functions across different holograms and different viewers. In this study, we evaluate how each of seventeen viewers compared the visual quality of compressed and uncompressed holograms' reconstructions. Holograms from five different three-dimensional objects were used in the study, captured using a phase-shift digital holography setup. We applied two different lossy compression techniques to the complex-valued hologram pixels: uniform quantization, and removal and quantization of the Fourier coefficients, and used seven different compression levels with each. Â© 2010 SPIE.