Light microscopy is a key component of the experimental toolkit that is available to cell biologists. However, the resolution of fluorescence microscopy is limited by the wavelength of the light used to observe samples. More recently, ‘super-resolution microscopy’ approaches have been used to study cellular structures at much higher resolution. Markus Sauer and colleagues (p. 570) now show that super-resolution microscopy can achieve results that are comparable with those obtained by electron microscopy, while being less invasive. The authors employ direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM) to investigate the structure of nuclear-pore complexes (NPCs) in isolated Xenopus oocyte nuclear envelopes. By using fluorescently labelled antibodies against the NPC component gp120 and fluorescently labelled wheat germ agglutinin bound to nucleoporins, they are able to resolve NPC structures at a resolution of ~15 nm. Additionally, they confirm the eightfold radial symmetry of gp120 dimers around the NPC and overlay more than 600 images to determine the diameter of the central NPC channel to be 41±7 nm. The researchers propose that, in the future, the high optical resolution achieved with this approach will allow functional imaging with – yet unprecedented – spatio-temporal resolution.