Impedance contrast images can result from a least-squares migration or from a modified imaging principle. Theoretically, the two approaches should give similar results, but in practice they lead to different estimates of the impedance contrasts because of limited acquisition geometry, difficulty in computing exact weights for least-squares migration, and small contrast approximation. To analyze those differences, we compare the two approaches based on 2D synthetics. Forward modeling is either a finite-difference solver of the full acoustic wave equation or a one-way wave-equation solver that correctly models the amplitudes. The modified imaging principle provides better amplitude estimates of the impedance contrasts and does not suffer from the artifacts at-tributable to diving waves, which can be seen in two-way, least-squares migrated sections. However, because of the shot-based formulation, artifacts appear in the modified imaging principle results in shadow zones where energy is defocused. Those artifacts do not exist with the least-squares migration algorithm because all shots are processed simultane-ously.

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