Direct-illumination CCDs find increasing use in coherent X-ray imaging due to their good spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. These CCDs offer a high quantum efficiency for soft X-rays near the 3d transition metal L edges. We compare front- and back-illuminated CCDs and describe a method to obtain images with a large dynamic range (five orders of magnitude) and high spatial resolution. Back-illuminated CCDs are resistant to radiation damage at the soft X-ray energies and provide a true 13.5 μm pixel resolution. High quality diffraction images are obtained in magnetic studies from metallic multilayer structures in reflection geometry.