We describe a direct x-ray imaging system that uses an amplified metal-oxide-semiconductor imager to detect soft x rays directly for real-time imaging. From the absolute sensitivity of this system as measured through the use of a monochromatic synchrotron radiation beam and a GaAsP Schottky-type photodiode, the minimum sensitivity at a wavelength of 13 nm was estimated to be greater than 10(8)photons mm(-2). This is sufficient to detect soft x rays directly for real-time imaging. Onion cell observations at wavelengths of 4.3 and 4.6 nm indicate that x-ray absorption by the carbon in the cells was detected. This is a promising imaging system for the soft x-ray region in which conventional CCD's are difficult to use.