A new optical measuring technique of tip penetration of a diesel fuel spray was developed by detecting the arrival times of the spray tip at several light sheets which were preset at various axial locations downstream. Verified by the instantaneous photographic technique, it was confirmed that this technique is effective, with sufficient accuracy, for measuring the spray tip penetration much more easily than the conventional photographic technique. The tip penetrations of diesel sprays injected through single-hole nozzles with various orifice lengths and diameters has been investigated over a wide range of the operating conditions by this technique. The spray injected through two multihole nozzles, either with or without a sac volume, has also been characterized. The results showed that the spray tip penetration is affected somewhat by the operating conditions. Eventually it is affected by the injected fuel momentum flowrate, nozzle geometry and ambient gas density.