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This paper describes a run-time reconfigurable architecture targeted to flexible low-level image processing functions. The purpose is to present the evolution of the DRIP (dynamically reconfigurable image processor) architecture from a statically configurable datapath design to a dynamically reconfigurable approach. The methodology used to redefine the datapath basic building blocks and the hardware units developed to provide an efficient and flexible image processing system are also discussed. An important issue is the granularity of the basic processing elements of the datapath, in view of the combination of programmable function by hardware control-the classical datapath paradigm-and the dynamic reconfiguration. DRIP can perform a large set of digital image processing algorithms with real-time performance to fulfill the requirements of contemporary complex applications.