Effects of photoinhibition on photosynthesis in pea (Pisum sativum L.) leaves were investigated by studying the relationship between the severity of a photoinhibitory treatment (measured as F_v/F_m) and several photoacoustic and chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters. Because of the observed linear relationship between the decline of F_v/F_m and the potential oxygen evolution rate determined by the photoacoustic method, the parameter F_v/F_m was used as an indicator for the severity of photoinhibition. Our analysis revealed that part of the Photosystem II (PS II) reaction centers is inactive in oxygen evolution and is also less sensitive to photoinhibition. Correcting the parameter q_P (fraction of open PS II reaction centers) for inactive PS II centers unveiled a strong increase of q_P in severely inhibited pea leaves, indicating that the inactivated active centers do no longer contribute to q_P and that photoinhibition has an all or none effect on PS II centers. Analysis of q_E (energy quenching) demonstrated its initial increase possibly associated with dephosphorylation of LHC II. Analysis of q_I (photoinhibition dependent quenching) showed that the half-time of recovery of q_I increases steeply below an F_v/F_m of 0.65. This increase of the relaxation half-time corresponds with a decrease of the electron transport rate J and tentatively indicates that the supply of ATP, needed for the recovery, starts to decrease. The data indicate the necessity of correcting for inactive centers in order to make valuable conclusions about effects of photoinhibition on photosynthetic parameters.