Soft X-ray diagnostics at present are not adequate for a burning plasma experiment, neither in term of hardware nor as diagnostic conception. Detectors have to be radiation tolerant, easily shielded, with low sensitivity to neutrons and gammas and with energy discrimination. Layout and viewing capability should be more flexible, thanks to the use also of optical devices, going toward a configuration intermediate between discrete tomography and pure imaging. The general conception of these diagnostics should therefore evolve in the direction of pattern recognition for a real time feedback. This work is focused on the diagnostic developments undertaken at the ENEA- Frascati X-ray Laboratory, following in particular three directions: gas detector for fast and advanced high density tomography, C-MOS solid state imaging detectors for slow control and X-ray polycapillary optics. GEM gas detectors in photon counting mode (noise free) were developed in the range 1-30 keV having high efficiency, high time resolution (up to microseconds), energy discrimination in bands and optical flexibility. Discrimination of X-rays, neutrons and gammas has been demonstrated, thanks to the combination of intrinsic gain and discrimination thresholds, at neutron fluxes (107 n/s*cm2) comparable with the expected ones at the ports of ITER. GEM detectors are also extremely flexible in the design, allowing optimization of the measurements and solutions for shielding or minimization of the effect of background radiation. Two solid state C-MOS imagers working in photon counting mode, one based on Si semiconductor (Medipix-2, range 5-30 keV) and the other one having a CdTe sensor (Pixirad, range 2-100 keV) have been characterized in laboratory. C-MOS imagers have features and performances thoroughly complementary to the GEM detector and, thanks to their higher pixel density, could be used as remote imaging detectors coupled to optics. X-ray polycapillary lenses have been therefore studied in the laboratory both as imaging optical device (full lens) or to define a line of sight (cylinder lens); the preliminary results are encouraging toward the goal of using these lenses to transport X-ray radiation far from the reactor. Reflective or diffractive X-ray optics can be also an option for tomography. A GEM detector has been installed at KSTAR and in the next future hopefully the other approaches will be tested there: once their feasibility will be demonstrated, the issue of the improvement of the radiation tolerance will be faced and the development of algorithms for data analysis as well. © 2014 American Institute of Physics.