Recent years have seen a rapidly growing recognition of the complexity and diversity of the myriad individual synaptic connections that define brain synaptic networks. It has also become increasingly apparent that the synapses themselves are a major key to understanding the development, function and adaptability of those synaptic networks. In spite of this growing appreciation, the molecular, structural and functional characteristics of individual synapses and the patterning of their diverse characteristics across functional networks have largely eluded quantitative study with available imaging technologies. Here we offer an overview of new computational imaging methods that promise to bring single-synapse analysis of synaptic networks to the fore. We focus especially on the challenges and opportunities associated with quantitative detection of individual synapses and with measuring individual synapses across network scale populations in mammalian brain.