The possible effects of experimental bandwidth limitation on the accuracy of the energy distribution of the density of localized states (DOS) calculated from transient photoconductivity data by the Fourier transform method is examined. An argument concerning the size of missing contributions to the numerical Fourier integrals is developed. It is shown that the degree of distortion is not necessarily large even for relatively small experimental bandwidths. The density of states calculated from transient photodecay measurements in amorphous arsenic triselenide is validated by comparing with modulated photocurrent data. It is pointed out that DOS distributions calculated from transient photoconductivity data at a high photoexcitation density are valid under certain conditions. This argument is used to probe the conduction band tail in undoped a-Si:H to energies shallower than 0.1 eV below the mobility edge. It is concluded that there is a deviation in the DOS from exponential at about 0.15 eV below the mobility edge. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.