We studied the effect of the laser beam focusing geometry on the continuous optical discharge (COD) properties. We used a full two-dimensional radiative gas-dynamic model for the COD, maintained by a vertical CO(2) laser beam in free air atmosphere, in the Earth's gravitational field. The model takes into account all of the factors that are of importance in laser-sustained plasma processes, and uses realistic quasi optics to describe the laser radiation propagation. Results are presented for the optical discharge parameters as functions of applied laser power and degree (f-number) to which the laser beam is focused. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.