HTC Desire Camera Review Spec and Sample Photos

This page demonstrates the quality of the new HTC Desire Android phone's camera. This is a fantastic new phone from HTC, but I harp on about that here, just the picture quality from the phone's camera. I'll include some sample photos to highlight various aspects of the camera's performance, and some screenshots to show the various menus.

HTC Desire Camera Spec

HTC Desire Camera Spec
O/S version reviewedAndroid 2.1
Size3.7 inch
Screen Resolution800 x 480 WVGA AMOLED
CardMicro SD >32Gb
Camera Spec
Camera Resolution0.3Mp, 1Mp, 3Mp, 5Mp
AspectWide 2592 x 1552
Normal 2592 x 1952
Face DetectionYes
FlashSingle LED Flash
FocusTouch to auto-focus
OrientationAutomatic by accelerometer
ISOManual/Auto. 100, 200, 400, 800 ISO

HTC Desire Sample Photos

Here are some sample photos taken with the HTC Desire. Overall, the picture quality is pretty good. HTC Android phones have generally been pretty poor as cameras in the past, but the Desire is a step forward. Geo-tagging is a nice feature, which stores the phone's geographical location within each photo's EXIF data. The EXIF data is a little sparse though, omitting exposure time, white balance, and most other useful EXIF tags, but most people won't care about that. Best quality pictures usually come out at around 1 to 1.5Mb.

HTC Desire Sample Photo

Photo Sample

Nicely exposed, sharp, and accurate colours. Taken in default widescreen mode, maximum quality and resolution.
Full Size Photo [1.66Mb]
HTC Desire Close-up Sample Photo


The HTC Desire doesn't have a Macro Mode, but closeups are quite good. The phone will focus at up to about 10cm, as in this shot. Also show here is the Time-stamp feature.
Full Size Photo [1.15Mb]
HTC Desire Close-up Sample Photo

Another Sample Photo

The Desire's camera sharpens images a LOT, even with default settings. You can see a lot of sharpening especially around the cat's whiskers.
Full Size Photo [0.95Mb]

HTC Desire Quality Setting

The Desire's camera settings include a setting for Quality, allowing High, Fine and Normal quality. I've done a bit of experimentation with this to see what the difference is, and whether the higher quality settings are worth the trade-off in file size. The Normal quality setting seems to be encoded as 85% jpeg compression, whereas the Fine and High quality settings are 95% compression. You have to look pretty closely to notice any difference in the three quality settings, and file size difference between worst and best quality setting is around say, 700k and 1400k. We're not exactly short of memory, so I'll be leaving mine on high quality.

HTC Desire ISO and Flash Quality

Here are some sample images taken to show the varying quality from good quality 100 ISO to very noisy useless 800 ISO. Unfortunately the Desire doesn't show the shutter speed in the EXIF data so we can't see how this affects things, but you have to hold the camera very steady in dim light conditions with the better quality 100 or 200 ISO settings. These pictures were taken with fairly bright indoor lighting.

Desire 100 ISO sample
100 ISO
Desire 200 ISO sample
200 ISO
Desire 400 ISO sample
400 ISO
Desire 800 ISO sample
800 ISO
HTC Desire Photo Sample With Flash


The flash is a single, pretty puny LED flash. This shot gives you an idea of the effectiveness in an almost pitch dark room.

HTC Desire Camera Menu Screenshots

Here are a series of screenshots showing the various menus of the HTC Desire's camera.

HTC Desire Camera Screenshot

Screenshot of the camera app on the HTC Desire. Touch the icon in the top right to toggle the flash between On, Auto and Off. The icon below that displays the zoom wheel (see Camera Zoom Wheel below). At the bottom right is a thumbnail displaying the previously taken pictures. Press it to bring up the camera gallery.

HTC Desire Camera Zoom Function

After pressing the Zoom button, swipe the zoom wheel up and down to zoom in and out. Not by much though!

HTC Desire Camera Mode Menu

Switch between camcorder and camera apps.

HTC Desire Camera Brightness Menu

Exposure compensation wheel setting.

HTC Desire Camera Image Properties

Image properties. Changing the contrast, saturation and sharpness here change the image in realtime.

HTC Desire Camera Effects Menu

The usual image effects including greyscale and sepia that you'll probably only ever play with once.

Desire Settings Menu

The settings menu has loads of lovely settings to play with. White balance is probably the most useful that is notable in its absence from some lower end phones. ISO can be set to 100, 200, 400, 800 or left on automatic. Higher ISO settings allow bright pictures to be taken in low light conditions, but they become very grainy and noisy on the Desire's small lens. Resolution can be set to 5Mp, 3Mp, 1Mp or 0.3Mp. All these screenshots are with the widescreen setting ON. Switching it OFF reverts back to the traditional 4:3 aspect and creates black bars on the left and right sides of the display. Quality can be set between High, Fine or Normal. See the picture quality section above for more info on this.

Desire Settings Menu

Self-timer simply displays a countdown on the screen for either 2 or 10 seconds. Geo-tagging is a great feature of newer GPS enabled phones such as the HTC Desire, which embeds the photo's EXIF data with the GPS coordinates of the location the shot was taken. Then, when you load the photos into software such as Picasa/Google Photos, you can display a map with a point showing where the picture was taken. Metering Mode determines how the Desire automatically determine the exposure time to use. You might want to change this if you were taking a photo of a dark object with a bright sky behind, otherwise you would find the object becomes black. Read more about Metering Mode. Review Duration determines how long the image is displayed on screen after you take a photo before being ready to take the next photo. Flicker Adjustment can be set to 50Hz, 60Hz or left on automatic, and I think reduces flicker when you have a light flickering at a similar frequency, such as a CRT monitor or a fluorescent tube light.

Desire Settings Menu

Auto-Focus, when switched on, will decide which part of the frame to focus on, which no doubt will not be the point you want to focus on. Much better is to switch auto-focus OFF, and instead press on the area of the screen you want to focus on, which will then auto-focus on your chosen point. Very clever. Even more clever is Face Detection which you can use if you leave auto-focus on. It will draw a box round each face in the frame, and will follow faces around the frame and try to use those as the auto-focus point. It works brilliantly! Shutter Sound lets you switch off the pointless, annoying camera click sound and Time-Stamp imprints the date and time onto the bottom right of your photos, like your old compact camera used to do. Grid simple draws some points on the screen allowing you to see exactly where the centre is and straighten the frame up.