The camera on the HTC HD2 is probably the best the company has whacked on to any of its models thus far.

Sadly, that's not saying much, as some efforts from the brand have been truly awful, clearly a low priority in the design stages, but the hardware on the HD2 isn't too shabby at all.

The main problem is there isn't a camera button on the phone – this means manually having to either trawl through the Windows menu to open up the camera, or using the Photos and Videos tab and hitting the camera icon.

HTC hd2

If you're intending to quickly capture a picture of a duck struggling to swallow a fish before it's dragged under the water, this probably isn't the phone for you.

However, the camera isn't the worst of its kind in the world, offering not only a variety of photography options and tools, but also taking some half decent pictures.

The odd thing is that while the camera is 5MP, there's no option to take pictures at a lower resolution (apart from for a contact picture, but that's tiny). Panorama mode stitches together a number of pictures to make a full horizon vista, but we're starting to wonder if this is more of a fad than anything else.

The dual flash LED is a first for HTC as well, and helps in lower light conditions (obviously).

HTC hd2

Well, it not only helps but were you in some kind of mortal danger against the legions of darkness you could probably win with the war with the HD2, such is the brightness of the flash.

One of the cool features to come with the HD2's camera is touch focus. We've seen this on high-end camera phones from Samsung, such as the Pixon12, but it's the first time we've played with it on an HTC model.

It basically means you can press a portion of the screen, and the phone will focus in on it and take a phone for you. Given the absence of a dedicated camera button, it's touches like this that make the camera more usable.

You can alter elements like the effects used, such as Negative or Sepia, and also the ISO settings range from 100 through to 800, with auto mode engaged by default.

HTC hd2

The white balance is pretty comprehensive too, with brightness also an option. In short, there are enough options here for the moderately knowledgeable photographer to get his teeth into.

Picture quality is only OK, perhaps a bit sharper with the flash (which may be because the light is so bright it actually hacks the edges off things).

Here's a selection of photos to show of the HTC HD2's photography prowess:

HTC hd2

PHOTO SAMPLE: General image quality is OK, although detail is a little fuzzy

HTC hd2

PHOTO SAMPLE: The camera on the HD2 handles bright light well, capturing a lot of detail from the sky

HTC hd2

PHOTO SAMPLE: While close focusing is decent, colour reproduction is not

HTC hd2

PHOTO SAMPLE: The touch to focus option is a nice touch, meaning you can choose the photo's subject

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PHOTO SAMPLE: As you can see, the dual LED flash is brighter than the sun itself, and only when you move around two metres back can any detail be made out on objects. Note: you will likely blind (and lose) friends

HTC hd2

Shutter time is a bit more of an issue, with it taking between 1-2 seconds to take a snap once the on-screen button is pressed, depending on how much the HD2 has to focus. The constantly updating autofocus mode is nice, but it does hamper speed somewhat.

Video is also pretty good on the HD2, with VGA recording in MP4 the default offering.

We can't find out the specs on frame rate, but after testing it we'd imagine it's somewhere around 15-24 frames per second, which isn't too bad. It's not going to be good enough for the silver screen, but it is perfectly adequate for a day at the beach.

Video also has a pleasing array of options - you can change the resolution or file format to MP4/H.263, and there's also the option to record film applicable to an MMS message.