Sony will release the Handycam HDR-CX11E in August, which is its first camcorder to feature Smile Shutter. This Sony technology automatically captures crisp 7.6-megapixel photos when someone smiles.

In ‘Dual Capture’ mode (default), stills are captured whenever someone smiles during movie recording. Switching Smile Shutter to ‘Always On’ mode can even grab photos while you’re in record standby – whether you’re in movie or photo mode.

Sony says that ‘Smile Sensitivity’ can be adjusted to recognise anything from a gentle smile to a beaming grin. Priority can also be set to recognise children or adult’s faces. Smile Shutter is teamed with Face Detection that automatically fine-tunes focus, exposure and colour balance for great-looking videos and photos of friends and family.

The Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens features a powerful 12x optical zoom range, with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for crisper, clearer video and stills.

Powered by the high-speed BIONZ processor, D-range Optimiser technology is designed to automatically adjust exposure and contrast to maximise shadows and highlight detail with tricky high-contrast scenes. Still images are captured in photo mode at an effective resolution of 10.2 megapixels.

The camcorder captures 5.1 channel surround sound, with a zoom microphone function to minimise distracting background noises when images are zoomed in. It also possesses a 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus widescreen touch-panel that displays video and photos with high contrast.

Supplied accessories include a 4GB ‘Memory Stick’ PRO Duo, USB and component A/V cables, Handycam Station and remote controller. There’s also a full range of optional accessories including conversion lenses, batteries, chargers, microphones, tripods, HDMI cables and cases.

The Handycam® HDR-CX11E will be available from August 2008. Pricing details have yet to be released.