Sony has launched six high-definition Handycam models. Some models feature Face Detection for both video and photos, alongside smart new functions throughout the range for viewing, managing and sharing videos.

The entire Sony AVCHD range offers 1920-x-1080 full HD pictures, and captures video onto built-in hard drives, HDV tapes or DVD discs. Still image quality has been enhanced up to 10 megapixels, rivalling the quality of top-flight digital cameras according to Sony. The ClearVid CMOS sensor now features Exmor technology that adds a column A/D converter to the sensor, which combines ultra high resolution capture with high sensitivity and lower noise.

The Bionz image processor that made its debut in Sony’s Alpha and Cyber-shot digital cameras is now incorporated into Handycam range. This high-performance imaging engine supports the high-speed signal processing that’s required for many new features. In addition, the premium Carl Zeiss lens now offers a maximum 15x zoom range, with Super SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilisation for all models.

The Face Detection function promises better-looking faces by adjusting focus, exposure and colour control automatically. Face Detection Bit Allocation takes this a step further, allocating more information to faces within the frame for the best-possible quality.

Another smart function previously found in Sony's Alpha digital SLR and Cyber-shot still cameras is the D-Range Optimiser. This controls exposure and contrast for great results, even when you’re shooting against the sun or in tricky high-contrast conditions.

The AVCHD HDD range supports up to 120GB of hard disk in the range-leading HDR-SR12E. The models also feature a 16Mbps full HD picture quality mode, up to 10 Megapixel resolution still image capture, Face Detection and D-Range Optimiser for shooting, plus Xtra Fine LCD for viewing (HDR-SR11E/12E).

The AVCHD DVD lets users archive HD recordings onto compact 8cm DVD discs and removable Memory Stick. Recording time is extended to almost 7 hours with dual layer disc and the new 16GB Memory Stick* (optional). In addition, the UX19E (above) features Hybrid Plus technology, which records another 3 hours to its 8GB internal memory.

Sony has also launched the HC9E (above), which records HDV video onto miniDV tapes. It offers advanced functions such as spot metering and focus using the LCD screen, peaking to assist manual focus and manual focus to infinity.