Sony is launching a new Handycam digital camcorder this week that automatically takes a photo if a subject smiles while it's busy recording video. The Handycam HDR-CX11E is a £699 camcorder that records video to a flash memory card.

Sony explains that its Smile Shutter technology ensures that every time a subject smiles during recording, a 7.6Mp still image is also captured. 'Smile sensitivity' can be adjusted so that the Handycam reacts to different levels of smile from a gentle curve of the lips to a beaming grin. In addition, the smile sensor can be primed to recognise children's or adults' faces.

The HD camcorder has a 2.7in LCD touchscreen display, is capable of capturing video at 1,920x1,080 and supports 5.1 surround sound audio.

Video footage is saved to a Memory Stick - Sony supplies a 4GB Memory Stick along with the £699 CX100E Handycam. This should be capacious enough to store up to 85 minutes of full HD content. The camcorder is able to accept support memory sticks up to 16GB.

The camcorder has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with a 12x optical zoom. Its ClearVid CMOS sensor is intended to produce clear, sharp images.

In commomn with the TG3 camcorder we reviewed earlier this year, the Sony Handycam HDR-CX11E has a built-in zoom microphone that minimises background noise so you can clearly hear what the main subject is saying.

The device also has both face-detection and image-stabilisation features. An HDMI port is included so the camcorder can be hooked up to an HD-ready television.

Available from from 1st August, the Handycam HDR-CX11E is priced at £699.

Sony Handycam HDR-CX11E camcorder

Sony Handycam HDR-CX11E camcorder