By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: Sony has launched what it claims is the first camcorder in the world that can take photos automatically when people smile during video recording.

The new HDR-CX12 Handycam, due for a late July release in Japan, uses Sony’s ‘Smile Shutter’ system to detect a person smiling when recording footage, and takes a photo automatically. Sony claims photos can be up to an equivalent of 7.6 megapixels (widescreen).

The HDR-CX12 records in 1920 x 1080, but Sony said it will only record in 1080i. The camcorder also comes with Sony’s other high-end image processing software, such as the ‘Bionz’ system used in its Alpha DSLRs and ‘Exmor’ noise reduction sensor.

Recording will be to Memory Stick, with an 8 GB model included in the package.

Recommended retail is set at 130,000 yen, equivalent to approximately A$1,300, but Sony also lists its price as ‘Open’.

No local release date or price has been set.