It’s summer time. This means it’s time to update your camera to catch all of that wonderful outdoor fun in the sun excitement. Unless you don’t like fun or the sun, then I apologize for offending your sensitive nature. But Sony wants to make sure you have the best home videos – complete with all kinds of smiles – to enjoy. And to torture the unlucky visitor who inquires about what you did for vacation lately.

The HDR-CX12 is an upgraded version of the HDR-CX7 flash-based camcorder. This time around Sony has included face-recognition technology and Smile Shutter. Personally I always wonder what the appeal is with “face recognition.” You’re holding the camera, shouldn’t the operator know what they’re shooting? In any case the camera does record in full 920 by 1080 pixel high definition. For those afraid of pressing too many buttons you control the camera using a touch-sensitive LCD screen. It’s a great way to feel your way around the camera whilst simultaneously ensuring a maximum level of smudge marks.

Smile Shutter – for those who just have to know – will automatically snap a picture when you’re taking video. There’s a feature that will be turned off almost immediately. Unless your family is extremely dour you’ll be filling up the memory card every time people laugh.

The Sony HDR-CX12 will be available in August for $900.

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