Whether you're preserving your own memories or those of your family and friends, there is a camera here to meet your needs as everyone heads back to school.
Olympus Stylus SP-100
With a 50x zoom lens, it's easy to lose fast-moving subjects like student athletes from your frame. The SP-100 solves this by giving you a pop-up dot sight: put the crosshairs on your target and they'll be back in your shot.
There are several excellent action cams out there at various price points, but the Hero3+ Black Edition remains our top choice for its features, large number of accessories and mounts, and, most importantly, its video quality.
The affordable and easy-to-use L830 packs a 34x zoom lens, which is great for shooting photos of day games or other events from the audience, but its tilting LCD and solid video quality make it a great choice for shooting movies.
For those who want a long zoom lens but don't want the bulk of a bridge camera, the SX700 HS is a good choice. Plus, with its built-in Wi-Fi you can shoot and share straight to an iOS or Android device or use your device to control the camera so you can get in on all those class photos.
We like to limit our gift recommendations to products less than $500, though we do make a few exceptions. Now that the price of Sony's excellent original RX100 has dropped, it makes a great gift for the student who'd appreciate a general-purpose camera for photographing in relatively dimly lit spaces. If you're willing to spend a little more -- about $150 more -- the RX100 II adds all-important connectivity for sharing via a phone.
Instead of a dSLR, you might want to consider a more compact interchangeable-lens model. Though the NEX-6 has been surpassed by its successor, the Alpha A6000, it's still a great camera and at least at the time of this writing the kit could be found for as low as $500.