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Capture a school year full of memories with these cameras

Whether you're a budding photographer, an adrenaline junkie or just want to do more with the snapper in your phone, here are some options to make sure you don't miss a moment.

Joshua Goldman
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Joshua Goldman
Lori Grunin
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1 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

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2 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Olloclip Photo Lenses for iPhone

If you love your iPhone's camera but feel it could use some help in the lens department, consider some add-on lenses like those by Olloclip. The company has a full lineup for both old and new iPhones including a 2x telephoto lens paired with a circular polarizer lens, a three-in-one macro lens, and its mainstay four-in-one lens featuring fish-eye and wide-angle lenses as well as two macro lenses that focus at 0.7-inch (18mm) and 0.5-inch (12mm) from a subject. The company's newest lenses are designed for the iPhone 6/6 Plus and fit over the top of the phone so you can center a lens over the back or front-facing camera.

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3 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Sony Action Cam Mini

Sony's Action Cam Mini packs fantastic features and video quality, but is small enough to mount where others won't fit -- even in its tough, waterproof housing. It's splashproof without a housing, too, so a little rain or snow won't slow you down.

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4 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Parrot Bebop Drone

The Bebop is small and light enough to slip into a backpack, but it still has big features. And since it can be completely controlled with an Android, iOS or Windows mobile device there's no need to drag around separate controller to easily grab the fantastic aerial shots you want on or off campus.

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5 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Replay XD Prime X

Don't want a big box strapped to your helmet (or anywhere else for that matter)? The Prime X packs Full-HD video capture into waterproof metal tube. It comes with a couple of low-profile mounts as well and the design makes it easy to get a level shot no matter how you attach it.

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6 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Xiaomi Yi

Outside of China Xiaomi is best known for its smartphones, but it has a growing lineup of related devices such as the Mi Band fitness tracker and headphones that it's been putting the Xiaomi name on, including this awesome little camera. For less than $100 you get a very capable video camera with many more shooting options that others at its price. And it's cute, too.

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7 of 10 Lori Grunin/CNET

Panasonic Lumix LX100

Feeling generous? Know a student who's photography deserves more than a phone camera? The LX100 is an excellent enthusiast compact with the facility to handle the noctural pursuits of college students and the just-matriculated.

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8 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony Cyber-shot RX100

A compromise between your A-student-deserves-the-best camera and parents-can-afford budget, the RX100 was our top compact pick until unseated by its subsequent, more expensive sibling, the RX100 II and then the Panasonic LX100. But with its drop in price it's a good value that's  comfortably small and delivers excellent performance and photo quality.

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9 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Nikon D3300

If you'd like to give your student a camera that's a satisfactory step up from point-and-shoots, the Nikon D3300 is an affordable choice and a great first dSLR.

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10 of 10 Sara Tew/CNET

Sony A6000

Once one of our top interchangeable-lens camera picks, the A6000's price has subsequently dropped into the range of an enthusiast compact, making it great budget choice for a grad who's starting to take photography seriously.

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