Whether she's an enthusiast or full-auto photographer, the ZS100 delivers the upgrade in image quality a 1-inch sensor affords with enough of a zoom lens for a lot of framing flexibility and sufficiently fast to capture kids and pets in action. Plus it supports 4K video for the sharpest capture possible.
If Mom's really into photography, this compact is one of the best you can get without breaking the bank.
Is Mom looking to downsize from a dSLR or upgrade from a compact? A great interchangeable-lens model with the image quality and performance of a dSLR, the A6000 is a generation old, but that just means it's inexpensive enough to make an affordable yet terrific gift.
A small dSLR alternative, one of the best things about the Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens cameras is that the lenses are tiny -- you can throw five in your bag and barely feel them. The E-M10 Mark II is fast, with solid photo quality and a useful feature set.
Nikon's current just-above-entry dSLR is great for everything the family photographer wants; the only significant downside is that it's got a smaller grip than many other dSLRs. But where Mom's concerned, that may be a plus.
This one's a few year's old, but it's still a solid general-purpose smaller-than-usual dSLR and now a much more affordable gift for a mom who wants to step up.
A mash-up between a small-format instant printer and a digital camera, the Snap works pretty much like an old-school Polaroid camera. Pop-up the viewfinder, take a shot and out comes a 2x3-inch print to share with friends and family. Unlike the instant cameras of yore, though, you also get a digital version of your photos stored a microSD card.
It's the snapshot camera of the future, but available right now. With a single button press the Theta S instantly captures a spherical photo that you can send to your phone and upload to Facebook or Twitter to for the ultimate 360-degree selfie. Oh, and it captures video, too, if you want to really capture your surrounding for people to explore.