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Gift your grad a great camera

Life is full of new adventures. Get your grad something to help them shoot and share whatever may come.

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Joshua Goldman, Lori Grunin
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1 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

Soon enough they'll be doing the 9-5 thing; now's the  time to encourage their sense of freedom and creativity. And a camera's just the thing to do the trick.

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GoPro Hero4 Silver

This is the GoPro to get your grad at the moment, thanks to its excellent video and photo quality and a built-in touchscreen that makes it easy to control the camera and frame your shots.

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Parrot Bebop drone

The Bebop is small and light enough to slip into a backpack, but it still has big features. It can be completely controlled with an Android, iOS or Windows mobile device or you can get it with a controller so you can more easily grab the fantastic aerial shots you want.

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Fujifilm FinePix S1

For graduates about to do a little or a lot of traveling after school, the S1 is a nice choice. It's 50x zoom lens goes from wide for landscapes and group photos to extreme telephoto for getting closer architecture or wildlife. But the best part is that its the only one of its kind that is weather resistant, so a little rain, snow or dust won't matter.

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Olloclip Photo Lenses for iPhone

If your grad loves his or her iPhone's camera but feels 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 newest 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6/6 Plus fits over the top of the phone and centers a lens over the back camera and the other over the front camera.

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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, something GoPro's cameras can't claim.

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Nikon D3300

If you'd like to give your grad 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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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Feeling generous? Know a grad 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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Sony Alpha 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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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-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. It's comfortably small and delivers excellent performance and photo quality.

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Lensbaby LM010 Sweet Spot Lens for Mobile

A fun, inexpensive gift for a phone-camera-obsessed grad is this Lensbaby special-effect lens. It's inexpensive and a creative way to enhance photos that can't quite be replicated with software filters.

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