Whether your mom is an enthusiast or a 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 it's 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 your 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 several generations old, but that just means it's inexpensive enough to make an affordable yet terrific gift.
Nikon's current just-above-entry dSLR, the D5500, is great for everything the family photographer wants; the only significant downside is that it's got a smaller grip than many other dSLRs. Then again, where Mom's concerned, that may be a plus.
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.
This one's a few years 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 mashup 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, it also stores a digital version of your photos on 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 for the ultimate 360-degree selfie. Oh, and it captures video, too, if you want to really capture your surroundings for people to explore.
It's on the expensive side, but if your mom likes street photography, the X100F is a relatively compact option with an APS-C-size sensor for leveling up over a compact and downsizing from a dSLR.