Everyone who has a smartphone – and these days, that’s pretty much everyone – has access to a quality camera in their back pocket. While these are great for the casual Instagrammer or party attendee, more serious photographers will likely want a camera that gives them more options to explore their artistry while also standing out from the crowd. After all, students are making first impressions when they first move onto campus, and there’s no better conversation piece than unique photography gear.
While not the cheapest gift you can get your undergrad, the Lumix ZS100 is still the best bang for the buck for aspiring professional photographers who take their craft seriously. This model comes with a 1-inch sensor and a zoom lens that is very adapt at framing shots flexibly and fast. It also supports 4K video – the industry standard – making it a serious tool they can use for multiple projects.
This model is a generation old, and packs less of a punch than the Lumix AS100, but is the perfect option for a student upgrading from a compact point-and-shoot. This model has the image quality and performance of a dSLR camera and is more affordable than current generation models. It’s still not cheap with an MSRP over $500, but it’s a less pricy venture for parents who are worried about theft on campus.
For parents who are extremely cost-conscious – or for students who are more into the novelty of photography than the artistry – the Polaroid Snap is a great camera to take to school. It’s a combination between a standard digital camera that uses a microSD memory card as well as the instant cameras that made the Polaroid name famous. A small 2×3-inch photo automatically prints from the device in real time to give users photos on the go, but the digital copy stays on the camera for future prints and sharing online.
Once the memory on any of these cameras gets full, students can backup their files to the cloud using the Fasetto app to share their college memories with friends and family back home.