A student is simply “a person who is studying at a school or college,” so it’s a bit of a reach to find a couple of cameras that appeal universally to such a broad demographic. But the common thread in this roundup is that these cameras can all take good shots in just about any setting and all offer a great value. Whether it’s for a psych major in a sorority or an art student who sits in the workshop for days at a time, one of the shooters below will get the job done without breaking the bank.
Point-and-Shoots: Student life takes place in some pretty dimly lit places, whether it’s at raucous house parties and sports bars or more wholesome locales like auditoriums or theaters. Most pocket-sized shooters can’t really cut it in those scenarios, but there are a handful that can. Any model with a CMOS sensor or bright aperture will work (even better if it’s both), and most of them offer speedy performance and full-resolution high-def video, too. The most affordable models start around $179, and offer just as sharp image quality as their feature-laden, more-expensive siblings.
DSLRs: Then there are the bona-fide photography students. Whether for art, commerce, or journalism, a proper DSLR is a must-have. Pocket cameras just don’t offer the image quality or hands-on control that serious photography requires. Despite the bulkier bodies and higher price tags, these serious cameras are worth every penny paid. Even DSLRs toward the low end of the price range should last through a few years, though, so there’s no need to jump straight into the semi-professional range just yet.