Regardless of whether or not this is your first semester or you're heading back for another year, you'll want a camera if you have to do anything remotely creative. Sure, the camera on your smartphone is pretty great, but will it suffice for everything? Besides, these might be some of the best years of your life, and you'll want to remember them for years to come. Here are some of the best cameras that you can buy this year when heading back to school.
The X30 is Fuji's latest in a long line of X-series all-in-one compacts that punches way above its weight. It doesn't deliver quite the same technical performance as the RX100 can from Sony, but it has a unique look and feel to it, with one of the best lenses available at this sort of price. For Full HD video, super macro close-ups that can focus up to 10mm up close and some very attractive film simulation modes this is a good deal. If you want to add a little romance to taking photos, this is the best compact to do that with.
Buy the FujiFilm X30 from Amazon here.
Samsung Galaxy Camera 2
The original Galaxy Camera was a pretty clever piece of engineering, offering up decent optical performance and technical performance along with the creature comforts of Android. With this second-generation version, Samsung slimmed things down quite a bit and stuck with the same great formula from last time around. It might not be the best thing out there where photographic performance is concerned, but with the power of Android and all of its apps that go along with it – Google Photos, anyone? – the Galaxy Camera 2 is a modern camera through and through.
Buy the Galaxy Camera 2 from Amazon here.
You might think that the Digital SLR in this day and age is behind the times, and while for some uses that can be true, they still have a lot of life left in them. Because they have larger sensors recording the image, you get much, much more detail and if you're doing a course where you need to study buildings, take photos for projects or you just want to get into photography, then a dSLR is a good option. This Nikon is an entry-level beast, but it will support all of the lenses available, so you can happily keep on exploring the world of lenses and perfecting your craft.
Buy the Nikon D5300 from Amazon here.
Sony RX100 Mk III
Sony's smartphones have excellent cameras in their own right, but you haven't seen anything until you've experience the compact powerhouse of the third-generation RX100. There's a fourth-generation becoming available now, but the third will be cheaper and do most of what you need it to. The sensor here is excellent and the Carl Zeiss lens is great as well. For great video and a more compact size than others in this list, the RX100 is worth the asking price.
Buy the Sony RX100 from Amazon here.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
What this camera isn't, is cheap. The DMC-GH4 from Panasonic is really quite expensive, but for good reason. If you're doing a film course or anything that needs documenting with video, you can't go wrong with this and for the price, this actually does everything really, really well. It'll record 4K video, but it's an amateur filmmaker's best friend as well as as photographer's best tool. Pricey, without doubt but excellent for both video and photo.
Buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 from Amazon here.