I have a project (more on that later) that requires close-up macro imaging.
I got a Logitech C310 webcam on Amazon and I think I can make it do a good job. This camera does not have autofocus, but it has a fairly decent 1280x960 imager and lens.
Manual focus mod
Here is how I modded it for manual focus.
1. I looked at the video here to see how the unit goes together.
2. I opened up the camera module this far, and looked at the lens:
3. I used an exacto knife to pick away at the drop of glue that had been used to lock the lens focus in place. After this, the lens barrel will screw in and out to set focus.
4. I removed the lens bezel from one of the plastic parts so that I could get to the focus ring after reassembly. After a first attempt using a dremel tool, I decided to cut edgewise into the bezel molding with a hacksaw blade (with apologies for the fuzzy picture):
5. After reassembly, it looked like this:
I can still drop the cut-off bezel back in place when I want to, to make it look neater and control stray light a bit.
The lens seems to be fairly sharp over most of its field. In macro photography, you tend to have a very shallow depth of field, which means the photographer often has to stop down the aperture and throw LOTS of light on the object. With this lens there is no practical way to reduce aperture, so you have to live with the fact that only objects which are really close to the plane of focus will be sharp.
That last photo is a close up of some 0.016-inch-diameter music wire. And that has to do with my project plan.