I do my own work on my car and computer and as you have recommended it I have found that it can be really handy to take pictures. With pictures I've found it can be so much easier to put something back together.
Presently I am taking pictures with a digital camera.
Digital cameras often don't take good pictures up close with an automatic focus. They often focus on an object that is near the subject of the picture, but not the actual subject of the picture itself. The display on the camera is so small I often can't tell if the subject is in focus. So when I actually press the shutter button, I really don't know if the subject is going to be in focus.
In this situation I usually take several pictures because I can't tell exactly if the picture is any good. Then I upload the pictures to my laptop. Once I have a large picture on the laptop screen, I can really tell if it is good or not. Sometimes if none of the pictures have come out well, I go back and take more pictures.
I would like to get together a better setup for taking pictures. I thought a USB webcam setup with a software controlled focus and shutter would work better. The webcam could be attached to the end of something like these led desklamps on eBay
with a clamp on the opposite end.
With such a setup it would be a total WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) situation. I could clamp the flexible arm of the mount somewhere near the subject. I could then adjust the field of view by moving the camera on the end of the flexible arm. Then I could focus it with the software controlled focus. Then when the picture is exactly as I see it onscreen, I could take a snapshot of the picture with the software. This would be much easier and faster than reiteritively snapping shots and uploading them from a digital camera.
Currently I don't even know if such a USB "software controlled focus and shutter" webcam even exists, but I thought if there was such a thing you might know about it. Is there some kind of standard name for such a camera? And is there some kind of standardized way to control the focus on such a camera? If there is I can probably find something in Ubuntu that will make it work. Also, is there any type of software you recommend for controlling such a webcam?