More and more digital point-and-shoot cameras are coming with digital macro features, and close-up lenses for digital SLR cameras have become plenty affordable. When working with such a process, the distance between the lense and the object is essential for proper focus and clarity. Photographer Ken Stewart states, "I found myself wanting a macro focusing rail so I could smoothly and precisely vary the distance between my camera and the subject to get the focus right. A quick check of the web showed me that the cheapest Manfrotto slide I could find was $80 (plus tax and shipping, of course), but I figured I could do better with a little ingenuity, and an obligatory trip to Home Depot.
I wasn't certain what I was looking for, but I knew the ideal donor item would have to be cheap and sturdy, and reasonably precise. If I had been willing to settle for two of those three properties, I would have had multiple options, but given that I wanted all three, I ended up settling on a cheap, benchtop vise for a drill stand, courtesy of Home Depot."
Read Ken's full how-to here.
Total cost = under $20.