I was playing with an old point and shoot camera and I made this close-up photo of a pepper:
I took many photos and it seems I can’t get a sharp image across the whole object. Can I make this better with settings? Is 8 megapixels not enough?
Or is my point-and-shoot camera really that bad that the only chance of improving this image is with a new camera body and a better lens (macro lens)? If so, what cheaper options do I have (beginner lens + extension tube)?
My settings: f7.1 1/4 sec ISO-80 Camera model: Canon PowerShot S5 IS Focal length: 6mm
I took another photo: The front side seems sharp enough but how can I make the left side that is further away from the camera just as sharp? f/8 1/5 sec ISO-80
You can increase the Depth of Focus by closing the aperture (like f/22, or even f/45).
That has other side effects, though - you get less light, potentially higher ISO and more noise, diffraction, etc.; but you could just add more light or take longer shutter times (peppers don't move around, fortunately).
Professionals typically do Focus-Stacking; that means you take multiple shots (with a tripod), with slightly changing focus planes, and then combine them together in processing software. For example, Adobe PhotoShop does that nearly automatically.
Try a subject with more texture. Your pepper doesn't have much detail to show to begin with.
Before investing in a better camera you could try:
Shooting raw. Custom firmware allows various Canon Point&Shoot cameras to offer more software related features.
Getting a macro lens. These attach to your lens and allow you to shoot closeups while zoomed in, provide more magnification. Raynox ones also have a more flexible mounting system. Need to double check if you can mount them on your camera's lens.