how to achieve out of focus background

I have a Canon PowerShot A710 and would like to take photos with a
blurred background.
As per the user guide, I have turned the scene selection to Av and
chosen F1.8. Since the viewfinder showed the background in focus,
I also took a photo with a lens setting of F8.0
The photos look identical - all is in focus - no blurring of the background I was trying to achieve.
What am I doing wrong?

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Depth of Field

You are doing nothing wrong. The problem is the camera. It is not possible to get the shallow depth of field you want because even with a wide aperture, the lens is too small in actual focal length (5.4-16.2mm). You can really only achieve those types of photos with a MILC or better yet a DSLR camera.

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depth of field

Thank you for your very prompt answer.
This 'advanced Camera User Guide' states that the feature is available and certainly leads one to believe that
it will blur the background. Sounded good and simple, so I thought I was not following the instructions correctly. Unfortunately, I don't have my old SLR any longer.
I am really disappointed that this feature even though available, is just not effective at all. Is this true for all
digital cameras?

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Aperture, Focal Length, Distance from Subject

The inability to create a blurred background is true for any compact camera. There are really only two exceptions. One is macro photography. It is possible to have a shallow depth of field shooting macro, i.e. flowers, insects...very small subjects. This is because the distance from the subject is very short, which helps to decrease the depth of field. Two is a few newer cameras have a background defocus feature, but it is not done optically, it is done through processing after the photo is taken.

Here is a link to an excellent video describing how to achieve a shallow depth of field with a DSLR camera. The same rules would apply to a compact camera, but as I said before, it is not physically possible because of the size of the lens:

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Great link - thanks sooo much Grin
Found a suggestion there to use Photoshop to blur parts of the image.
I have Photoshop Elements and hope that it can be done with that as well. <div>

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