Cameras have tools on them. Each setting, each control, each feature is a tool. I know this was not headed that way but I do not see people as better or worse photographers based on what tool in their tool box they are using. Is it nice to have more tools in the box so you can use them at certain times. By all means but if I choose not to use certain tools, that is fine as well. The finished photo is what is judged. When we say auto, (on canon I say green box) it is a tool that will do everything for you. A great tool where snapshots and recording moments with the family is the goal. BUT, there is no real creativity except in your composition of course. The camera picks everything so if you want a blurred background and the camera says there is enough light to use a smaller aperture, then you will get a picture with a lot of depth of field and not a blurred one as you were thinking. Program allows you more control and I have used this one the most of the 2 full auto modes. Av allows you to set the aperture you want to shoot and the camera will pick the shutter speed accordingly. Tv allows you to pick a shutter speed and the camera will pick the aperture for you. Manual means it is all yours. You pick both. All are tools. The thing to remember, all "modes" except manual require the camera to average out your settings. So, if you have a photo with a lot of shadow and a beam of light in the center, the beam of light will probably be OVER exposed since the camera will see all the shadows and boost your exposure to meet the average amount of brightness it is programed to meet. If you shoot in the bright snow, the images will appear grey since the camera will see all the light and lower the exposure to that same brightness level. Each situation can be overcome using the exposure compensation settings but again, knowing how to use a tool. I admit, I have started shooting manual quite a bit on my cameras. I have them set to center point focus and use what is called back button focus so that I focus with my thumb not my shutter. When shooting birds in flight in light that is changing a lot, I will switch to Av, set my aperture as large as my lens will go, and let the camera pick the shutter. I also set the camera to spot meter off the center focal point. Will I get a blurry one on occasion if I miss the meter showing slow shutter speed? Yes, but it helps when a bird is flying along and hitting different areas of light and I am not quick enough to make the settings by hand. Picking ISO helps with that. A higher ISO allows for faster shutter speed when the light lowers. If you are working in bright light, sometimes with things that are moving very quickly, picking your shutter speed (Tv) is a good way to go. Tools I have learned to use. I have developed enough that I am trying to create a photo many times not just take one. But I have to admit, I giggle at both ends of this spectrum. I find it quite humorous the photographers who thump their chest and are proud to say they ONLY shoot in manual. They don't want to use other tools in their tool box and that is fine but is does not in my mind make them superior. I feel bad for those who are sold a bill of goods, pay really big cash for a DSLR and never take it out of green box full auto. They would have been better served with a very high end point and shoot, saved 75% on the cost of the camera (minimum) and it would probably get used more. Even the high end P&S have many of the modes to pick from if they choose to learn. Each person is free to pick the tools and methods they want to use to meet their photographic goals. Just my humble opinion!