"The rest of the story" is that in addition to shutter speed and focal length, aperature and ISO needs also affect how good the hand-held shot will be. Of course, I'm not telling you anything new, just trying to pull together in one place some of the causes of soft images.
Your absolutely right, but you need to add a couple of factors that affect DOF: sensor size and desired print size.
> The conditions I give myself (which is not to say I'll pass up other great shots!) are to minimize noise and to use the lens at its best aperature. I prefer ISO 100 or 200 and rarely shoot above ISO 400. To get the best performance from the lens, I shoot at f8 (occasionally f11) which is the best compromise for depth of field vs. diffraction losses.
I still shoot a 1D so ISO 200 is optimal, and I'm reluctant to go above ISO 400, and even rarely there. I also shoot (conditions permitting) f8 to f11.
> On a full frame 35mm camera a 19mm lens at f8 appears to be focused from between 2 or 3 feet to infinity. If that depth of field meets my needs, shutter speed with an ISO of 200 on a "normal" day is perhaps 1/125.
Hmm, during daylight at ISO 200 and f8 I'm usually shooting at around 1/500 or faster, sometimes even 1/1000 or greater?
> Yes there are things I can do to get away from the tripod...but they may cause unwanted noise (increase ISO) and narrower depth of field (open the aperature).
I agree that with 35mm near or after sunset a tripod is desirable, but it still cramps my style. Although at times I wish I had one with me, I'm generally a fair hike from the car and already lugging nearly 20lbs of gear so generally (not always) do without. With MF I suspect I'd nearly always carry a tripod as the equation changes.
>Just to close, Don I don't want to become the spokesman for tripods in the great tripod vs. no tripod shoot off. This is just what I do and why I do it.
Nor do I wish to become the absolute advocate for no tripod. But it irks me a bit when someone (not you) flatly declares "you've got to use a tripod for best landscape". This simply is not true (like most blanket statements). You need to intelligently consider the factors and tradeoffs for the situation at hand. In decent light IMO it's rather foolish to always use a tripod except perhaps for MF/LF. Conditions change very fast (around here anyway) and you'll miss the optimal moment if futzing with a tripod for every shot.