Both the first digi camera I bought (D200) and its newer version, the D700 are set up to shoot RAW and with the minumum of any automatic functions possible. In effect, I keep them as close to my string of film Nikons as I can, if only to avoid confusing myself (easily done - on or off the heat of the moment).
As I only have a single lens with af, it's easy to ignore that individual case, especially as I seldom use the focal length.
Exposure is always on Matrix (which I find pretty damned good) and perhaps the only electronic trick I have employed is the auto ISO one, which is great for dark rooms and brighter subjects such as performers, where I can set the desired aperture and shutter speeds and Nkon does the rest. As Mr Easman almost said.
Frankly, I suspect that all of those additional electronic tricks are useful, but only for younger people with no long history in film. The rest of us? We simply don't need any of it because we already have established ways. Unfortunately, we all end up paying for those 'extras' in hard cash. Just like cars, where it's almost impossible to buy basic transportation.
You are half right Rob.
I am, photographically at least, a product of the digital age.
I don't use most of the modes and gizmos becuase I understand how to expose, how to maximise or minimize depth of view, and how to shoot in low light.
Nearly all the time I sit with my camera in manual mode.
I have taught several individuals now the photographic fundamentals starting with the photographic triangle.
Understanding how ISO, shutter speed, and aperture work together is a true revelation to them as well as the trade-offs involved.
Whether one uses matrix or spot metering (my personal choice) making that individual manually set up the rest to get an appropriate exposure always elicits amazement when they suddenly realize they can do a much better job than the camera in making all the exposure decisions as evidenced by the results.
At the end of the day modern cameras are still boxes painted black on the inside that emit light from one side and have a photosensitive medium on the other. The same controls that really mattered before matter still.
It is true that one needs to consider white balance but not a lot else is critical.
A lot of the control features include things for those who don't know photography well enough to set the camera up appropriately for themselves.
Once they know then paradoxically it is back to the fundamental controls.