Thanks to everyone for the insight.

Oren: I did look at that type of camera but ultimately went with a more standard design because I still needed the ability to do landscape and general work with lenses up to about 300mm, tilting back etc. For wide angle work (I don't use anything wider than 72mm/75mm though) something like a Cambo Wide would be great, but in the end I just needed more flexibility/versatility. Those cameras are too specialized for me.

250swb: I like the idea of the spirit level on the focusing screen. I will try that. I'm still not entirely in agreement that it doesn't matter how much slop there is in the front standard though. Obviously when it comes to aligning the back with the subject for composition, convergence control etc etc I'm ok using the ground glass. Getting the front square with the back is the tricky part.

the gman: That's a whole other debate... but I never much cared for medium format. I can get pretty good image quality out of 35mm, with tilt/shift lenses when I need them. Sure, there's a jump in quality to medium format, but I prefered the bigger jump to 4x5 and I enjoy working with sheet film. These are really the two formats for me. Just a personal preference though.

joh: Yes, that's what I've heard/read about Linhof cameras. It sure makes things easier.

Mark: Of course use and diligent practice are key. I don't want to give the impression I'm trying to be lazy about this. My photography and printing is about practice and hard work to achieve the final print. Perhaps I'm simply asking too much of a flexible camera. In the end that's the question I keep coming back to. Are flexibility and precision necessary tradeoffs, or are the more expensive cameras indeed both flexible and precise?

Doremus: Don't get me started on ground glass/film plane alignment... I hope the camera is at least precise in that respect, or else the entire thing is a non-starter.

Perhaps I'm simply relying too much on the camera for parallelism in a neutral position rather than just trusting my eyes (difficult at night etc). But I'm not sure I'm wrong in my expectations. Maybe I'm being too picky, maybe not. It seems going back to a monorail at some point would help, and/or investing in a more precision camera, but that last part bothers me because I wonder if you really get that level of precision in the high end cameras, or if I'll still have the same issues. For now I will have to get by with what I have.