I can run it in full auto - AF, Programmed AE (six different programs). I can also select any or all of the following parameters:
- Film Speed - I can override the DX setting - useful for pushing or using films that aren't DX coded
- Shutter/Aperture combo - program modes have a shift mode so I can bias toward higher or lower shutter speeds, bigger or smaller apertures.
- Shutter speed - it has shutter priority mode
- Aperture - it has aperture priority mode (this is the one I use most often)
- It has a metered manual mode too
- I can turn AF off if I want and focus manually
- I can change the drive mode from single-shot to burst mode, and it also has a self timer.
I went to a state park about an hour away from my home a few days ago. There was a gentleman there with his family who had a Pentax DSLR. He asked me to take his family's picture. I looked down at the top panel of the camera and noticed he had it set on aperture priority AE. I said "Finally, someone who doesn't have their camera set on full auto!"
He replied "My wife 'yells' at me for that. She says it makes things more complicated." It doesn't make things more complicated, it gives the photographer more control to do creative things. That's what I like about SLRs that you just don't get with a P&S.