As far as the whole automatic thing goes, the only thing I use that's automatic is the autofocus, even on my Dxxx I never use anything but M or B settings, if you can't take a picture using the manual settings, then you haven't trained yourself to really know your camera all that well, you really should be able to make all of those micro adjustments very easily without relying in any auto settings including Tv (shutter priority) or Av (aperture priority).

I think that autofocus can be valuable, especially if your eyes are not good, or if it's a very fast motion seen, however mostly I use autofocus because the new camera lenses require you to use autofocus, they don't come with focusing screens, especially a split screen which is what I grew up using, and the throw on the lens is very short in comparison to the manual lenses which have a nice long throw so you can make small adjustments without going too far over, so auto focus is almost a requirement on the newer cameras, but that's about it, everything else I rely on is manual, obviously if you think about having an in camera meter as something that's "automatic" then obviously that is automatic too, but I'm not allowing the camera to make a decision, I'm just reading the data of the exposure levels that the camera reads, and making my own decisions about if I should follow them.

So I basically shoot digital just like I shoot film, The only difference is the after processing, and although the two types are different, my actual processes are very much the same, I often end up pushing film because I like the contrasty look, and I often end up planning to "push" the digital file in Digital editing afterward (Lightroom 4) so to me, the ONLY reason I shoot film is my own self, The way that I personally handle the film give me a different result than it does with Digital, it's not that film is better, it's that film is different, film gives me the look I enjoy and so I shoot it for that purpose, it does slow me down to some degree especially if I'm using larger formats, but ultimately it's really about the type of image that I can produce using film versus digital.