Sometimes people who are really into photography assume that everyone has the same passion for photography. Most people just want good photographs from their camera, and don't want to bother with learning what makes a camera tick.
1. The manual controls give you more control of the camera for those special situations. Camera makers have added "scene modes" to the cameras which makes it easier for the point-and-shoot photographers to gain some of that flexibility that manual controls offer. Now if they could just get the people to actually use those modes, they would get better photos under non-normal situations.
There are several situations where scene modes do not give enough control to the photographer:
a. action shots....shutter priority gives you the ability to set any shutter speed that the camera has to offer.
b. slow shots....example...you have seen photos of waterfalls where the water looks like it is flowing, instead of frozen in time. Shutter priority lets you select a very slow speed (several seconds) so that the water movement is blurred. (you do need a tripod to do this).
c. Portraits where the background is blurred, which makes the person stand out from the background. Aperture Priority lets you select the most open f-stop setting (usually f2.8). This causes a short depth of field and will blur the background (and foreground).
d. Shots where you want something near the camera to be just as sharp as something far from the camera. Use Aperture Priority to set the f-stop setting to its other extreme (about f11). This expands the depth of field.
e. Full Manual setting will let you select both the shutter speed and the aperture. You usually do this to use settings that the camera will not permit you to use. The camera wants you to have perfect exposure. But sometimes you don't want that, and Full Manual controls lets you work outside the box. This is very useful for long exposure nighttime shots.
But to use these manual controls you need to know more about the mechanics of photography, and understand exposure. You would need a class in photography.
If you are not that interested in learning more about photography, you will be unable to correctly use the manual controls .... so you don't need them.
But do take the time to understand and use the scene modes that are provided on your camera. You will get better shots.
2. Yes the SD700 does have a tripod socket on the bottom.
If you want those blur free shots under low light situations, do use a tripod.
Any input would be greatly appreciated!
1. This camera does not have "aperture-priority" or "shutter-priority" modes. How important is this in the grand scheme? I'm not a professional or anything, mainly take family shots and vacation shots. Are those modes something I would really need?
2. This may be a dumb question, but does this camera have a way to attach to a tripod (on the bottom)?