I shoot manual as much as possible. I just bought 3 new lenses and have to use "stop down metering" or rely on my trusty Luna Pro Meter which I have had since 73. The only time I use auto focus is tracking a moving object and with the new lenses there is no autofocus. I know what I want to be primaty focus and camera is an idiot. I use AV when I asm shooting my grandson in the house with flash and set AFC to get it mostly right. I have my focus set on the center spot only and I focus with that if I am using an AF lens.
For me, it's gonna be manual mode, or totally manual... manual mode, since my camera isn't so advance as to have aperture or shutter priority mode anyway. Totally manual mode, since well, for pinhole, it's literally taking the piece of paper covering the pinhole out, count for a few seconds, and replace the paper... see, totally manual! :bsmilie:
I do use P mode for my p&s though... not that I have a choice for that right?
However, that's only part of the deal ... you gotta think about metering (spot, center-weighted, matrix), exposure (compensate or not), etc ... and for digital, WB, contrast, saturation, raw/jpg, etc ... enough variables to make a simple job of capturing an image become overly complicated. Therefore, if the camera's CPU can take the load off, why not ?
But then, I appreciate having the other modes around (A/Av, S/Tv, M), and for some cameras, even the pre-programmed modes (closeup, night, landscape) modes are fun sometimes.
Aperture priority with autofocus for the DSLR. That's because most of the subjects that I took aren't moving so fast that I need to worry about shuttle speed.
Snap or Inifinity mode for my compact which I used for grab shots. The pictures are soft, but never so much out-of-focus that they become unuseable. I find it an okay exchange for the instantaneous response of the compact.