This question came to mind the other day from a discussion on another forum about the difficulties one photographer was having at an indoor event with a DSLR + Speedlite compared to another wielding an advanced compact camera. The short story was that the DSLR user (allegedly a pro i.e. gets paid to take photos) was having all sorts of problems with exposure using the automatic camera and flash settings. Now there is no technical reason why sometimes armed with the latest Canon, an L-series lens and external flash unit shouldn't excel in this situation, even if it requires the photographer taking control of some of the camera functions themselves. This got me thinking about the merits of being a technical photographer, someone who has a deeper understanding of the engineering principles behind that box of metal, plastic and glass we call a camera. To me it kind of relates to the concept of the technical racing driver, the one who may or may not have the outright talent of his rivals, but whose understanding of his/her equipment allows them to mix it with and often beat the superstars. Now, where was I heading with this? I guess I was curious to know how much thought each of you puts into the mechanical and electronic process of making an image. Do you know (or care) what is happening inside the camera/lens when you press the shutter? Do you know the limitations of the automatic camera functions? Do you know what settings to use and when? Do you trust the camera to do the right thing all of the time? Do you use trial and error? etc. Is the advent of iA, iAUTO, etc rendering the technical photographer obsolete? This is not a question of someone having a better photographic eye than someone else (that's a very subjective matter), but how well you can predict and influence the behaivour of the camera to give you the result that you want. My interest in the subject comes not only from having an engineering background, but from the more direct benefit of knowing how to use your camera for any given situation. I think in the age of digital we tend to rely on the immediate feedback given to us by the image review, and now even more so before the event using live view. Despite this I still see an advantage in knowing what you are going to get before the act of raising the camera to your eye, and having the time to adjust the camera beforehand if necessary.