#1. "RE: D5000 Scenes and Modes" In response to Reply # 0
The Vari-Program Scene modes optimize all of the camera settings including; shutter speed, aperture, AF mode, picture controls, etc... for the particular subject. The Scene modes make it easy for someone with no photographic knowledge to capture a great image. I think I can safely say that most users of the entry and mid level cameras that have the Vari-Program mode will never use P,S,A, or M exposure modes because they have no desire to learn the craft. They want great images ("snap shots") while doing little more than pointing and clicking. Therefore they are NOT "fluff and marketing"! I know quite a few people that have very nice cameras that never get out of Auto exposure mode and I bet you do too. I have met people using D3 series bodies and 1D and 1Ds series bodies that have never taken the camera out of Program mode. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#3. "RE: D5000 Scenes and Modes" In response to Reply # 0
The D5000's scene modes are not hyped-up fluff (like a sensor overpacked with megapixels, hehehe).
Those scene settings allowed me to quickly set the camera creatively when time was of the essence (i.e., shooting to capture the moment before it's gone forever, BUT not being satisfied with setting the camera to P or Automatic). The scene settings are a great springboard to learning the craft when you start delving into the details of those settings (ISO sensitivity, Shutter, Aperture, etc.), and start setting them on your own (in M mode). That's how I really started studying photography seriously. Since I wanted more creative control, I wanted to know what those detailed settings were, and why those groups of settings defined "Beach/Snow", "Party/Indoor", "Candlelight", etc.
#4. "RE: D5000 Scenes and Modes" In response to Reply # 3
I've had a D5000 for several months now, the camera is considerably smarter than I am at making the correct choices, I have been using the scene modes as a teaching guide and have found that the various modes enable the camera to make exceptionally good photos, with little decision making. As a newby this is important to me, particularlly if I have a "must get" photo. Given the time to analyze the data from the scene modes, I try to duplicate the photo in Manual mode and occasionally will get an equal or better photo in manual. I hope to improve the ratio of good photo's with experience, but for now the scene modes do take very good photos with little effort.