I often wonder what photography is anymore, so I've decided to just perceive it (personally) as a personal experience that i find enhances the quality of my life. In that view, all of the discussion above is moot... and the heated nature of it meaningless.
Tolerances, in a pragmatic sense, are a moving target that are incredibly dependent upon the intention of the tool's user. Sally Mann, in those terms, would find this whole discussion humorous... whereas an architectural shooter may not.
(said as I move to a wooden tripod and a camera with no autofocus)