>>3468355>Am I missing something or have manual features in cameras actively gotten worse lmao
Of course they have.
First of all, most digitals are half frame (APSC) which means a smaller mirror and viewfinder, and/or darker viewfinder.
Then, many pentaprisms were replaced with cheaper pentamirrors which further degrade the viewfinder image.
And most importantly, focusing screens were substituted by *darker* ones, because of the slower kit zooms compared to fast primes. Focusing screens are a compromise between brightness vs usability with slower lenses. A brighter screen is, well, brighter and more precise, but the moment you put on an f/4 or slower lens, the microprisms and split image almost blacks out, making them unusable. Darker screens remain usable with slower lenses. In the autofocus era and later, slow with zooms were much, much more popular than f/2 fifties as a starter lens, so they changed the focusing screens. And of course they removed the focusing aids, like the microprism collar and the plit image in the middle. Focusing with those aids is incomparably easier and faster than trying to manually focus without them on a dark screen.
About metering, it actually got better, in some cases, and remained virtually the same in the rest. It hasn't regressed at all. Just don't use complicated "matrix" metering that you can't know what the camera is metering, use center weighted or spot instead.