Manual zoom is a cool feature because you can get in between the different standard zooms and get exactly the picture you want. I’m not sure if any of the cameras you were looking at have it, when I was looking at cameras, I think the only ones that had a turn dial zoom were the DSLRs or Imitation SLRs, like the F818, the F828 (which is what I got), the EOS Rebel, the 10D, etc.
Manual settings for Apperature/Shutter Speed are important as well, I’m not sure if it also has a manual white balance. But the manual controls give you awesome control, and can get you some good shots. Some of the best pictures are great because they show you something that you wouldn’t normally see if you were just looking at something. That’s one of the reasons that black and white pictures are so pretty to look at.