Ok, it took me a couple of reads to understand your question. I think the problem is that when I said about the camera being in auto, I was not referring to the "program" shoot mode but rather the AF illumination setting of auto. When you go to the menu, setup, and access AF Illuminator, your 2 choices are "off" and "auto". When in auto, the camera will determine, based on available light, whether to use the AF illuminator or not. When it does, the autofocus area setting, no matter what you have selected - Multi, Center, or Flexable Spot - is no longer valid. In its place, it uses a the center area of your scene as a general area of which to focus with a priority being in the center. This area is outlined by a green dotted line around the perimeter of your screen encompasing roughly about 3/4 of the screen area. So in other words, when you see the green dotted box, you know the camera has switched to AF illumination mode and your autofocus area, including the touch focus feature, is currently not usable or accessable. This is stated not so elequently in the manual on page 69 as follows: "When the AF illuminator is used, the setting of [Autofocus Area] is invalid and the AF area is indicated with a dotted line. AF operates with priority on and around the center area." I will concede that the manual totally sucks and this, as well as many other issues, should be spelled out much more clearly. I think they still suffer from English/ Japanese translation inaccuracies which in this day and age is quite unbelievable.