I agree with you. If I were to be making a game, and I wasn't confident on the accuracy of the Autopoly, I would probably do it by hand. If, on the other hand, I was making a quick demo/prototype, I would prefer to have it immediately, or even to a state where I could just manually touch it up afterwards.
In video, I often used to manually mask out footage. Then I bought a green-screen. Using a combination of the two, I can get very good looking results.
I completely agree with you that manual gives you exactly what you want, rather than the "guesses". The sprite I'm working on now (UFO) has 19 frames looping as a stand still, and 50 frames when it crashes. I could do it by hand, but for me, 20 minutes for what I consider a 'demo' is quite a lot of time.
As you say though, to each their own