The first mistake you, and probably a lot of people, made was considering POV-Ray as a “Renderer”. It is not!
POV-Ray is, like Blender, a complete 3D package that can do anything from simple to über complexe things.
The real problem is that a big part of the 3D community keeps treating it with a mix of fear, jalousy, defiance and ignorance just as they do with Renderman.
POV-Ray is VERY powerful but that came with a price: the number of true POV masters is very low and the learning curve to achieve a minimum knowledge has to be the steepest in 3D history, provided that reading a manual is, no matter what you do, a daunting task for many
All I was wondering about was why people think it is so good in terms of CG.
One word: POWER!
Anything can be done in POV and if POV can’t do it, one of its avatars the infamous unofficial versions, will jump in the fight and can guarantee you atmospheric effects, mechanic simulation, Subsurface Scattering, AO, several methodes of computing GI, UVmapping, animation, particules, smoothing at render time (the new thing), micro normal for more realistic reflection, procedural texture weaponry that allows you to do anything in term of layering and if that doesn’t suffice, put textures over media (a POV object used to create atmospheric effects and… subsurface scattering!) or find an unofficial version that use a subset of the renderman standard! Did I mention the include system that allows to insert a lot of the latest advanced research discoveries and observations in various highend scientifique domains (realistic lighting, metal finish, refraction indices, film exposure, etc) and slap them onto textures, lights, rendering settings, mathematical objects, etc.
Anything that appears in an image can be entirelly controlled, tweaked or savagely mangled by functions, parameters, includes or even textures!
Those are only a very small glimpse in what POV is really capable of doing. As stated at the beginning of this post, if you compare POV-Ray and Yafray you are already wrong because they are absolutely not the same thing: Fire up Yafray and try to do something with it alone and you’ll directly understand what I’m saying here
But you were right on one thing: POV-Ray is heavy equipment as its fullest and is not designed for the faint hearted!
I think deep down inside you realise that POV was to complexe for you and you took something else which is the right thing to do.
One last thing: current POV version is less than a year old and a complete rewrite of the code from ground up is coming.
Having an opinion on a software that works in our branch is very good, having an opinion on a software you don’t seem to fully grasp the concept, modus operendi, developpement state and features is … strange!