What tool(s) would everyone recommend for relatively easy (nothing fancy) charts according to apache's access.log files? Ideally I'd have something which went around the server coupled with accessibility directory and understood the files are .1, .2, .3 etc and understood how you can parse them (coupled with an internet front-end). I am presuming you will find numerous solutions, I am not necessarily finding anything via google... any advice?

Or possibly you'd advise missing the .log files altogether and merely with a couple other solution for usage metrics?

I personally use webalizer. It's straightforward to make use of and appears to satisfy all of your needs.

AWStats produces nice graphs for a number of amounts.

we use webalizer now. Previously we've used analog.