Kristof at Fooman, is right, for you as a benefit could be that there are quite a big amount of existing tests that simplify creating new test for your module/functionality.
Of course you can create/rewrite any test using another framework or don't use it at all, like it with Java + Selenium in Eclipse.
One of the difference that the MTF uses variations instead of data provider in PHPUnit. It allows to use one test flow but with different data and specific assertions for this data. The data is passed to test and constraints for verification. Based on the information in variation specific fixture class can be created that represents the entity under test (for example, widget), that can be persisted to the Magento if needed or serves as data storage for the entity data.
Using only variation allows you easily extend basic test from another modules with the data the is specific to a custom modules, this allows to follow modularity in tests without duplicating test flow. The same approach is used with repositories (data storage), fixtures (entity containers), pages and blocks on it, that increase it's re-usability.
Also MTF allows to create custom test suites based on tagging, where you can specify rules according where you can determine what tests, variations, contraints must be run. So you can create flexible rule for each testing activity and then run all tests in parallel on different Magento instances.
You can familiar with some MTF structure from the documentation http://devdocs.magento.com/guides/v2.0/mtf/mtf_introduction.html
BTW, Selenium it's just one of the possible drivers that can be used for running test and creating screenshot is default function.