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Thanks for that review Chris.
For football I've been using case 4, but tweaked so the AI Servo sensitivity is set to the lowest setting. This for the most part eliminates AF losing the subject if momentarily blocked, but if it's something like the QB and the pocket collapses around him, then you only get about 1/2 second before the AF jumps. At the default setting I found the AF jumped to a new, closer subject much too quickly. But I have yet to test all the AF cases.
I've also been experimenting during less critical game moments with the 61 point zone AF. It can work really well, but there are times when it will shift off the intended area, such as helmet/face and onto the body, which might be at a different plane of focus. Where I've found it invaluable is for something like kicks/punts, where you want to move the punter way off center in case the kick is blocked, but without having to mess with AF point placement for quickly switching to shoot the kick return.
I was skeptical about how much of an improvement the X would be over the IV, but I've been happy with it so far. I feel that high ISO is about a stop cleaner, from RAW. SOOC Jepgs can be made pretty much noiseless by using the standard NR setting, but at the expense of image detail. I'm regularly shooting it in the ISO 3200 range when before I would have preferred to keep the IV at around 1600. The camera just seems to be really fluid when shooting. Fewer AF hiccups or fps hesitations. And 12 fps, which might seem excessive, actually has been useful because in a half-second burst of action, that one extra frame can make a difference.
The X also seems to handle sunny, warm, midday events on FieldTurf better than my previous Canons. While there is nothing you can do to eliminate the heat radiating off the field, the AF seems to be more reliable in these situations, even if the images aren't tack sharp. I'm not seeing the massive focus jumps in front of and behind the subject that I experienced with the III and still got at times with the IV, but it's still early going in this respect, as most of the events I've covered so far have been on grass or later in the day.