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Tim Adams wrote:
When I'm at pylons in Reno and a plane is approaching at close to 500mph, mere feet from me, I'll take AF. I realize many amazing photos have been taken with manual focus, but today's AF systems are so good, to shoot motorsports in manual makes no sense.
the thing is, people who rely on AF don't realize the full potential of their gear, because it sometimes takes stepping beyond what the fastest camera and best AF motor in lens can keep up with to get that special shot. Planes are a totally different subject in a totally different environment, so you can't compare that. You can usually track them. You can't track a car going past a fence hole at 125mph where you have only 10 feet of panning space to nail this (full frame here, handheld 600mm f4, the black on the bottom is actually the tire stack below the fence hole)
Or try shooting a car from behind, going over a crest, with an 840mm setup as it is coming into your viewfinder for maybe 1/4 second before you have to take the shot, as it is gone after that. Those shots are taken with your hearing more than with your AF, and yes, 95% are crap even with MF, but you do nail a few unlike with AF, and those are the money shots, because the competition trusts their awesome AF bodies and won't even consider such shots as a possibility.
or at Laguna Seca - fastest corner on the track going over the crest into the Corkscrew braking zone at full tilt (note car side loading - photo editors and art directors know the difference)
I would use AF whenever possible, but it isn't something I would want to rely on, as it limits your creative options.