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I've experimented a good bit with different options and I've found case 1 and 4 both work pretty well, but maybe case 4 is slightly better.
I've found the AF is good at non center points as well and I have it set so that it will flip the points as I go vertical. Very very handy tool.
Also, I've found the lock settings really useful as I kept accidentally bumping the shutter speed as I would switch cameras and by using the lock settings you can't accidentally change the exposure settings. Very very helpful.