Quite an interesting background there Pete.
Now that digital has come such a long way , do you think MF is as important as it once was?
I do, if for no other reason than superior image quality. I may not be the greatest photographer in the world (hopefully, "good enough") but my camera, a Phase One XF witha P1 IQ3-100 MB back and Schneider lenses is as good as it gets. I used to shoot basketball games in the Netherlands for the Dutch version of the NBA while I worked on my PhD. On a few of those occasions, I brought three cameras: my Phase One (either the older IQ250 or the IQ3-100), a Nikon D100 (Zeiss or Nikon lenses) and a Sony A7R with Leica lens.
My goal was to compare the results. While I was shooting, I was much happier with the Nikon or the A7R than The P1 cameras because I could tell I was getting the key moments in the action much more reliably than with the P1 and they were more often in focus. Then I got home and the story got flipped. Due to superior image quality, the P1 shots, though fewer in number, were substantially better than the Nikon or Sony images.
I did miss the focus and the moment more often with the P1 cameras but when I got it, the images were so much better than the others that I decided not to show the shots made by the Nikon or Sony. There was one exception to this, an image from the A7R, that had a composition and moment I liked. Though it wasn't as strong as the P1 images, it was worth showing simply because of what was in front of the lens.
For action shots, the way I do it now is to put a fairly wide angle lens on a P1 body (28mm-55mm) and then position myself far enough from the action that the entire court (or most of it) is in focus. Then, I crop the image. The high resolution results in crops that are larger than a full frame in either the Nikon or Sony.