I've always been using the second method (basically because I was creating my meshes in the T pose (or as I have heard it from someone else the "Christ pose") and just started doing it in the not so extreme "Up arrow" pose.
I was wondering which would be best to animate from (since I would really like to go into modeling for animations (one). (and two) I would like to know which one creates the best results. I kinda understand the use for both but I would really like to know. If someone could help me out on this that would be great.
Thanks in advance.
EDIT: oops forgot the images, as a side note these images are not from me they are just used to illustrate my point they are both from the hardcore modeling thread.