How could I have improved this image?

Started Jun 13, 2013 | Questions thread
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JAG007
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How could I have improved this image?
Jun 13, 2013

I took this photograph last week with my 7D and 100-400L at 400mm.  The leopard was about 90/100 meters away and my settings were ISO 1 600, 1/250 and f7.1.  I used my 600EX-RT Speedlight which gave the highlight in the eyes, even at that distance.  The shots without the flash were duller.  I rested the lens on a bean bag and the car was switched off so there was no engine vibration.  It was about 45 minutes before sunset so it was getting dark and the leopard was in the shade.  This is a crop at 100% and I was hoping for an pin sharp image.  I am disappointed in the result as one does not often get the opportunity for such a shot in the Kruger Park.

What spoiled the shot, the 1/250 shutter speed or the high noise at ISO 1 600?  I suppose a 5DIII or 6D and a 600mm would have given much better results.

ISO 1 600  f7.1  1/250 Speedlight at about 90/100 meters

 JAG007's gear list:JAG007's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM +3 more
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 7D Pentax K-r
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