Anybody want to take a stab (in a nice way) regarding why this image is so soft?

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rubybgold Junior Member • Posts: 49
Anybody want to take a stab (in a nice way) regarding why this image is so soft?
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Hi there. I shoot wildlife with my D7500 and Tamron 100-400. Sometimes I get truly wonderful images/nice captures, but more often of late, for reasons I really just don't understand, I keep getting soft images like the Sandhill Cranes pictured below. Same equipment and essentially same settings (400 mm, shutter 400, f6.3, ISO 200 in cranes and 400 in egret image), though slightly higher ISO in the picture of the Egret with fish in its bill - so I know decent (if not tack sharp) focus is possible with my set-up. However, I more often than not seem to end up with images that are soft in the way the Sandhills are - sort of 'hazy' looking background and the focus just not even close to sharp.

Can folks help me pinpoint/correct what I'm doing that is resulting in the kind of softness (or absence of sharpness) that is exemplified in the crane image? (I'm assuming you can enlarge big enough to see what I'm talking about). Thanks!

Sandhill Cranes with the typical unintentional soft focus I describe

Egret with fish

Nikon D7500
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