Keith, I'm not knocking your shots but this is why my second 7d2 is going back and I'll be sticking with my 1D4.IMAGE LINK: http://bradipock.smugmug.com …ture/Pintails/i-MmkbPRk/A
If you look at the overall shot, it is outstanding. However, when you look at your crops, what little detail you had to begin with, you completely lost in post. For example, Look at his knuckles in the first set. You have some details SOOC, but by the time you post it, they're gone.
Here's an a couple examples from me. Here is a edited and cropped picture taken 2 years ago with my 1D4 -
Some kind of conditions as today, same distance but shorter lens. This was with a 400 2.8 IS and 1.4xII TC and is cropped to a 3.45mp image. Pay close attention to the details under the wing and chest area. Additionally it was pushed +.71 of a stop.
Now here is one from today. The only editing done to this shot was to change the WB and add a camera profile (I do this with 90% of my pictures). Additionally, I used a longer lens and the birds were closer than in the previous.IMAGE LINK: http://bradipock.smugmug.com …7d2-crop-test/i-rncbqLD/A
Just like your's, it looks good. Very pleasing most people would like it.
Now take a closer look - IMAGE LINK: http://bradipock.smugmug.com …7d2-crop-test/i-73Cgkvk/A
After adding sharpening and masking in LR, there's no details on the back feathers and the heads look mushy. That's not acceptable to me.
Both cameras have pros and cons, but when it comes down to image quality and consistency, the 1D4 is hands down the better camera. Yes, the body can only be bought used. Yes, it's heavy. Yes, the AF system is a bit dated. But it's consistent and focuses consistently every time and provides superb quality images. IN MY EXPERIENCE, the 7d2 has not come close to being able to withstand this sort of cropping in real life use. In a studio, yes. But for me,the field is what matters and this camera isn't cutting it for the second time.