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I think you might have a lens issue, not a camera issue. I have a 24-105mm that is basically unusable above about 85mm on my 7d until an aperture of 6.7... at which point it becomes very sharp. Previous to my 7d, I was using a 10d. I was getting some soft photos on the 10d, but blamed technique until I got the 7d which magnified the problem several times over. I went back to the 10d photos and discovered I had the same issue, but that the 10d was far more forgiving, probably because of the 6 meg sensor. I could sharpen away a majority of the softness on that camera. The 7d demands the best of lenses operating at peek efficiency. I tried everything I could to adjust away the softness (my photos at 4.0 look like your first photo). Once I set up a test with an object set at an angle, I realized it was the lens and not the camera. The in "focus" range was still soft and got progressively better as the aperture increased until 6.7 where the softness disappeared. Any micro adjustment would just move the center of point of the focus range, but not increase sharpness. That is the point where I went back and examined the 10d photos and discovered softness across the same aperture range, albeit less noticeable. I have not sent the lens in for repair yet, but on is on my to-do list. Unfortunately, the lens was like that since new, but as I thought it was my technique that was causing the problem, I didn't catch the problem under warranty. Hope this helps.