You speak with forked tongue to an extent - the Belair (last one) at least was rejected for badcontrast as well as badsoft. I know, because I rejected that one - it had already been "questioned" by two screeners and I agreed with them. The Belair is too contrasty as well as soft - white whites but rather dark for the rest, so it needs some adjustment of the levels and curves.
The rest, I agree with whoever screened them - none of them are really pin-sharp.
They were all kicked out because of "badsoft". Now, if even go with a tiny little bit USM, I get jaggies. So, what to do?
If the original images were not sharp, no amount of USM
is really going to fix them. One of the "problems" with digital photography is that photographers see most pics coming out of the camera slightly soft, and assume therefore that ALL
pictures can be sharpened up. I'm not saying that the originals are not sharp, but they could be soft over and above normal digital camera output - no camera is perfect. With film, close scruitiny of the negative or slide will relveal an unsharp original and make the decision to give up relatively easy. But with digital, photographers sometimes tend to plow on and try to fix everything.
-IQC is extremely common in the database - new pictures of that one have to be something very different or close to perfect to make it now.